Act Nude? I won’t even do so in a swim suit — Benazir Abdulrahman
Benazir Abdulrahman may just be the next best thing to come from Kogi, the home State of actress Mercy Johnson. For this new actress who has featured in a few other flicks since she made debut in the epic movie, Lord of Marriage, trading sex for a movie role smacks of irresponsibility.
In this interview with Bridget Amaregbu, the sultry actress who disclosed that no amount of money will make her act nude in a movie said even the offer of acting in a swim suit will be rebuffed. She tells her story.
Cool evening breeze, how do you feel in this weather?
I'm fine. Sometimes I really pray that this kind of weather is permanent, it's cool and I thank God.
At what point in your life did you realise you could act?
I picked interest in acting six years ago when I was still in the secondary school. The person who really inspired me most was Genevieve. I loved the way she handled all her roles. And every time I watch her movies, I'll be telling myself, I want to act like her.
How did your parents take it?
My Dad didn't take it lightly with me because he wanted me to graduate as a lawyer. And always I told him that acting wouldn't stop me from going to the university, but he saw me as someone who is not serious with her education. But my mum didn't have any problem with that as she knew the kind of daughter she has.
How did you get into acting?
I live in the same vicinity with Winnis Hotel in Surulere, and most of the producers and directors also. Some of them tell me that they'll like to cast me in their movie.
They started involving me in their movies, and I was happy because it was a dream come true. Since then I 've featured in several movies that include one epic movie titled, Lord of Marriage and another one titled, The Wicked.
Presently, we've just finished the filming of new flick titled, The Believer. As a child I've always known I could act and I'm happy that I've been given the opportunity to do so.
Do you watch your movies?
Yes, I do and I'm always surprised at what I see of myself in movies. Sometimes I find it difficult to believe I'm the person in the movie.
Have you ever taken up a romantic role in any movie?
No, not yet.
If you are given such role, will you take it?
It depends on how it goes. If I'll have to be nude then I don't think I can take it.
I believe I don't have to expose my body to entertain people, I can't even wear a swimming trunk to shoot a movie. Personally, I don't see any wrong in wearing swimming trunk if that is the character you are to depict....
First of all, I have a Muslim background. And as a Muslim, I know it's not right for me to do such and my parents will not take it lightly with me if I dare to do that. Though it's someone's character I'm taking, but at the end of the whole thing it's still me they'll see doing it, so I can't afford it.
What about playing a lesbian?
I can play a lesbian if I must not expose my body. I equally know that lesbianism has to do with caressing and touching, but I could do it if the pay is right.
Among the movies you've done, which one will you say is the best?
People have really said that I was on top of the game in, Lord of Marriage, and I believe it. So for now I think it is my best.
And which do you consider the most challenging?
I'll say it's The Wicked because I had to play the role of an underground security agent to get information from a guy. I pretended to be in love with him. Each time I watch that movie, I feel sorry for any person in such situation in real life.
Could you outline some of the challenges with being a movie star?
I see stealing my privacy as one of the challenges because I'm someone that likes hiding herself a lot. For instance, there was a day I went to Olodi-Apapa area and people were just shouting the name I played in a movie and following me about. Normally I don't feel embarrassed, but I see it as a challenge.
Did you have to make any sacrifices to get roles?
No, not at all. Although some producers tried to sleep with me before giving me roles, I didn't give in to their demands. I don't see acting as a do or die affair. I would have featured in a lot more movies, but sexual harassment from some producers stopped me. I look at it from the fact that if I'm not good enough to be cast in the movie.
Will you blame directors and producers involved in this dirty game?
I can not blame them because everything depends on the lady. If the lady decides to mess herself with them, that's her business. If you as a lady carries yourself well, they'll understand you are not in that 'boat of mess up'. I'll still applaud some of the producers who are good because it's not all of them that are bad.
I'll advise our ladies to please respect themselves and these people will equally respect them.
If you are asked to rate Nollywood, what percentage will you give?
I'll give the industry 90 percent. The industry has done well. It started from zero level and today it's a different story as you are well aware.
You are a very young and pretty girl, who is Benny?
I was born Benazir Abdulrahman, an indigene of Okene in Kogi State. I'm a part-time student of Lagos State Polytechnic studying Mass Communication.
I'm a very calm, accommodating and likeable person. I'm from a family of six children, one boy, five girls, and I'm the eldest. I had my secondary education in Abuja before I relocated to Lagos.
Why did you choose to study Mass Communication and not Theatre Arts?
Apart from being an actress I have dreamt of becoming a journalist, an internationally acclaimed reporter.
And what's your daily routine like?
I wake up as early as 5am, do some domestic work and I'm off to work because I must be in the office by 8am latest and I close at 6 p.m.
When I get home, I shower and relax my head. After that I go through some files if there's any, if not I watch movies.
What are the favourite things you do ?
I like watching movies and I love white colours.
Are you a designer freak?
Not really. I wear any fine thing that appeals to me whether designer or not. When I want to buy designer wear, I go for Doke & Gabbana or Gucci.
And do you like perfumes and jeweleries?
Lots of them. I wear designer perfumes like CKU, Doke and Gabbana, Jennifer Lopez, Safari etc. For jewelleries I love silver colours most.
Do you have any role model?
My mum remains my only role model.
You are pretty so who is the lucky chap?
Right now, I have a fiancée who is an international dancer.
And how will you describe your dream man?
He should be a straight forward, caring and very generous man. Above all, he must be tall and handsome.
How soon are you walking down aisle with him?
No. I'm not ready for that now.
By Bridget Amaregbu