A native of Nigeria, Sope Aluko spent 20 years working in corporate America before she quit her job to act full-time. The move was a smart one and, this Friday, she’ll reprise her role as the “Shaman” in Marvel’s highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. We recently caught up with Aluko, who shared some secrets from the set (including some Angela Bassett–approved wellness tips) and why “getting it right” was so important to the cast.
You’ve been doing a lot of press appearances and red carpet for the movie. Any favorite glam moments?
I would have to say that my favorite moment would be during the world premiere in LA. My personal commitment for every red carpet I have been fortunate to attend, is to try and showcase an up-and-coming Female Nigerian designer on the world stage. I lucked out with the designer “Kadiju” (means: “we close our eyes” in Yoruba) courtesy of my phenomenal stylist, Dunsin Wright. She literally sketched, designed, sewed and had my custom-designed outfit to me from Nigeria in three days! I got my dress two hours before the premiere, and it was perfect! I particularly love the fact that all her designs are a combination of stock fabrics and recycled materials, sourced and produced locally in Nigeria in limited quantities to eliminate waste and foster mindful consumption. Also, I really dug her aesthetic vibe right down to her hair designs which she used on her runway models, and which I asked my LA hair stylist to replicate. I hope the cameras were able to capture how magnificently regal I felt while walking the purple carpet.
Any skin-care items you used on-set that you can share?
I use simple products like the Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub ($14) and Vanicream Daily Facial moisturizer ($18). I try to keep my skin as moisturized as possible, especially now that I’m over 50. I am fortunate to have been blessed with good skin—or so I’m told. I do my best to perform facial scrubs nightly and then use a moisturizer, so my skin is prepped and ready for the wonderful makeup artists ready to receive us during those early call times.
Any wellness or self-care rituals you like to do after filming?
One of our lovely makeup artists, who I was fortunate to work with again on set, always gives me a warm towel and face massage after we’re wrapped for the day. Shhh! She doesn’t do it for everyone and now her secret is out! I feel so relaxed and pampered each time she does it and I know my face thanks her for it too! She’s spoiled me! Love you, Melanie! I am also proud to say that I am a “spa junkie,” so I’m always up for a facial or massage wherever and whenever I can fit it in my schedule. That’s my favorite type of self-care.
Any words of wisdom from your costar, Angela Bassett?
From my experience with working with the great Angela Bassett on both films thus far, it’s not what she has said to me, but what she has showed me primarily through her actions. She’s a consummate professional and her work ethic is exemplary. She gets the work done and “kills it” on every take! And when the camera is off or in between set ups, she is a sweetheart and easy to chat and laugh with. FYI, I also got some healthy eating tips from her!
What are you most proud of with this sequel?
I am most proud of how we—all the cast and crew—worked together and persevered even through the many challenges and hurdles we faced. From weather delays, to COVID, to injuries, and so forth. We persevered because there was an unspoken commitment that we all had to ensure we maintained Chadwick’s level of excellence. We had to “do right by Chadwick”—who still led us, even from beyond—and ultimately preserve his legacy.