Apri 16, 2017 – Veteran Actress Taiwo Ajai Lycett Reveals Secret Of Her Youthful Look At 76
Last weekend Miss Lycett looked bright and beautiful as she rendered Nigerianisation, a poem written by Soji Simpson, the Nigerian poet who went missing 43 years ago.
Her beautiful rendition of the poem written by Soji Simpson’s brother Femi lit up the Agip Hall of the Muson Center. She wow the audience with her perfect rendition and glam. The wowing continued at the foyer after the programme, with lots of the august audience milling around her.
This reporter couldn’t but join the fray. And the first question as he managed to get her attention was just how does she manage to look 50 even at an age well over 70?
First Ajai-Lycett enthused that she is actually 76; and then she proceeded to reel out her ‘secrets.’
“I just do my work, I think straight; malice to nobody…. I love people, I love my work, I love my life, I take up challenges; I think challenges build your intellectual and emotional muscles. I don’t worry if things don’t go as I expect them. As a matter of fact, there is a Yoruba saying which translated, means, “When God is doing good, we humans think he is doing evil.” If God doesn’t want you to go somewhere, something will stop you (even if you overly desire that thing); but if you reflect later, you’d find out why you really should not have been there.”
As an example, she said being at the launch was itself by chance. She said she was there because Femi Simpson, the compiler of the annotation met her by chance at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos. “As I greeted everybody on the table and introduced myself, Femi was there and he said to me “I’ve been looking for you, this thing is happening and I’d like you to be there.” And that’s why I’m here. I also have a saying that whatever is yours will look you in the face. That’s why we mustn’t struggle unnecessarily over what we don’t have. What you need, you’ll get.”
Aside staying away from worry, the veteran thespian also said she hasn’t been careless about her intakes. “I don’t take alcohol. I’m a teetotaller. I’ve never drank in my life and I don’t smoke. I try to sleep very well and I eat anything, but in moderation. Also, I don’t worry about not eating. For instance, it’s well past mid-day today and I have not had anything, but it does not worry me.”
Asked why she has been forever relevant in the art industry? Ajai-Lycett, whose role in Tunde Kelani’s Dazzling Mirage amongst other contemporary Nigerian hit movies still draw accolades, went philosophical.
“In this business, if it’s all about you, you will not be relevant. How much can you possibly think about yourself? It’s not about us, it’s not about me; so if you’re thinking of giving service and connecting with people and communicating with people and always giving, what you give to life is what life will give back to you.”
On whether she knew the ‘missing’ poet, Ajai-Lycett said “I never met him.”
But she remembers him very well. “His was the first play I did when I came back from England (in the ’70’s). It was titled The Vogue, and he had gone missing about three years before then. Bayo Awala, who was the producer, was his friend and was always telling me how I would have loved to meet him. So when I heard that he had produced this body of work, I had to make out time, though I’m supposed to have travelled abroad.”
[Gboyeka Alaka, The Nation]