My Husband Not Bothered If I Kiss On Set-Laide Bakare
Laide Bakare is one of the most active Yoruba actresses, considering the fact that she started way back in 1999. In this interview with Tunde Ayanda, she speaks on how she got into the industry, her take on nudity and her family. Excerpts:
Can you tell us exactly how you got into acting?
I joined the movie industry through my dad. Several artistes used to lodge in my dad's hotel in Ibadan and there was a particular time when my father was celebrating his birthday with a house warming and we all went to his hotel which was the venue of the party.
And on getting there, we saw so many film makers, some of them liked me and when they needed anything, they'd ask me which I provided for them. It was there that they asked me if I would like to join them. I must confess that I actually love acting and anything that has to do with film production.
My father travels a lot and he buys a lot of equipment like cameras for shooting and recording and people that rented them used to tell me of their usefulness in movie production and that was how it started.
Later I sought and gained admission into the University of Ibadan to study Theatre Arts for my first degree and then the University of Lagos for my postgraduate and the rest is history.
Can you remember your first movie?
The very first movie was Adeyemi and it was produced by Muka Ray. I played a major role and acted so well in it that people couldn't believe it was my first time, it was in 1999.
Before coming to the industry, who were the people that attracted you into acting?
Unfortunately, home videos were not so popular when I was growing up, but I had some role models in broadcasting. There were also some in acting, people like Joke Silva, Bimpe Adekola, Jide Kosoko, Olu Jacobs and quite a number of them that have made their marks in the industry.
Let me compare the Nigerian movie industry with other professions like banking, law or the medical line, do you think you are getting what you actually deserved in the industry compared to related professions?
You don't judge through financial benefits but fulfilment and happiness. I might not be happy being a banker, a lawyer or what have you.
The movie industry is where I know I belong, the profession is what gives me joy and I'm happy doing it. I must also tell you that its not as bad as people think it is. Honestly, we are not doing badly except for some challenges in distribution, you know we distribute all over Africa, also in Europe and America.
At times, you'll discover that your movie did not get to where it is supposed to touch. Again, the internet too is not helping matters as people will put your film on the internet without consulting you or paying you any form of royalty. These are the challenges we are facing and once they can be corrected, we are fine.
You do more of Yoruba movies than Igbo, why?
Because the Yoruba producers patronise me more, they appreciate me and give me roles, they know my worth and respect me so much. When you are faced with other challenges and you know the producers are tribalistic and only want to give roles to people of their tribe, it doesn't bother me.
This is because I know I've been treated well by producers that know my worth and want me to be in their movies where they pay better money, I won't be bothered.
You are one of the most prominent actresses we have around, how do you ward off male advances, especially if they come from people you believe are your fans?
Its so easy and simple. When one is dealing with admirers, it depends on the person, its the way you present yourself. Normally, they will not appreciate you more than being an actress, they will either reserve any ulterior motive that can bring them embarrassment. You know men are no fools, they read countenance and understand what is available for them and what is not, so its simply putting them in check.
Nudity is becoming a serious issue in the industry, what's the reason for this and can you act nude?
I can never act nude but will never condemn people acting nude, it depends on the individual. If they feel the money is right and you don't mind exposing your body, well, good for you! Nobody can tell you how to live your life but for me, I can't do it, regardless the amount.
Even for a billion naira?
I will never do it because I know there are other means with which I could get the money, its against my lifestyle and I repeat it, I can never act nude.
What about romantic roles? Being an actress and also married, how does your husband feel whenever he watches you acting a romantic role with all the kisses and hugging?
A lot of African men are like that, they don't understand when actors are on set and they want to make a scene looks perfect, it's our job! But I'm lucky to have a man that understands that my work is different from my lifestyle. He understands me very well and he does everything to support Nollywood to become more successful.
So, he doesn't care seeing me on set with another man while acting, he understands my work and knows that I'm very principled and respect my body so much. I'm lucky having the right man that understands and will always support my career.
But how do you cope having a husband abroad while you live and work in Nigeria?
He comes home regularly and I travel to meet him too on a regular basis. Its fun for me to travel at will to sustain my marriage and its fun for him too to have investment both here and abroad. I think we are doing the right thing, our communication too is very good, even though we don't live together, we talk on phone extensively.
How long have you been married and what attracted you to him?
I've been married for three years now. We met at the local airport in Lagos actually. I was travelling to Taraba State for my youth service programme and my husband happened to be a friend's brother and he came to drop his sister at the airport. We were all together waiting for our flight and I think he was also travelling to the United States the second day.
I wasn't happy travelling to Taraba and I was really complaining. When my friend came, she introduced him to me and we got talking while waiting for our flight and we exchanged numbers.
He left for the US the second day but kept calling me to know how I was coping and we became friends and from there, we got married.
What was the attraction?
He is very intelligent and I respect that a lot and that was why I liked talking to him on the phone.
The movie industry is enmeshed in series of sexual allegations, there is this term they use; 'script for hand, back for ground'. Were you at any time a victim of this?
Sexual harrassment? Maybe I'm so fortunate. I've heard about it but it has never for once happened to me. Those people that claim they are victims of sexual harassment should be checked very well. You will be surprised to find out that some of our ladies trade their bodies for cheap roles.
They go out with marketers, sleep with directors and producers to get roles in movies, to me it is not worth it!If you are good, you will always get good roles and good payment. When I heard stories of sexual harrassment, I will tell the people to check the lady in question first, because men are not crazy or stupid, its how you present yourself. And to producers and directors who are into sexual harrassment, my advise to them is to have the fear of God.
You have a glowing skin, do you have any beauty routine you observe?
When it comes to beauty routine, I'm a bad observer. I always forget to wash my face most nights before I go to bed. I try as much as possible to have my bath in the morning and at night, I don't put any harsh cream on my body.
Do you court local or foreign designers?
I have so many people that make my clothes in Nigeria and when I travel abroad, I like Next, Hawes and Curtis, quite a number of high street clothings.
What of your perfumes?
I use Chanel.
I don't go on high heels, I love sandals, slippers and flat shoes.
What have you been doing lately about your career?
I've been promoting my new movie entitled: Demilade. I just returned from the premiere in London, it was a huge success and Saheed Osupa performed and it was very fantastic.
The movie is about womenfolk and how they contribute to the society and I believe, its a must watch. I also have another one, Omolara, which preaches against domestic violence and how to stop that, the third one I'm promoting is, Ise-Ileke.