BIMBO Akintola is one of the versatile and high flying actresses in Nollywood. No doubt, she has paid her dues in the make-believe world. The role interpreter had stayed away from the press for quite a while now. In this exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the talented thespian opened up on marriage, controversies and sundry issues.
There was a story that you are dating O. C Ukeje?
If the press should see you and someone in a compromising situation or position, the next thing they will say, is that you are dating. That is not helping us in anyway. I believe they should start behaving as professionals. When you see anything on set, it is make-believe, it is not true. I have been seeing it everywhere, the picture was taken on set. You can imagine, the director was there and all the other crew members. So, what are they talking about? It is not true, it is just a movie picture.
He admitted there was chemistry, do you feel same?
For me, what I try to do when I take up a role, no matter whom I am playing it with, I try and make sure I become that character, which makes every other thing easier. The chemistry will be there, even if I am not familiar with the person. Even if the chemistry is not there, as soon as I become the character, I will flow along.
Have you ever connected with a male actor before even after location?
Whatever I am, I am grateful to God. All over the world, if two people do a movie, they will have a lot of things in common, before you know it, they will start dating, despite the fact that they are married. It happens abroad and also in Nigeria because they have a connection, but I don’t have that connection with any actor. I am grateful to God for that.
How do you feel working with upcoming actors?
It depends, O.C is in his 20s, and how young is Bimbo? If you are talking about the industry, we have all paid our dues. So, when I see people working, I am always willing to assist in any way I can. First, I try to put them at ease, I don’t think being young has anything to do with it.
What’s your role in that movie because you acted naughty like Out of Bounds?
I acted as a young girl in Out of Bounds, who was seeking attention and when she couldn’t get it, she became naughty. It happens in every home, if you have a child who doesn’t have the attention of the parents, it is either she becomes too quiet or becomes naught. The lady in Hoodrush, did all kinds of things. She likes younger men.
Your producer was a new comer in the industry, how was the experience?
I can kill him (laughter). The making was a good thing, he is detailed to technical works. I like working with people who are ready to listen to any argument and iron things out. You need to watch some of the shots. You will find out that after a long time in the industry, you have taken up a lot along the way. You will find out that you already know where to start before the director gives instructions. It was great working with him. He listens, once you listen to people you are a fantastic director, you will go places.
You have been absent in movies lately, why and what have you been doing?
I have been here, I have been producing and directing. I have my own movies. There is nothing else I want to do with my life. I love acting, that is my passion. If I can’t get a good script, I wouldn’t work. I will find other things that can take care of bills and wait till I get a good script. The industry has been there for over 10 years, I think we have gotten to a stage where we should be doing great works. Some people bring scripts and after reading the first page, you will find out that it doesn’t make sense. I have watched some movies and at the end, I sit down and start crying, because they didn’t have it put together from the script. So, the technical aspect was also bad. I said to myself, if I don’t get good script, I will sit at home. I like doing Yoruba movies because the scripts are original. Everywhere in the world, they know what Nollywood is, so why should we produce mediocre movies? I am not ready to be part of that.
People say you are snobbish and independent…
I do get invite for some of these things, but most times, I am not able to go because I do other things as well. I anchor shows, so it might clash. I don’t believe because we are in the same profession, I must always attend your event. I still have my friends in the profession. I have been friends with some people for over 20 years and we are still growing strong. Having a great relationship is like marriage, you must make a good pair. I love Tonto Dikeh, I think she has a lot of respect, she is doing great. Omotola is my friend, though we don’t meet every day but we gist well, the same thing as Stella Damasus. So for me, friendship is not by profession but your heart that is if you share the same principle, we blend. A friend should tell you when you go wrong.
You are friends with Omotola, are you temperamental like her?
People have been telling me that Omotola has a temper, but I have never seen it. I don’t believe it. I think it is a story that someone made up. I have been on the same set with Omotola when something went wrong, we both started laughing, saying that when the people are ready, they would call us. Tonto Dikeh is excusable, don’t forget that she is young and she is getting a lot of attention. So, she might react and some people will take it otherwise. But it will get to a time that she will ignore, the best thing is to ignore.
Would it be right to say that’s why they say you are a snob?
I ignore a lot of things, you can never please everybody. You should always learn to please yourself first. At the end of the day, when all of us die, you will stand alone at the judgement throne to answer things for yourself. I always please myself first. It is not as if I don’t care about other people, I do care. But I don’t care about what people say about me. You don’t judge people by what you hear about them, you judge based on what you know. If you can take the time out to find out who that person is, then that is your problem.
I used to sing at The Band, it was in the same block as Oshopey Plaza. I used to sing there, that is where I met late Jaiye Aboderin. Loads of people sing there as well. If you mean professionally, I don’t think I will do anything in that line. I think if I do anything in that aspect professionally, it would be gospel and a lot of people will find it boring. I sing for myself for now, I went to school to study Theatre Arts, so if I want to sing, I will have to go back to school. As an actress, you have raw talents but when you go to school, you fine tune it and it becomes a work of art.
So, how do you pay your bills all the while you were not acting?
I am a Vodafone ambassador, it is a telecommunication company. The product will be out this year or next, I do a lot of anchoring here and there. I do script as well. Those cater for my needs, they more than sustain me.
