Bimbo Ademoye: From Picking Candy In Gutters To The Top Of Nollywood

Posted on February 20 2020 , at 11:04 am
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After receiving an extended round of applause from a 600-people strong audience as a Primary Five student at a school play, 7-year-old Bimbo Ademoye knew her destiny lay in front of a camera. She wanted to be a star actress even though she had a weird habit of picking food from the floor. One time, she even tried to pick candy in the gutter, she recalled in a 2019 interview. So how did she go from that to being the star of a Nollywood blockbuster like Sugar Rush? 

Born on February 4, 1991 to Mr. and Mrs. Adekunle Ademoye, one of two children. Her parents separated when she was two, so she grew up with her father acting as a single parent – this would later prove instrumental to her success. For her education, she attended St. Margaret’s Primary School, Ikorodu, Lagos; Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne, Ogun State, for her secondary education; and Covenant University, Ota, also in Ogun State, graduating with a business administration degree. 

By the time she was done with her university education, Bimbo was already attending every audition she could find. “My dad fully supported me. He even took me to my first audition. I mean, my dad raised me alone as he was a single father; so, it was the only opinion that mattered and he was in full support,” the award-winning actress wrote on her Instagram page in 2019. 

She has often spoken of the critical role her father played in the earliest stages of her (still early) career. In a 2019 interview, she said, “My dad fought to keep us. Let’s just say I’m so glad he did. I do have a relationship with my mom. My dad just happens to be my best friend. I have the best father in the world. Moments spent with my dad were the best moments of my life. He made sure we had everything we wanted, even though at the time, he couldn’t afford a lot of things.”

In 2014, her career kicked off after she starred in a short film, ‘Where Talent Lies,’ that bagged her the award for the Best Actress at the Africa International Film Festival the following year. It was her first ever role in anything but she hadn’t ‘landed’ just yet. Bimbo still had to work other jobs including a front desk job at one point. 

“I had always wanted to be independent since I was a child. So when I clocked 22, I told my dad that I didn’t want him to give me money anymore. I told him to just set me up and let me do my thing. Being a father and seeing me as his little girl, he asked if he had offended me. I assured him that I simply wanted to be a woman, and he agreed,” she said in a 2017 interview with the Daily Independent.

“So he set me up and I started with my hair business. But then, it was a lot for me, and I felt like I had arrived, and I spent the money foolishly. I couldn’t go back to him and tell him that I didn’t have returns for the money he gave me, so I had to get myself a job. I worked as a presenter; I worked as a marketer … I have done almost every job you can think of. Okay, maybe not everything.”

Finally, things started to align in 2015 after she met Uduak Isong-Oguamanam, a Nollywood script writer, producer and entrepreneur, who won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2006. She is also the sister of famed Nollywood producer, Emem Isong. According to Bimbo, “She has been of immense support. I’m not related to her, but I call her a mother because that is the role she has so far played in my career.” 

In 2015, she was cast in her first feature film Its About Your Husband, which was produced by Isong. The Best of Nollywood Awards 2018 Best Supporting Actress has never looked back since, going on to star in several movies since, taking home critical acclaim the entire way. 

Most recently, she gave a standout performance in Sugar Rush, a critically-acclaimed comedy that crossed the N100 million mark in January 2020, just over a month after its release. It is currently the fourth highest-grossing Nollywood movie of all time. In Sugar Rush, Bimbo’s performance beat that of more established actresses like Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Omoni Oboli, her co-stars. She is also nominated for a Best Actress in a Comedy Series (TV/Movie) award. Bimbo Ademoye is definitely going to be one of the biggest stars of Nollywood in the years to come. 

“I have had an awesome experience thus far in the industry. One of my favourite moments is definitely working with actors I used to watch on television,” she said in a 2019 interview. “Every movie I’ve acted in has contributed to where I am today.”

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