Below is an interesting interview Halima Abubakar had with The Nation recently.
Was it easy for you to come all the way from the north of the country to Lagos to break into Nollywood?
Never! It was not easy to do. It took me almost 10 years of my life. I have been acting for probably 15 years now. I was a child, I was very young, I was in JSS 3. For the first three years of life in Nollywood, I shot only two movies and there was no line. That is what is called ‘waka pass’.
That is the testimony that I have. So when people keep talking trash about me, I just say they do not know what they are talking about. Most often they don’t know me; they are talking based on gossip on social media, or what they are reading online. But that is not me. People should just live their lives and stop being a fake. Must I paint my face, pose and take pictures and paste on social media?
Before the arrival of social media, weren’t we living? The funny part is that men don’t even care if you have a particular brand of lipstick on.
We keep spending N6,000 on a particular brand of lipstick, yet men don’t even notice it. But your fellow woman will sit down somewhere and start saying, ‘Oh my God, is that this or that?’ I keep saying that some women dress for their fellow women not for men.
That’s because men just look at probably your shoes, wrist watch or your handbag or hair style. Though every man has what he looks at, but most often it is the way you talk, your intelligence. Most often, not even your shoes, unless he owns a boutique and he is thinking of selling his shoes or your hair, if he sells weave-on. That’s because men just look probably at your shoes.
How about make-up, what does it mean to you?
I don’t care about make-up, I’m sorry to say, I actually call it painting of face (laughs). If i am not really doing something special, I do not bother about make-up.
I don’t think men are really interested in knowing who made your shoes. A man that asks me the name of my shoes, is not likely to get my attention. But if a man buys shoes and gives me, I will take it.
So indirectly are saying you that you are not a vain person?
Oh no, I am not materialistic. I am just a local Igbirra girl who works very hard to polish and establish herself, a part northerner who has been able to catch the attention of not just Africa but the attention of people outside Africa too through Nollywood. When I travel abroad, a lot of people recognise me.
Not in Hollywood because I am not a Hollywood actress, but recognised abroad by those who watch African movies. I have been in America and the United Kingdom to receive awards so without hard work, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve all that. So I am just myself, I am natural; I do not try to please anybody.
What appeals to you most?
Being natural, real and being truthful.
Do you cook?
Of course I do. I used to pound yam until my muscles started developing and I started reducing in height because I had pounded too much yam (laughs).
So, I stopped pounding yam. My best soup used to be beans soup but these days, I do more of vegetable soup. I only cook on special occasions these days.
Would you say you are rich?
Not at all, there are some other people who are more comfortable. Sometimes I do get broke, and I ask people for money and u know how we Nigerians are, they reply you ‘Oh I don’t have money for now’. So to avoid that, I try to safe for such rainy days.
If you were not an actor, what else would you have loved to be?
I would have loved to be a lawyer or work in an embassy so I can make visa available to a lot of people who want to go and party, since they love partying and love seeing places so much.
So when they have seen enough, they will come back. I would have loved to be an interpreter of languages. Also I would have loved to be a mediator among countries working with the UN.
What about education?
I have a degree in Sociology from Ado Bayero University, and then also I have a Diploma I was in Federal College of Education, Kano.
I have post graduate in management and computer science. I also make sure that I educate myself on things going on around me.
Don’t you feel that you may be intimidating to a man?
Well, that will be the man’s business because I didn’t tell such a man not to go to school, or have a library; I cannot afford not to be myself because of a man who feels intimidated by me.
A man should even be happy to encourage me. Any man that is intimidated by a lady is not a man. I have, however, learnt to be tolerant of people. I have learnt to ignore a lot of side talks; I have learnt to be patient with a lot of people, because I have a temper which I have learnt to control. I am working on myself. Also because of the way that I have been treated in the past by people, I really do not value friendship. I am trying hard to know people and that’s where patience comes in.
I am still trying to open up; I hope I will be able to do that with a man that I hope to spend the rest of my life with. I do not want a man that I will spend just one year with and he’s gone. I don’t want a man that will make me pop out babies, then he will go clubbing.
I will drag his hair to the house! I’ve had anger in the past, so it’s easy to piss me off and it’s easy for me to forgive. I don’t react; at the same time I’m not a robot, so I am bound to react once in a while.
I find time to rest, sometimes I do not sleep for two days when I’m shooting a movie. I’m busy when I’m not I watching movies and rest. I write scripts, I do a lot of things with my head. I have not travelled in a year but will travel soon.
People say you are well endowed, so which part of your body do you value most?
I will say that will be my brain, that is because I really do not see what they see, when they keep saying that I am endowed and I am endowed.
People keep saying that I am well endowed, good, but there are other people who are better endowed than me. I am, however, humbled and grateful when I hear such remarks.
How about marriage?
Marriage will come when it will come. You don’t rush it. It is one of the few things that one does not need to rush. Marriage is not a movie that one has to rush. You do not marry because the public wants you to get married. You do not marry because you are getting old, you do not marry because you are too young. You get married when it’s the right time. You get married when you meet the right man, when you know that it is okay and the man too is okay. And you are sure that you are going to have a fine, peaceful marriage.
But there are guys in the movie industry, haven’t they been approaching you with subtle marital proposals?
Well, you do not get married because you are in Nollywood or because people there are proposing. Moreover I do not encourage people to date where they work.
Does that also mean that you are not likely to marry an actor?
I will definitely not marry an actor.
You seem to be giving us a different picture about your background here. At least some people had the impression that you come from a privileged background.
Yes, it’s true; I had a privileged background until Savannah bank where my father worked for 26 years was closed down. His money, everything was taken away; without a conscience, they took away our food. Well I thank the bank because they made me a star today!
How did that happen?
I had to find my way into Nollywood and then came down to Lagos to look for job and help my family out of poverty. But if Savannah bank ever comes back, they should be ready to pay back my daddy’s money.
He was a manager in the bank for all of 26 years in Kaduna, Katsina, we were going all over the place as he was moved from place to place for his work. Suddenly, Savannah bank was locked up. I was much younger then. I was still in school.
I had to leave Katsina with my family. My dad worked at other places after then, but it was in Savannah bank that he had his locked up investment. Now I do not advise people to save money in the bank where they work because anything can happen.
Better to spread your money in other banks apart from where you work so that people do not suddenly make your family’s life miserable.
But if your dad was a bank manager for that long, he was really comfortable and would have had some properties…
You mean the house and all such? We had to sell those off to get money. Thank God that we didn’t have to go into prostitution. Again, we were even too young then to know what prostitution was. This kind of thing is what makes good people turn wicked. That’s because we were really affected and I have pains to show for it.
But did your dad ever recover?
Well, he eventually did. And I had to help out too. Now he has a beautiful farm in Lokoja, where he is doing well. That has always been his dream. And my mom is retired. Mom left Kano when my dad left. You know wherever the man goes, his woman has to follow. Right now they are in Lokoja where we have our family home.