+ Celebrates 10 years on stage
DELECTABLE actress and ex-beauty queen, Mina Horsfall is living her dream. Celebrating a decade in the industry that has given her fame and fortune, the multiple award winning thespian and serial entrepreneur also clocked 28 on Sunday, September 15, 2013. The star of arresting flicks like Rihanna and Beyonce, Househelp, Area Mama…had an exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Wednesday, October 23, 2013, in Ikeja, Lagos. Here, she literarily took us on a tour of her successful career, life as one-time Miss Value, business and a not-so-rosy love life that has left her heart broken. Mina is especially pained that her own first cousin snatched and married her boyfriend not long ago.
She shared her gains and pains with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Associate Editor, UCHE OLEHI.
When did you join Nollywood?
I joined the industry in Port Harcourt (Rivers) in 2003. That was under the leadership of Rivers’ AGN chairman, Larry Briggs. I went through the usual ‘waka pass’ phase, but I call it bye passers. So, I did all of the minor roles. Then I started supporting roles with Hanks Anuku, Benita in King of the Town.
How many movies do you reckon you have shot, so far?
More than 30 that I can still remember. I have also featured in about seven TV series where I played major roles. I currently have two of my soaps on air, Dilemma of Love and The Journey. It’s showing on TV Continental on Mondays, 6 p.m. My first lead role was in Househelp with Andy Best Productions. After that it has been beautiful. I did Beyonce and Rihanna, Area Mama, where I supported Mercy Johnson. I also featured in Under the Sky. Red Night also revolves around my character. There is equally The Return of Boys Scout. I also have Going West on Africa Magic. Dormitory 8(D8) is another one showing on Startimes.
It has been 10 years on stage, how does it feel?
It feels really good. Ten years is a decade. I give God all the glory. I will say I’m fulfilled getting to this point.
What then would you say has been the high point of your career?
My awards. I won the Best Supporting Actress, Classic Africa Merit Award, 2013. There was also Gbedu Award and a couple of other ones I have been nominated, lately. Some of them, I least expected. I would say my Househelp in 2004 put me on the spotlight.
What have been the challenges so far?
There is a lot of competition here. A lot of beautiful people and equally talented ones are here. So, one needs to be on top of one’s game.
What is really unique about Mina Horsfall?
My style, I guess. I’m Mina Horsfall. I do my things. What has kept me relevant is that I don’t look out for all the jobs. Just do the few that suits you and keep it clean.
Other than competition, what would you say are the basic challenges facing Nollywood at the moment?
I think factionalization of Nollywood guilds is not the best. They won’t take us serious unless we are united. We should all support our elected officers and stop confusing the public. I’m not in Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) politics but the way some of our colleagues are getting desperate because of power and their selfish interests can no longer be tolerated.
What have been the pains and gains of being a movie star?
Everybody wants you to be perfect, forgetting you are human and you don’t have to get it right all the time. Another unfortunate aspect is that, we have lost our privacy. You are under so much pressure to keep it real. You try to stay away from scandals. You don’t have to mind what people say about you.
Talking about scandals, it seems you are somehow free from that. How do you manage this?
I keep it clean, like I said. Before any other thing, I am a born again Christian. I know my dos and don’ts. I have my reputation as an ex-beauty queen to protect. My family is also there, my mom, my sisters, brothers and my baby niece, whom I adore so much, are all there watching me. So, I got to behave myself.
What about the gains that comes with being a celebrity?
The gains of stardom basically have to do with the recognition I get and open doors. When I’m travelling out, all I need is to give them my name at the embassy. Once Mina Horsfall is googled, they know where I’m coming from. Some good people also assist you when you need their help. You can add that is a privilege to be a role model to youths. I’m proud to be a role model as a movie star and former beauty queen.
So, how did you celebrate?
I marked my birthday and 10 years on stage at Prince of Anthony in Anthony Village, Lagos. It was attended by friends, family members and loved ones.
It was more like double celebrations in the sense of you turning 28. How does it feel?
It is great. It means I’m aging gracefully (laughs). I still look very young at this age.
You even look 22?
Thanks. That’s what people say all the time. So, it feels good.
What then are you most grateful to God for at this age?
Life. I’m also grateful to God for the fact that my mom and my siblings are all alive to celebrate me.
Was there any target you set for yourself at 28? And how far have you gone with it?
That is when I’m 30. I have a target I wouldn’t make public now. I’m still working on it.
So, you prefer to keep it to yourself?
Yes, because I’m still working on it.
