My husband talks too much
Although she became an actress by chance, Fathia Balogun is today one of the most versatile artistes in Nollywood. Bold, beautiful and confident, the fair-complexioned actress who hails from Delta State was born and raised in Lagos.
Married to Yoruba movie whizkid Saidi Balogun, Fathia was introduced into acting by her uncle Alhaji Fatai Teniola who asked her to stand in for an actress that failed to show up.
Fathia whose new movie, Iya Oko, is already making waves in the industry spoke about her life, career and why she usually plays wife to her husband in movies:
My name is Fathia Adunni Korede Balogun. I hail from Delta State but grew up in Ikeja, Lagos. I attended Olufunmilayo Nursery and Primary School, Maryland Primary School, Maryland Comprehensive High School, after which I studied at Kwara State Polytechnic. I am the first child of my family.
I'm a strong Catholic. My father is an ex-soldier, while my mother is a petty trader. I am in my mid-thirties.
Early days in acting
It started in the early 1990s. My uncle, Alhaji Fatai Teniola introduced me into acting. The other actor who encouraged me was Kokonsari. Both of them actually encouraged me to go into acting in 1991.
Acting in school
While I was in the secondary school, I was a member of the literary and debating society as well as the drama club. I also joined other entertainment groups. I wouldn't say that was why I went into acting because I never planned to be an actress anyway. My father wanted me to be an accountant and I wanted to be a lawyer.
Coming into acting
I just came home from school (Polytechnic) on a particular day and my uncle, a producer, was shooting a movie and he wanted somebody to play the role of a secretary. A lady was given that role but she was not around at that time, but they had to continue the shooting. So, he urged me to play the role but I said I was not interested because in those days we use to think that acting was just for illiterates. My uncle insisted that I should take that part role and go. Then Kokonsari and Dele Odule briefed me on the role and that was how it all started.
How I developed my talent
When I started, mamy people felt that I could not do it. I applied myself to it and I enjoyed it. But I left for England in mid-1990s. Before I left for England, I featured in some movies. When I got to England, I was still acting because there are Nigerian film producers based in England and home-based artistes come there to shoot movies too.
I returned to Nigeria finally in Year 2000 and immediately, I went into full time acting. On arrival, the first movie I acted in was Owowumi, produced by my husband. I played the first child to a Chief; a role played by Sunday Omobolanle (a.k.a Aluwe).
How I felt
It was very stressful for me then and in playing the lead role, I had to attend to so many artistes. So it was very stressful. It was not encouraging at the initial stage but my husband was there to encourage me.
However, before I left for England, it was no longer stressful because I had to go to work and I had to give producers my own time for shooting. Here, you have to be on location if you are playing the lead role from day one to the end and because it was my husband that was producing, I had so many things to do then.
Number of movies
I can't list them but I know I have really tried.
Most popular movies
The most popular movies I have taken part in are Jeun Soke, Abule Sowo, Omo Mummy, Adisa, Omo ni Baku, among many others.
Getting the roles
Usually, producers feel that Fathia Balogun can play certain roles and they come after me, give me my scripts. I have to go through such scripts and see if they are the ones I can do. If I go through them and discover they are good enough, I would then call the producer and negotiate the fee. If they are not good enough, I would decline, giving one or two reasons.
There is no role I can't play. As an artist, you have to be flexible. You have to do all roles. But I don't play roles that will go against my religious background. If you watch my films, you see it, yes, I dress well, but I don't go out of my bounds, it is not because I am married. No! Even when I was not married, I don't accept roles that I am not comfortable with.
Most frightening movie
I once had an okada accident. Since then, I've stopped riding on okada. So, I did a movie with Hank Anuku. He brought his motor bike and I was to go on the bike and that was the first time I was meeting him. It was a frightening experience for me. Even Hank Anuku himself was too hard for me. So, I was going on his bike and I said God how would I achieve this? When I got on the bike, I started shivering and I was sweating. It was not until I came down from the bike that I had some relieve.
Most challenging movie
My most challenging movie is not a Yoruba movie. It was Wale Adenuga's tele-drama; the super story stuff. The drana was called Face of Deceit. There, I had to play the role of a 42-year-old woman. I had to change everything about me. And thanks to Antar Laniyan who gave me the encouragement. He was always telling me that I could do it. So, that was my most challenging role.
I pick roles by the character I am meant to do. You know in Nigeria, we are used to picking roles for an actress. If I can cry now, they will always come with a script 'crying.' If I scream very well on set, producers will begin to approach me with scripts that have screaming roles. So, I don't do that. At one time I was always playing the role of a good house wife, I told myself I was tired of it. So I wanted to play the school girl that is wild, so I went for that kind of character, I dropped it, I went into a very wild lady that would scream and always curse and everything. When I was tired of a particular one, I moved into another one. That is how I chose my roles.