What are the challenges?
If you are talking about challenges, I will ask, why are other sectors not investing in the industry? The industry is making a lot of money for the country, it has given us international acclaim. I don’t know why such is happening. When they even say they give money out, they give it to those that will make it fail. I like our Governor, Raji Fashola, he is doing a lot for the industry. But that is just one man, what are others doing? I have a lot of ideas and project I want to work on. But you should be looking at one or two years before you can get sponsors. That is one of my greatest challenges.
Why have you not shot your own movie?
I want to, I am such a perfectionist and I am just trying to hold myself back. I shot a film ten years ago, then released it years later. I have stories in my head but I am looking for people to write it. If you have someone to do the technical work, why not?
Don’t you think playing naughty roles affect your personality?
No, no, that is not possible. I have played a lot of roles, good wife, bad wife, widow. I have played it all. It is not good to be stereotyped to a particular role. I don’t agree with you.
So many upcoming artists see you as a role model, how do you handle controversies?
I ignore it. A lot of journalists don’t find out the truth before publishing. From that, it shows we are not together. We can only build if we are together, it looks like we are trying to destroy one another. Why will you write that Bimbo is dating five men in Abuja or that you saw me fighting at the airport when you know it is not true? Why would you love to destroy my image for no reason? Artists have responsibilities to the public, to answer their greetings when they see you, to snap when you don’t feel like it, so is a journalist, you too have a responsibility to tell the truth. If you are killing Nollywood, you are killing yourself because what else is there to write about if not Nollywood. Let us be truthful. I find it very hard to understand why some reporters write what is not true. They should write what is true. I don’t have a problem with that, I was shocked when they said I was fighting over runs money. Where is the proof? It’s sad. Thus, I have learnt to completely ignore such falsehood. There was a time I was abroad and they wrote a false story that I was around, my mother called me and I just told her, ignore it.
Did you ever attempt going to court?
The Nigerian system is not fantastic, we will be in court for ever, I am telling you. A lot of them did not know that the law of karma exists. I will plead with you guys, you have every right to write but write it only when it is true. You can write negative stories, but make sure it is true.
When do you plan having your own children?
I have loads of children, biological children will come soon. I have a daughter at the university though not a biological child.
How do you feel when you attend your friends’ wedding and you are still single?
I am not a wedding, burial, naming ceremony person, though. I attended my sister’s wedding, but I attend birthdays. We are all individuals with different destiny. I don’t judge an individual with other people’s standard. For me, marriage is a huge thing, I am not worried to rush into it. Marriage takes a lot of hard work, it is even bigger work. Marriage is the hardest institution in the face of the earth. You are from different backgrounds, you can’t just wake up, pack your load and go. If anybody tells me they are getting married, I use to ask them one question, ‘Are you sure?’ Times have changed, people are getting married at 46, it is no more an issue that you are old and you are not married. Parents no longer pressurize their children to get married again. It is when you find the right person. By the time everybody has frustrated the girl in the house, she will just take the next person that comes her way.
You love kids, is there a possibility of having kids outside wedlock?
Of course, there is nothing bad about it. Before, people see it as a bad thing, it is no more bad. It is not a shift in value. What about if the person is not lucky enough to have a husband at 45, maybe the relationship has not been working out, what do you want the person to do? Will you say the person should not have a child outside wedlock? Some women are out there, they want to get married but they can’t find the right man. Will you say the person shouldn’t have children out of wedlock? God will even punish you if you say that.
What are the qualities of your ideal man?
There is no such thing called an ideal man. What you get is a man you can relax with and grow together. Anybody waiting for Mr. Right will become old and wrinkle. There is no perfect man, what you have is work in progress, each of us are work. When you find the right person, you continue.
The character you played in Hoodrush is a sugar mummy, are you attracted to younger men because there was a story of one Dimeji…
I love men generally, Dimeji came to interview me for his magazine. At the end of the interview, he asked me if we could take a picture together and I said yes, that was it. They started saying I was dating him. I haven’t spoken with him since that shot. I don’t know if it is every man you hug that is your lover. We can’t keep doing this.
Is there a possibility that you like younger men?
Age is not a barrier for anything. I know a lot of married people who are happy today despite the fact that the wife is older. I think it is the understanding between the two that matters. If you think your heart is going for a younger one, go ahead.
Are you not bothered that you are not married yet?
I don’t care, if I had wanted to marry 15 times over, I would have. But I wouldn’t marry for people, I will marry for me. If I ever get married, it will be for me. So, I don’t think it is anybody’s business. When I find the person that makes me feel I can do this forever, then I am done, I am ready.
Has your mother at any point in time called you because of marriage?
No, I used to tell her that she shouldn’t call me when it is about marriage.
Can you tell us how old you are?
My mum used to tell me that I should tell people my new age. So, I am 26 years.
So many people have different opinion about your personality, who really is Bimbo?
I am a very simple person. I love my mum a lot, she is the most important person in my life. I love cooking, I love singing. I believe in God Almighty, my faith in God is awesome and unshaken. I like to help other people. Most especially the younger ones, I love shoes, I love jewelry, I am a free person.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 28, 2012