Are you really living your dream?
Yes, I am.
You have been in and out of the industry lately. What has been happening to your career?
I’m still trying to stage a huge come back. I had to round off my education before any other thing. I read English at the Lagos State University (LASU). You know how it is. If you took this time to go to school, you also need time to get back fully to work.
You also run M.I.S.H Concepts Limited, what are you into?
We do branding, gift items for corporate organizations and we print season’s cards. We also do a bit of interior decoration. But I have added another product to my company. It’s St. Genevieve wine, one of the best wines in the market. It is a sweet red table wine. You know the red wine is good for your health.
How did you join the business?
Through a friend who imports wines. I tasted it and loved it. Now, I’m into wine business.
Has it been good business for M.I.S.H?
Yes. I have done promos for Nobel Carpets and Indomie, for BRT bus adverts. That was in 2010.
When did you discover this business side of you?
I have always been a business motivated young woman. I’m only waiting for the funds to hit it big.
Does it run in the family?
Not really, the Horsfalls are professionals. We have medical doctors, accountants and they are all based in the U.S. They are mostly politicians, though.
What does it really take to be a Horsfall?
A whole lot. You have to be very strong. The Horsfalls are fearless people. We are very bold and beautiful, most of all. We have three beauty queens in my family. Helen Prest’s mother, Helen Prest herself and Mina Horsfall.
So, Helen Prest is your sister?
Yes, she is my first cousin.
Your fans are still asking whom Mina, the ex-beauty queen, successful actress and serial entrepreneur is dating right now?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been that lucky and successful in that aspect of my life. But it is all good. Maybe, it’s not time for me.
You once had a heart break?
I wouldn’t call it a heart break. It was a kind of disappointment or betrayal. It’s one thing to be heart-broken and another thing to be betrayed. That was a painful one and really traumatic. Till date, I’m yet to get through the shock.
What made it more painful and shocking?
The people involved.
Your family member?
My first cousin.
Your own blood cousin snatched your man from you?
Yes. The whole story is complicated. She kind of dated my boyfriend and got married to him. They kept me out of it. I had no idea of what was going on until they were about to get married because she was already pregnant for him.
Have you forgiven her?
Sincerely, no. I’m not going to lie to you. I haven’t forgiven anyone of them.
But you are supposed to be a Christian and a born again at that?
Don’t go there, please. If you know what is wrong in the sight of God and man, don’t do it, hoping to be forgiven.
God still forgives us though He knows we know what we are doing and we are to be like God?
Let’s not get it twisted, we are not God. We are human. It is not that I’m not going to forgive her. Maybe someday, as we grow older in life, I could. But for now, it’s still very fresh. So, I’m not going to deny the fact that I’m still bitter with them. I’m not going to say I have forgiven them when I have not, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to do anything funny, though.
When did it happen?
Last September. That was when they got married. What actually got me crazy was the manner they went about it. She went all nasty about it. Her mom couldn’t help the situation. It was only her dad who didn’t support her.
You introduced your boyfriend to your cousin or how did it happen?
I did not introduce him. She knew him. He was my uncle’s best man. And we were on the bridal train. He met us together and he went after me. We had a relationship for some years, two years at a stretch, then it became off and on. And all those times, she knew. She was even engaged to someone else. Unknown to me, she ‘worked’ her way to Lagos for her NYSC to have my boyfriend. She was living with my boyfriend and it didn’t make any sense to me. Until later on, I found out they were getting married. What pained me most and the worst part of it was that when I got to hear about it and confronted him, he said he can never do anything with my sister. And there you are getting her pregnant and marrying her. It got all messed up. That is why I said it wasn’t a heart break thing, it’s more of betrayal.
The guy is also from Rivers?
No, he is from Delta State.
You have since moved on?
I have always been a happy girl. While they were preparing to get married, he wasn’t in my life any more.
Are you in a relationship at the moment?
I’m not. I’m just focused on my job right now. My interest now is to be a diplomat. I want to be an Ambassador some day. It’s not all about romance.
You have got a new project at hand right now?
Yes. I want to start producing my own movie. I’m also working on my charity programme.
How would you rate 2013?
This is my year. I will never forget 2013.
Where are you taking your career?
As far as God wants it to go.
You once went through three surgeries at a go. You are okay now?
I’m a lot better, though sometimes, I still get a kind of relapse health-wise. I’m taking it easy. I’m supposed to go for a medical check-up abroad because of the occasional pains. I have made a covenant with God not to go through such a situation again.