Yoruba Actors Are Being Cut Off From Nollywood - Nike Pellar
Nike Abiola, popularly known as Nike Peller, has seen it all in acting. Having started well over a decade ago, she could be said to have paid her due. Cornered recently in Lagos by GBENGA OLUMIDE, she spoke about her career, her marriage, among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Your face seems to be scarce on screen these days. Are you still in the industry?
I'm still very much in the industry. I can't leave the industry. It's my profession.
Are you married now?
Yes, I'm married.
To whom, if I may ask?
The person I'm married to is a very private person. We've been together for years, so I should know what he likes and what he dislikes.
One of the things he dislikes is being talked about publicly. He is a rather private person. However, those who attended our traditional marriage and the rest, know him.
Is he the reason your fans have not been seeing much of you lately?
No, he's not. What happens is that I do more of behind-the-screens work nowadays. I do most of the costumes used by my colleagues, and I have things like generators and buses which I rent out to them.
Basically, I'm trying to take my time, considering how things are now. You know, films are churned out anyhow, many of which are wishy-washy. I don't want a situation whereby my fans will be calling me to ask why I take part in films that are of low standard. So, I'm taking my time.
Before you got married, tongues have wagged –you have been described as an old maid. How do you feel about this?
I feel nothing. I believe it is not how far, but how well. What is the point in getting married at a young age, and having problems in your marriage. If I marry late and I'm happy with my husband, then all glory be to almighty Allah.
What do you do aside acting?
I'm a fashion designer. Before I became an actress, I went to a fashion school, Singer Fashion School, Lagos. I was there for two years. Though acting has been taking me away from fashion designing, I'm about to take it more seriously.
Any film of your own?
I have films of my own, and I'm about to release another one into the market. I have a working title, but it won't be wise to say it here, because it could have been changed by the time it finally comes out. Part of the film was shot in Mecca, when I went for Hajj.
Even as a married woman, there will be admirers. How do you cope?
Of course, there are admirers. It is expected since I'm a woman, and, with all modesty, I'm famous. The only thing is that one should know how to ward persistent ones off without injuring their pride. I know how to go about it; I have no problem in that regard.
Are you romantic?
Of course I am! I'm very romantic. My husband can attest to that fact.
What was your experience in Hajj like?
Ha, my brother, Hajj is what I pray that all Muslims should experience. Anybody who goes to the Holy land will be convinced of the pre-eminence of God. When I got there, I looked at the wonders there and started crying like a baby. If I have my way, I will go to Holy land every year. It's just too wonderful. And I also met some wonderful people there. I had a nice time.
If you were to kiss a man in a movie, who would it be?
There is a way to do it. We call it miming. I can do that with any man. But when it comes to real kissing, it's not in our culture in Africa. Anyway, as artistes, we can do miming and it will look so real to you that you won't believe if I say it was not a real one. It all depends on the director.
At times you dress like someone from the North, like now, you are wearing two earrings together. Why?
Nothing. I just like it. Although my maternal great-grandmother was a northerner, I only see the way I dress as being fashionable, nothing more.
How do you see Nollywood?
Nollywood is okay. It's still young, so we cannot expect perfection yet. However, it seems, we, the Yoruba-speaking actors are being cut off from the running of the body. And it's not the fault of our colleagues at the other side; it's our fault. I say this because many, in fact, most of us Yoruba-speaking actors don't attend meetings and other get-togethers.
Thank God that we have an elite at the helm of affairs now; I'm talking of Prince Jide Kosoko. He's the one who makes all the moves to ensure that we are part and parcel of Nollywood. Left to my colleagues, they see anybody who attends meetings as not having anything tangible doing.
I don't know if it's complex. I just don't know. This attitude has made us look inferior to our counterparts; whereas we are superior in all ramifications.