DISCUSS MY BOYFRIEND WITH YOU...NO WAY — BIMBO AKINTOLA
Bimbo Akintola is one of Nollywood's most versatile character. This third child of an Oyo State family of six holds a diploma and first degree in Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan.
Her versatility is evident in the different roles she plays in her movies. Recently this alluring actress
Bimbo Akintola alongside some other notable artists like Ekpeyong Bassey and Fred Amata featured in Freedom in Chains which is a collaboration between United Nations Population Fund and Nollywood Concepts Promotion- a company founded by Bond Emeruah, Fred Amata, Keppy Ekpeyoung Bassey, Iyen Agbonifo, Sani Mu'azu, Rekia Atta and pretty-faced Bimbo Akintola.
In this chat with Funmi Johnson, she speaks about her relationship, her passion for acting, the price she pays for stardom.
What has been happening to you in recent times?
We have our film Freedom in Chains out. It is a collaboration we did with UNFPA; a branch of the United Nations. And we had the premiere in Abuja about three weeks ago.
How have you been enjoying the industry?
Like every other thing in life, there are the ups and downs.
Can you share some of these ups and downs?
Getting good scripts, featuring in good movies that are properly directed. And then being a part of good shootings like Freedom in Chains, Out of Bounds, Diamond Ring, these are my ups.
What is special about these movies you have mentioned?
Everything about them is special. The scripts are well written and the directing fantastic. Everything about the films is good and they are the sort you will even tell people about before coming out because you are proud of what you have done.
Does that mean it's not every movie you play in that you like the role?
Of course not.
Simply put, some of the scripts are not as challenging and detailed as you want. I'm a professional and as we do it for the passion and the love that we have for the art, we also do it because we have to put food on the table. We need to eat, so sometimes when scripts that are not so fantastic come your way, because you know you have to put food on the table you work.
Being an actress, are there not things you can do to effect a change in this regard?
Of course there is and we have. That is why we (consisting of myself, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey, Fred Amata, Bond Emeruah, Inyang Agbonifo, Rekia Attah and Sanni Muazo) came together to form our own company called: Nollywood Concept Promotion. And we've started work already.
What exactly have you put in place to effect the change?
We started by saying; “This is our deal for movies. This is how we think the Nollywood movie should look like” and then we have done our movie which we titled Freedom in Chains.
How challenging was it?
We went to Calabar to shoot, so there were lots of challenges considering the fact that Calabar does not have much of film culture because they don't shoot Nollywood films there. So we had to start from the scratch.
With all you have said about Nollywood, if you personally have a chance to effect any change in the industry, what will it be?
I will bring in more government participation and also get the business community more involved because that is only just starting. UBA has done something with AMAA; ECO Bank did the N50m funding with Fred Amata, Zeb Ejiro and Fidelis Duker. I want more from the corporate sector because that is the only way this industry can grow.
By the way, how did you get into the movie industry?
I have always wanted to act and besides, I studied Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan. While I was in school, a friend of mine came to me that Lola Fani-Kayode was shooting a soap and she said we should go for the audition to see if we will get a part. And so I went and I got a part.
What was the title of the soap?
Apart from acting, what else do you do?
I am a producer.
So you don't sing or do something else?
No, I don't sing professionally, I sing in my bathroom.
How do you care for this radiant looking skin?
If I tell you that I do not do anything fantastic, you will not believe it. I believe in black soap and sheer butter.
How do you use them?
You mix your soap and then you do treatment with sheer butter. Cover yourself all over with sheer butter for about thirty minutes before having your bath, may be once a week.
I don't do all that.
Is there any special man in your life right now?
Dream on. If you think I am going to discuss my boyfriend with you, you are a dreamer.
Does this dream man represent all that you want in a man?
Yeah. He is tall, dark, handsome, intelligent, educated, hardworking, nice, truthful and with a good sense of humour.
And when are you going to the altar with him?
When God says so.
Does he watch your movies?
I'm sure he does.
How does he feel when he sees you kissed in a movie?
Do you see me kissing in films? I'm a bush Ibadan girl from Oyo State. I don't kiss; I only peck. Butm he is okay with all that. He understands it's acting and not reality.
Is he in the movie industry?
Of course not!
How do you feel when you watch yourself in movies?
Traumatized. Because all I see are the things I could have done better.
How do you feel when you walk on the street and your fans walk up to you in admiration?
For me, it shows that they appreciate what I am doing and that I am doing a good job, so I am happy about it. But I am not happy when they beg me for money. All the boys that sell on the street, all the petrol attendants, everyone just decide that because you are acting, you must give them something.
They always have this thought that 'I buy your movies' so you must give them something each time you see them. I think it's not funny at all. But I appreciate being appreciated by people.
What is it about stardom that you do not like?
The fact that you asked me about my boyfriend when it is none of your business. The fact that you do not have a private life.
Everybody wants to know what you are doing and they keep forgetting that you are a human being first and that what you do is your profession. Once the doctors leave the hospital, they go home, they relax and they are themselves.
So when you are out and not working, when you are not in front of the camera or on stage, you want to be yourself, you want to be normal like everybody else.
How real is sexual harassment in Nollywood?
I will not agree that it exists because nobody has walked up to me to tell me they have been sexually harassed, neither has it happened to me personally.
So you have never been sexually harassed?
Who will dare harass me sexually. Once you get to a level in this industry, you don't go for auditions anymore.
They send you scripts and say, 'please come and do this job for us. Come and play this character.' So who is going to say, 'I can not give you the deal unless you sleep with me' after sending me the script?
That is ridiculous. I don't know if it has happened to other people but it has not happened to me. And whenever it does, I will be the first person to scream it.
Have you had any embarrassing moment on the job?
I get loads and loads of embarrassing moments. I tend to lose or gain weight depending on what I am doing that is if I am exercising or not eating well.
One time I went to Sweet Sensation to buy some stuffs and I had added a lot of weight then. One man saw me and hit me on the back saying 'Bimbo Akintola, why are you so fat?'
That was very embarrassing. I find it very embarrassing when people think that because you are an actress, they have the right to talk about your weight as if they are your personal friend or family.
Do you think your figure limits your chances for roles in movies?
Being fat or being skinny has nothing to do with getting roles in Nollywood. Check out the actresses. You have the skinny and you have the plump ones; all big and able bodied African women.
This is Africa. This is not Hollywood; this is Nollywood. We used to be primarily full figured African women, but now, all that is changing. I think we are imbibing too much of Hollywood into this as opposed to remembering who we are and where we are from.
How can you blame people for wanting to be skinny nowadays. Every magazine you open, you find skinny women there.
Every show you watch on TV, it is about skinny women. Everything you work on, you see skinny this, skinny that. But I don't think that has anything to do with getting roles in Nollywood.
Do you have mood swings?
Yes, everybody has mood swings. You are not happy every-time; you have your sad moments. I think that also comes with being an artiste because we tend to be more in tune with our emotional sides. I love buka foods, I eat in buka as long as you serve good food. I also love Chinese, Indian and Italian food.
I am not crazy about designers. I have them but I never get to remember their names. I see something, I buy it and use it not because it is a designer but because it is nice and I like it.
So how do you take care of this endowment (breast) God has given you?
Is there any other way of taking care of your chest apart from wearing brassier? I take care of it by wearing brassier. I have had this chest since I was fourteen. In my house, at thirteen, all the women tend to grow tall and full out. At fourteen, I became this height and I grew breast and hips.
There is nothing about my body that I do not like because I've realized that my body is the work of God.