Nigerian actress Juliana Olayode when she joined the cast of Funke Akindele’s television series Jenifa’s Diary.
Juliana played the role of ‘Toyo Baby‘, the calm and peaceful one who was the direct opposite of Funke Akindele’s cantankerous character Jenifa.
Her character was almost perfect; her only role was to gently correct Jenifa’s English.
However, her time on the show was abruptly cut short when rumours of a rift between she and Akindele began to spread- they initially denied but fans later found out that beef was not unrelated to the paltry sum of N3,000 she was being paid for her role. Although she tried to downplay it by saying Funke Akindele was her ‘big sister’ who housed her etc etc; she also casually let it be known that she was more or less a housegirl who did everything from cooking to cleaning and washing the car while she lived with her.
As she departed from the show, fans still remained with her- at least on social media. She maintained her ‘innocent girl’ persona, declaring to all who would listen that she was a virgin. Shortly after she announced that that was, in fact, a lie; she had had sex with her teacher as a seventeen-year-old. All of that segued into the release of her book, Rebirth where she talked about her grass-to-grace story.
Since Jenifa’s Diary though, she hasn’t been seen on any project, just a handful of behind-the-scene shots of unnamed sets.. A glance at her Instagram bio describes her as a ‘multi-award winning actress’ and ‘inspirational speaker’ among others. That’s a bit of stretch when one considers that the only place she’s been seen was on Jenifa’s Diary. But her 1.3 million followers don’t mind.
This leads us to the question, what is Juliana Olayode? A writer or an actress? She had such a promising career, but does it mean that Jenifa’s Diary was the only place she is supposed to shine in? Why is she not getting roles? What’s going on with her? We- this writer included- fans are eagerly awaiting answers.
Maybe when she’s done promoting her book, she’ll grace our screens again. Till then, what is Juliana Olayode?