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The Abeokuta, Ogun State-born actress started her journey into acting just over a decade. Since then, she has been able to prove her mettle. In this interview with TOPE OLUKOLE, she speaks on many issues. Excerpts:
How is the story so far?
WELL, I thank God Almighty for His blessings and protection. God has really been wonderful in my life.
You look good. What is the secret?
I don’t really have any particular secret about my looks. I only try to eat good food and fruits.
What particular food do you like?
I love yam a lot. So also is tea. As a matter of fact, I drink tea with plenty of milk every day. My day is never complete until I have
my cup of tea.
How did your acting career start?
I started about eleven years ago. I was still in school at the time. On this particular day, I ran into a popular actress, known as Iya ibeji omo araye le. I met her at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), and approached her and told her I’d love to act.
She advised me to go to Odunfa and meet another popular actor, Araosan. But unfortunately, I went there for about two times without meeting him. I later met Ogogo when I went back again the third time.
In other words, Ogogo was your boss. He taught you the rudiments of the profession?
Yes. Ogogo was my boss. He was the one who taught me the job.
Was it your looks that attracted you to theatre?
(Prolonged laughter) No, not at all. You see, I fell in love with acting right from my days in secondary school. I remember in those days, whenever I watched stars like Regina Askia and the late Bimpe Adekola, I would feel like ‘oh I want to be like them’. It was at that point that I decided I was going to act.
So, how would you describe the journey so far?
The last eleven years have really been very memorable. I’ve had my good times and of course, low times. But overall, I need to give God all the glory. You see, I so much love this job.
Let’s have the good times first?
Like I told you, I love this job. So, the first thing that I enjoy is meeting people every day. These are people that matter in the society, people that can touch your life and make a huge difference in your life.
I walk on the streets and people recognise me and want to touch me, that is something that I really enjoy. Some people would want you to believe that the pay is poor. In some cases, it is true. But it is not as bad as they are putting it.
Was there any time you felt like quitting the industry?
There was nothing like that. Like I told you, I had both good and trying times. But it never got to a point where I felt like quitting. And don’t forget that I said I love this job with a passion.
So, when did you have your first break?
That was about ten years ago. It was a minor role, but for me at the time, it was such a big role that took me to cloud nine.
How much were you paid for that role?
I didn’t get anything. But it was worth more than ten million dollars at that time.
So, you suddenly became a super star in your neighbourhood with a waka pass role.
Yes. I needed to flaunt it in my neighbourhood that a star has arrived
How long did it take for the major roles to start coming?
It wasn’t long at all. I think it was about my second or third job that fetched me a major role.
How did your parents take it when they realised you were going to be an actress?
My mom was against it at the beginning. She was like ‘you cannot do it. You don’t want to get married?’ But I did my best to convince her that being an actress does mean one won’t be married or that one won’t be responsible. But my dad wasn’t really bothered. He only gave me a condition that I must go to school.
And you agreed to the terms of the condition?
Yes. I first studied Laboratory Technology at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree. Then I went on to study Micro-Biology at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye.
I feel you have proved your mom right somehow.
How do you mean?
You are not married yet. And don’t forget that that was her fears?
How do I answer your question? But the truth is that my mother is very proud of me. She is Iya Bimbo to everybody, and she loves that. However, like a mother, she may not really be happy that I am not yet married. But you see, the only certain thing in life is death. I always tell people that death is the only thing that all of us are sure of about life.
Marriage, children or any other thing, nobody can say with certainty that those things would happen. I am not saying that I wouldn’t get married. For sure, I would get married and have my own kids. But it would happen at God’s time.
Are you into a relationship at the moment?
Yes, I am into a relationship. We both love each other and we are working towards sealing the relationship with marriage.
So, who’s your ideal man?
My man must be handsome and God-fearing. He must also be of good height. However, religion is not an issue. He can be a Christian or a Muslim. All I want is that he must have the fear of God in him.
The fad among celebrities is to have tattoos on their body. Do you have any?
Yes, I have two tattoos on my body.
And on what part of the body do you have yours?
