-‘The pictures and video have achieved their purpose’
– ‘My husband supports me’
CAROLINE Sam, popularly known as Maheeda, is a model, actress, singer and an orphan. The 30 year-old entertainer recently posted her nude pictures on the net and that attracted derogatory reactions from the public.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Maheeda stated point blank that she has no apologies for posting such obscene pictures. She was quick to add that she did it for a reason and the result has been favourable…
Who is Caroline Sam?
Caroline Sam is also known as Maheeda. I grew up in the North and lost my parents at a very tender age. I am a mother, an orphan and a musician.
Majority know you as Maheeda, how did you come about the name?
I gave myself the name, Maheeda because of the meaning. According to Muslims, it means Blessing. But I chose Maheeda because I heard a story that Maheeda was a vessel filled with gold and some people discovered it and started prospering from the gold. I believe I am the Maheeda, full of gold and Nigerians would discover me.
How long have you been in the music industry?
I have been into music for a long time. If I am to say how long I would say seven years.
How has it been?
For me, it has been a learning process. I have a lot of critics who think I am thick skinned but they have made me stronger. Seven years ago, they started making that noise; so, I am used to it. I would say, I have learnt a lot.
What are the challenges?
The basic challenge is money, not having the appropriate funds when you need it the most. The other challenge is untrustworthiness. Also as a female in Africa, we are not getting our rights.
Hmmm, I’m still expecting the gains. I would just say it is all the lessons I have learnt. I won’t say I am making money but I will just go with the lessons.
Have you always wanted to do music as a child or it came along the line?
I have always wanted to do music but the basic thing is stardom. I wanted to be somebody and as an orphan without a family I needed to make something out of my life. So, that actually pushed me into music.
You were once a gospel artiste, what happened?
I think what happened was just spiritual maturity. At a stage in your life, you have to take a break and grow up or else everything will just be wrong. I needed to grow spiritually. Christians call it born again. I am standing in the gap not for Christians or for Muslims.
At the point you attained spiritual maturity, did it work?
It worked. I just discovered a light because in every light there is a greater light. Some Christians just stop halfway, that is why they remain poor but you have to make something out of it. You need to study well if you really need something and God will show you how to make it.
You sound very religious?
Yeah, of course, I am religious because I still believe in God and nobody can take that away from me. Jesus is the best thing that happened to my life.
Do you belong to any religious sect?
No. This Sunday I go to Christ Embassy, next Sunday I go to House on the Rock or even Redeemed. I am just anywhere Jesus is. When it comes to my music, I am in the middle because I have fans that are Christians, Muslims, lesbians and gays.
Do you support the law against gay in Nigeria?
This is my country and they have been taking care of us for long. So, if they decide that law would be good for us then I’m okay with it. After all, I am not gay. I just pity those who are gay or lesbians because I respect everybody’s decision. But if the government says they don’t want it like that, then we have to respect it.
True, I don’t have a problem doing that but I think it is because of my job and I know most Christians won’t understand it. But I just believe that this is what I have to do, to get attention, especially when it comes to my job and I just believe His grace is enough for me. He loves me more than my ‘nakedness’. If you see God as a Father because He sees you as a daughter, I would not because of your nakedness want to ruin you or kill you. That is how I see God. He understands me. He hates me but He loves me at the same time.
I understand you are married, are you still with your husband and does he support your career?
I am still very much in my marriage and my husband does not have any problem with what I am doing. He supports me.
Can you tell us a bit about your husband?
I am sorry, I am leaving him out of this conversation because that is what he wants and I respect his decisions.
In your recent video, Naija Bad Girl, why were you naked?
I did the video naked because I want people including the media to talk about it and that is happening already.
Are you thinking of promoting ‘porn’ through your video?
No, I am not but maybe I am promoting it in a different way. My intention is for people to talk and to get more attention and I did it and got what I wanted.
I am signed to my own record label, Yes Ma Record. Ma is the short form of Maheeda.
How does it feel being on your own?
I am not alone. I have people that I am working with, a very strong team, especially my man. He is the chairman of my company and very supportive as well.
Are you planning getting new artistes to be signed on your record label?
Yes. There are a lot of artistes who are very good but I don’t know why some of these people that have money are not calling them up. So, for me, if I have money, not only for my business, but for the fact that we have to help one another, I will help people. Know when you get to the top, you should remember to help others. If I have to think how I struggled to get to where I am today, I will weep. So, when I have the power, I pray I can help other artistes which is very important.
From observations, it was discovered that there is a kind of rivalry between yourself and Afrocandy. What is going on?
I really don’t know, maybe she feels threatened. I used to feel threatened as well, it is normal. Sometimes I feel jealous of Muna, Tiwa Savage. I feel like why are you having all those things which I don’t have. It is just normal but it is the ability to control it that really matters.
Can you tell us about your music?
So far, I’m loving my music. It is a pity that it did not really give me what I wanted but when I took off my clothes, I got what I wanted. So, I am trying to see if I would get back such trust for my music again. That is why we are working very hard on my singles and videos to give my music that push again.
Do you see yourself coming out with an album very soon?
For my album, I’m thinking of this year. I can’t say yet, it depends on how the singles are doing, what my fans want basically. Until they start shouting “can we have an album?” But right now, they are saying Maheeda, we need another video.
