Dominique Oputa is the last child of the areafada himself, Charly Boy. She currently lives in Atlanta where she’s studying Fashion and Design in the University of Arts Institute. Her dream is to become a famous designer some day. Like her famous dad, Dominique has tattoos and piercings and is very fearless. In this interview with New Wave Productions, she talks about her life in the US, her father and his influence in her life.
Are you happy to be home; would you settle in Nigeria or you would finally settle abroad?
This will always be home for me, at least, it’s comforting to know one is with family, and I am glad to be home. I missed home, mum and dad. Things may not be what it should be, but home is it. There were too many things I took for granted before I left, but now I know better. When I’m done with schooling, I will be back home, to do my own thing too, even though, the weather is killing me right now”.
You are a child of two different cultures, how do you cope?
When I was home, I grew up fast; I had that independent spirit, so I’m coping real good. I am working now and schooling, I simply just thank God. Growing up with my parents kept me on the straight and narrow path, trust Dad, we all know how strict he gets sometimes, although I am old enough, I guess in his eyes, I will forever remain his baby. However growing up in Nigeria, prepared me for my independence. Nigerian children are more grounded than the Americans. We mature quicker and early enough to start taking responsibilities.
You look so much like your father in looks and style, is this deliberate?
I think I’m just the female version of my dad, we are just the same pretty much, I guess I caught his cold after years of being around him. I have always admired him for his freedom and his tenacity at a time when it was taboo to look that way. In my case, the whole thing just grew on me.
I don’t do all I do because I am trying to be like my dad. I am just Dominique, even though I wear tattoos and have piercings, but it’s just because I love them, not because I got influenced by my dad. There are many people who do this stuff, not because anyone, but because they are just comfortable that way.
What’s is your choices of career, and what influence does your dad have regarding that?
I want to be a designer and a stylist. I am like my mother in that regards. I like to make things, and I’m good with my hands too. As long as you walk that positive part and observe dad’s little rules, you are free to express yourself any which way creatively. Knowing the battle dad fought for his independence, it would be wrong for him to remote us into something else that does not agree with our innate ability.
My dad didn’t influence my choice of career, it is just what I’ve always loved and desired to do. I have always had a love for fashion since I was in high school. I could say a little bit of influence as to his nature but not like I was pressured or told to do what I am doing now.
What is Charlyboy like as father?
Like any normal parent, always looking out for their children and wanting the best for them. Most of the time, he is easy with us, especially when we are good. How ever, sometimes he is a bit old fashioned and can be very strict.
Growing up, he was really strict but I actually understand now that I’m grown that he was just looking out for me. People see him differently on the outside but to be honest, he is really a cool guy. He really understands and I could tell him anything. He is like an elder brother or a friend. Yes, I’m very close to my dad.
We all know there is no smoke without fire. How weird is your father, is he as weird as it is made public…like sleeping in coffins, having pythons as pet and even that his sexuality is questionable?
Hahaha…my dad is an entertainer, that’s what he does for a living, and as an entertainer you would attract all sorts, good, bad, ugly. It is their stock in trade. At home, we don’t see any of this, it’s as normal as it could ever be, but I guess people confuse his life as Charlyboy with his life as Mr Oputa, they are two different entities. The man I know as my dad is Mr Charles Oputa.
Do you share intimate stuff with your dad?
Yeah, I share intimate stuff with him. Once, I had shared the story of the birds and the bees with him and it wasn’t funny, maybe the timing was wrong. But we are still very close and we talk pretty well. I don’t feel like I need to hide anything from him, I just feel like I am an open book.
Are your parents still together? What is their relationship like?
Yes, they are still together. Every relationship is hard; there needs to be collective efforts to make it work. I think they have had a cool relationship thus far, though, they have their bitter moments sometimes, but what they share is worth emulating, it’s kind of what I would like to have in future, with my husband whenever I marry.
What about your mum?
She is cool. I love her; she has always been there for me. We have a very good relationship.
What about all the funny stories about your dad, how does it affect you,
how do you deal with that?
Some pictures came out some few months ago and I really didn’t know how to react to it then. I know who my father is, but sometimes, people’s ignorance and bad words can get to you. That is the price we all have to pay, for being Charlyboys offspring; but on the whole, I am proud of where I am coming from. I have a thick skin now so nothing anybody writes gets to me again. I just tell myself, I know who this person is and I am not going to get upset over words. It is something I have gotten used to over the years, so it no longer bothers me when he does some weird stuff. Sometimes, it gets so annoying being his daughter because I don’t like so much attention focused on me, I hate crowd around me. I am glad he is my dad, but sometimes it’s way too much.
How does being Charlyboy’s daughter help you?
I’m proud of my name, but I don’t go about telling people that I’am Charlyboys daughter. I even hide that angle, because you want to know who your real friends are, not based on something else. I don’t think anyone of us wears it as a badge. I love to be seen as Dominique, not as Charlyboy’s daughter. Though, I am independent, I still love my family’s name and no one can make me feel bad about it.
What do you feel about Nigeria’s economy right now?
Nigeria’s economy is very bad. I feel like nothing is going to work anymore, like when something is so damaged beyond repairs. Over there, they are so ignorant; they still feel Africa is a jungle. I am also scared of the Boko Haram insurgence in Nigeria, even though people die everywhere; Nigeria already has a bad name that generates gossips in other countries after a small strike.
What’s that one bad habit you picked up from your dad?
I easily get angry, even though I am calm and easy going; the slightest things get me angry. My dad is a little bit short fused, though age has mellowed him down some little, I think we all took that from him.
What are the positives you got from him?
We are very focused in anything we want to do, and I am sure, all of us have that fighting spirit, the never say die attitude. We are also people friendly.
Are you a Christian?
I am pretty much a Christian, but I am not a regular churchgoer. I don’t like being forced to go to church. I don’t feel good about the fact that I don’t go to church anyway. In our family, we are more spiritual than religious.