(Laughter) I know what you’re driving at. Well, my tattoos are on my arms. I have a cross on one arm and a bird on the other.
What’s the significance of the bird, or are you...?
Cuts in… Why didn’t you ask about the significance of the cross?
Have you produced any movie?
Yes, I have three productions to my credit. They are Agbara Ife, Soko Sale and Eni maa kure.
I’ve observed a trend among artistes in Nigeria. The women seem to do better than the men in terms of wealth. What do you think is responsible for this?
I’m not sure you are right about this. If you look round very well, I’m sure that you’ll find some men who are doing very well too.
You love to play the cantankerous character in most of your movies. How does this character apply to you as Bimbo Akisanya?
I think that depends on how you look at it. Yes, some people might want to say that I am stubborn. But the truth is that I don’t take nonsense from people. And the reason is that I try as much as possible not to do to people what I wouldn’t like them to do me.
For this simple reason, if you say one word, I’m always ready to say three words to you. I don’t have too many friends because I don’t go to clubs or parties. This is not to say that it is bad, but that is just my own way of life.
Which of your movies do you love most?
It is difficult for me to say which one is the best. But I love movies like Agogo Eewo and Tambolo. The two movies have remained memorable to me.
Few weeks ago, a Lagos court set you free of allegations of conspiracy and injuring a pastor. What happened?
The last ten months have been tough for me. The story started like a joke and before I knew what was happening, I found myself in court. It all started last October when a woman came with the police to our house.
The woman is a pastor and a neighbour. She told the police that I came to her church with some men and ordered them to shoot her. Prior to that incident, there had been a serious argument between the woman and other residents, who claimed that she disturbs them with noise from her church.
The landlords association even took up the matter and reported her to the police and other government authorities. I was never part of the move to stop the woman, so it was a big surprise to me at first. The police first took me to their station at Shasha, and later to SARS. Even the police were confused as why the woman would accuse me of such grave offence because we never had any cause to fight.
She even said she does not know me well. So, why she claimed that I led some gunmen to her church to kill her left me confused. However, the matter ended up in court. And for the ten months that the trial lasted, I can simply say life was tough. One particular thing that impressed me in the entire episode was how the police handled the case. They did an excellent job.
So how does it feel to be vindicated by the court?
I can’t really say how I felt when the judgment was read out. I wept and tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. It was an experience I couldn’t explain. But I give all the glory to God for giving me justice.
Tell us about growing up.
I am the last child in a family of six. I grew up in the Yaba area of Lagos before my parents moved from that area. As the last child, my parents, especially my mum, pampered me and would not allow me do some household chores in those days. For me, growing up was fun.
Most actresses in Nigeria wear scandals like their second clothe. Is it the same with you?
It’s not as you are putting it. I think most of us are simply trying to live with it. I no longer bother myself about what people say
about me because I realised that some people go out of their way to bring you down.
What was the worst thing ever said about you?
It was a story published by a soft-sell magazine about five or six years ago. They wrote that I am wayward and that I am fond of sex.
Are you wayward or fond of sex?
I am not wayward in any way. I think the question should be how they found out that I am wayward or fond of sex. How much of me do they know?
This is one aspect of your profession that I really don’t like, people speculate about others a lot. I am not saying that I am a perfect
being, but that is not enough reason for anybody to write lies about me.
Given the opportunity, what part of your body would love to change?
I don’t think there is any part of my body that I don’t like.
Okay. What part do you like most?
I love my voice, eyeballs and others. But the parts I love most are my lips.
Do you deliberately use the lips to attract men?
How do you mean? I don’t go out of my ways to use my lips to draw attention.
However, most men would tell me that they love my lips. Some would even ask that a single kiss would be enough for them and all that.
So, how many calls do you get from men daily?
I cannot count the number of calls I get in a day. It gets worse every day because the men are getting daring, asking to date me and other naughty stuffs.
What advice would you give you up and coming actresses?
They should know that everything that glitters is not gold. In those days, I aspired to be like Liz Benson and Bimpe Adekola. But I realised that I needed to be myself. So, I’d advise them to be themselves and work hard to achieve whatever dream they have.