Her name is Divine Favour. I gave her that name because when I was pregnant, I was 17 and was almost like a virgin who did not really know how to wash herself. I went to church and told God, I want you to do me a favour, I want to give birth normally and it worked exactly how I asked God to do it. I gave her that name because I asked for favour and I got it. I really want her out of my life drama because I want her to take decisions. This was not what my mom did, she was a very quiet and reserved person and look at me, I’m like a mad woman but she did not choose it for me. I made my decision and whatever comes with it, I would face it. So, I want to teach my daughter how to make a choice, stand by it and see what comes out of it. Whatever I do now, good or bad, I don’t want her to follow my footsteps. If good, fine but if bad she will not take it. I am not afraid of risks.
So tell us, where do you make your money?
(Laughs) I make my money from shows, invitations. Some people invite me and I get paid just to sit down and drink, take pictures for birthday parties, weddings and many more. Sometimes, I perform, sometimes I don’t. I also do modelling. In Holland, I did two modelling jobs, one cost about N2 million and the other was close to a million naira.
What kind of modelling do you do?
I am into nude modelling and sculpture modelling where one is moulded naked.
It seems you have not learnt from your past (having a baby early, being an orphan and also going into prostitution), with the way you have been parading yourself?
Sober? I have come to that point of my life where I don’t judge people. The way you learn is different from the way I learn. The way you see things is also different from the way I see things. If you think someone is doing something the wrong way, why not pray for them instead of criticizing them, because the more you criticize in bad faith, the more you are destroying them.
Bottomline is that we are not all the same. Maybe this is my own way of learning. I may not learn the way you did, just give me time because you never know what will happen at least. When there is life, there is hope.
I would say no, because I don’t think what they say would make me stop what I am doing. So, what they are saying would not stop me from doing what I am doing. I will keep moving forward until I get to a stage where they have nothing to say again. Most of my critics are down below talking and I am up there. So, if they want me to listen they should come up there, so we can rub minds.
Despite the fact that you go nude to gain attention for your music career, it seems not to be paying off. Is it because you’re not there yet?
One thing people don’t understand is that, I am a showbiz girl. If music is not paying, modelling will. If that does not pay, acting would pay. And if they are all not paying, I would move into something else because I don’t give up.
This is 2014 and the year is still fresh, what does Maheeda have in store for us?
I just dropped two singles and would be shooting their videos as well. Before the year runs out, there would be more videos and I might drop an album. I don’t know until the demand is high.
There was a rumour that you were paid N2 million to go nude in your video, how true?
How I wished it was true. Maybe if I was paid, I would have done more. There was nothing like that.
It is said that you do not stay in Nigeria, where do you reside?
I’m not based in Nigeria. I stay in Holland with my husband. Basically, I moved to Holland because of my daughter. I do not want her to school here in Nigeria although she completed her primary education here in Nigeria.
Is your husband the father of your child, tell us about your love story?
We have been married for almost two years now and he is not the father of my child. I met my husband while I was working in a bar in Port Harcourt. The first time we met, he was new in town and I got him acquainted in Nigeria. I told him my story and he was moved to tears and he said to me, ‘Don’t worry, I will help you’ and since then he has kept his promise.
How would you describe your survival story?
I don’t know what to say but all I know is that growing up was very hard. There were times I had to sleep on the streets, I am an orphan, I have been an hous
e girl and I did a lot of menial jobs but I thank God for where I am today.
The music industry is very competitive, how do you intend to breakthrough?
One really needs to be focused and I have a vision, that is the most important thing in life. You might be seeing all these things happening but I have a vision. I just don’t want to remain in a position. So, I don’t think I have a competition to win and even though there is, it is not really affecting me because I know where I am headed.
How do you relate with other people?
Seriously, I don’t relate with anyone not only in the industry but as a normal person. I don’t have friends because of past betrayals. It makes it difficult for me to trust people. It is just very difficult because when I make friends they betray me.
Do you see yourself doing music with other music artistes?
Yes, very soon. I really like Phyno, Eva, Muna and Tiwa Savage. I want to hear Tiwa Savage’s golden voice when she sings and I rap, maybe she would get ‘naked’ too (laughs). Olamide as the Badoo and me as the Naija bad girl, maybe 2Face but he is just too sweet. I don’t know how you can join a sweet boy to a bad girl.
Where do you see Maheeda in the next five years?
Two albums down, a baby or twins because I love twins and to be internationally recognized.
Do you have people that encourage you?
Yes, I do. Everybody can’t just hate you. Most of the people that really touched me are the single mothers and orphans, when they come to talk to me. They always want me to make it in life and they motivate me.
Thinking about how you grew up, are you planning on starting an NGO?
Yes, but I have a plan of adopting two orphans first and if God blesses me more I would start up an NGO. I would prefer something that would take girls off the street or an orphanage home because that is where I’m coming from.
What do you have to say to your fans?
Thank you very much, thanks for believing in me and keep praying for me.
Did you grow up on the street or in an orphanage?
No, I grew up with a good Samaritan woman and her husband until I became of age and her husband wanted to rape me.
What informs your style, fashion wise?
It has to be something very comfortable and sexy. I don’t believe in expensive stuffs. If it looks good on me then it’s okay.
What is your beauty routine like?
It is supposed to be sleeping a lot, drinking lot of water and also eating fruits and vegetables but I am not really doing it because I have been busy and not really working except I’m on holidays which is very rare.
How do you relax?
Having good sex with my husband. Massage also helps.