Acting with hubby
That's a lie. I wouldn't say it's me. It's the producers' choice because they feel it's more economical and safer. When I'm on set with another guy, they feel that I would tell them at a point that I wanted to go home and see my husband and kids when I am staying late or staying too long on location. But when he is on set with me, they know that if I have to stay there for a month, he will be there with me.. So they feel it's safer and more economical.
Acting the role of wife with my husband
I don't feel any how. I feel the normal way. I don't feel any how. I don't show my privacy on the screen. That's the problem. But I always act with him the way I will act with Yemi Lanso.
Why I prefer Yoruba movies
Well, because I started with Yoruba, so I love them because Yoruba is the language that some people have to pay to learn. I'm not a Yoruba lady, but I was born and raised in Lagos. So I can speak and read it very well. I did Super Story because I wanted my audience to know that I could do some other things. I have got one or two scripts in English but the pay was not too good. So I will rather stay put in my Yoruba productions than go and beg for a role in English movies. It's not as if I want to sit there, but that is it for now.
Relationship with movie producers
I have a cordial relationship with them. We are all one family. They are all my brothers, they are my marketers, they are my producers. So I have nothing to do with them than business.
Marriage before acting.
No! I have been acting before. In fact my husband and I met on set.
I never had it. I never experienced anything like sexual harassment before. I was single when I started acting. They will always come to you and say, I like you, I want you to be my girl friend. It's left to you to tell them no or yes. So I never had it.
Marriage to an actor
It is okay. It a pride that you are married to an actor that is popular, that is successful, that everybody knows. It's okay. It is just like a normal life, like a banker getting married to a banker, a doctor getting married to a doctor. It's the normal thing.
I love my husband and he loves me so whatever comes along that line is none of my business.
What you like about him
He is very prayerful. He is God fearing and he is very intelligent.
His kind of person
He is a very humorous person and when you are with him, you cannot be bored. He will always make you laugh. He is God fearing, intelligent and talented. To me, he is a genius.
Dislikes about spouse
He talks too much.
I sing too. But I don't sing for money. I can dance. I can sing. That's all you have in the entertainment industry anyway. I love buying and selling a lot.
I have a mini-super market and a video club.
Yes, I give glory to God. I'm comfortable. I can afford three square meals a day.
I didn't even take a kobo from my producers. I didn't take anything from the producer and I was playing the lead role. I played 32 scenes and I left location with nothing.
I don't like discussing my pay because that thing causes some problems with other artistes, so I know right now, I'm collecting what I'm comfortable with.
Fathia Balogun is very quiet and God fearing. I can't describe myself. I just know that generally, I'm a very quiet person. But you don't step on my toes.
How come you are Fathia?
Fathia is not a Muslim name. Fathia is a Catholic name. When you see the book, you will see it's a Catholic name. Fatia is the Muslim version but it is the same meaning. But because of Fathia, people started saying Fatie. When I was in school, I used to tell my father that there is nobody bearing Fathia, why did you name me Fathia? Now, the name is everywhere and I give glory to God.
I have to be a Muslim now. I was to go to Mecca but because of my pregnancy, I had to wait, but by the grace of God, I hope to go next year.
I have two boys.
I'm a very loving and understanding mother. I love being with my kids. When I'm not on set, I'm with my kids.
Care for children while on location
I have a house help. My mother is there and my sisters. They stay with my mother. During the holidays, they stay with us. Right now they are with us. By Sunday evening they'll go back to their granny.
Generally, marriage is not a bed of roses. Sometimes it's down, sometimes it's up. But you have to be very prayerful. That is just the key to marital success. However, getting married to my husband is the happiest thing that has ever happened to me. I am happy that I'm married to Saidi.
I have won awards back home in Nigeria. I was nominated as the Best Supporting Actress for Reel Awards 2004. However, I would love to win an international award.
What fans don't know about me
Not I alone, it affects all actresses. Many of our fans don't really know us. They seem to judge us by the roles we play. For instance, some movie buffs believe that I'm arrogant. They believe I talk to people rudely, they forgot that that is the role I am asked to play. But the ones that are actually close to me know I'm quiet, reserved and God-fearing.
I want to tell my fans out there that I love them. I want them to know that without them, there will be no Fathia Balogun. They should keep praying for me and be on the look out for my next film entitled called Iya Okomi.