I DON'T LIKE HANDSOME GUYS —HALIMA ABUBAKAR
Pretty actress cum model, Halima Abubakar, in this interview, opens up on issues bordering on her career, sexual harassment and other things
Q: Halima, what has been responsible for keeping a low profile lately?
A: I have been working since January. Today is just my free day and I am having an appointment here. So far, I have been busy shooting a lot of movies, TV programmes and other things.
Q: Why haven't you been featuring in movies lately?
A: Thank God, you know what I do. Recently, I did good jobs like War In The Church, Midnight Sun, The Militants and, of course, Alero, a soap that is currently showing on AIT. So far, I have been doing a lot of jobs and I can tell you confidently that I am back for real and God has been good to me. My coming back is to stay.
Q: Are you also earning good money now?
A: Well, I can feed and clothe myself, glory be to God.
Q: It was alleged that you were earning much, would you say that you are now in control of your career?
A: Yes, I am in control of my career right now. I can decide the movies to feature in unlike before that I didn't have a choice. I also have the choice of the kind of roles I want to play. If I am not okay with a role, I won't take it. At that time, as you rightly said, they were only paying peanuts, but now, things have changed a little and I now have a say in what to do.
Q: How do you feel about the recent monumental loss that hit the industry, like the deaths of Ebereonwu and Francis Agu?
A: It is really painful and sad, I must say. JT Tom West and I were very close friends and Ebereonwu, too. I did not know Francis Agu and I never met him. I was in Asaba when I heard about Ebereonwu's death and it was shocking because I saw him two days before the tragic incident.
Q: Don't you think there is need for spiritual cleansing or deliverance in Nollywood, considering the tragic deaths and the uncertainties about who would kick the bucket next?
A: No, I think it is just a coincidence because a lot of people die everyday outside the movie industry that we don't hear about since they are not in the limelight. I mean things happen naturally, but it is not all of them that need spiritual attention. I only believe that it is God's time for those who have died. Everyone will die some day, somehow.
Q: How are you coping with your sex symbol image in the industry?
A: I don't know if I am a sex symbol yet. Sincerely, I don't know. I am just myself.
Q: I mean, how are you coping with your popularity in the industry?
A: I can't understand.
Q: You are a pretty girl, but at a point, you were really 'wild' and people saw you then as a sex symbol. Now that you are back with much determination to taking your career to the next level, how are you coping with this image?
A: I was not wild at all, it is just that there was a job I did and people misinterpreted my role. Really, I am a normal girl and, of course, men will always want to ask me out and it is left for me to say yes or no.
Q: Are you trying to deny that you have never been sexually harassed in the industry?
A: Sexual harassment is a thing of the mind and if somebody tries to say 'hello' to you and you interpret it as sexual harassment, that is quite unfair. Personally, some people have harassed me but not my directors or producers. Yes, some of them had asked me out but not because they wanted to give me roles in their movies. I don't see the job as a do-or-die thing. I believe when a door closes, another will definitely open.
Q: Now, let's talk briefly about your love life. Do you now have a steady
A: Not yet, but I have met someone. Let's see how long it will work out.
Q: Can we then say you are still searching?
A: No, I am not. Honestly, I will tell you if I am actually searching.
Q: Who's your kind of man?
A: Nice, gentle, humble and funny. I really don't have a particular face structure and I don't like handsome guys.
A: I just don't like them right from time.
Q: Is it because you don't like to share your man with other ladies?
A: No, as a matter of fact, ugly guys get more advances from ladies than the fine ones because some of the ugly guys have money and girls will always scramble for them. Really, I am not the kind of a lady that will go out with a man because he is fine, when somebody is fair to me, I will know it and feel it in me.
Q: Going by the roles you have played in movies and your background, can we say you have been stereotyped in the industry?
A: To an extent, yes. For some time now, they have been giving me this Hausa girl character and I am tired of it. Although I understand the language very well, that does not make me an Hausa actress. But recently, I have been playing a lot of controversial roles that will shock people. For instance, War In The Church is really challenging because I intended to do away with the straightjacket role I have been subjected to. People will now see a new person in me.
Q: Can you recall any time you went the extra mile to clinch a movie role at the initial stage of your career?
A: I have not done anything unusual to get a role. The only thing I have done and which is normal for every actress, was to go for audition where one could be picked or not. I cherish those memories. I had a lot of regrets in the past for following some bad friends and I want to put all of that behind me.
Q: If you were asked to drop a bad habit of yours, which will you pick?
A: I get angry very easily. That's very terrible thing about me.
Q:How do you rate yourself in the industry now?
A: I am in a world of my own and I would not like to compare myself with anybody. If I am to score myself, out of 10 marks, I can say I am between seven and eight.
Q: Are you that high on the scale?
A: But I have to rate myself.
Q: As a pretty actress, can you tell us what your point of attraction is?
A: My eyes.
Q: Is it true that you have some connections with a couple of state governors due to your beauty?
A: Amen. Who is saying that? Don't mind what people say, they always like to talk, but I claim it in Jesus' name.
—Bayo Adetu/Olatunji Saliu.