By Juliet Ebirim
Since hitting the limelight in a big way with ‘Out of Bounds” alongside RMD in the 90s, Bimbo Akintola has become a big name who does things in a big way. You don’t approach her with your scripts unless you have big plans about it. Controversial, some might say, but Bimbo describes herself as easy-going but definitely not when falsehoods have been peddled about her as a story running wide that she is in desperate need of a husband.
She ran into our reporter on Boxing Day in Lekki where she was part of the humanitarian institution who put together an Xmas party for some orphanages. There, she opens up on several issues concerning her. Excerpts:
Why did you decide to party with the kids?
Heart of Gold Hospice, that’s why. There was Compassionate Children’s Home, there was Heart of Gold Hospice and one other one here today. But it’s actually because of Heart of Gold, I go to Heart of Gold on and off. I have been going there over the years and it’s heartbreaking when you go there and you see those children, it’s not just a regular orphanage, it’s a hospice. And what Aunty, the woman who runs the place does is that she makes sure they get the surgery they need to stay alive. It’s amazing, you need to go there and see for yourself what it’s all about.
What do you hope to achieve at the end of the day?
What I want to do at the end of the day is to raise money for this orphanages, especially the hospice, they need money because these children go for surgeries regularly, you can see that some of the children that came here today have special needs.
You are doing more of Yoruba movies these days than English movies compared to your early days in acting, why is that so?
I do English movies when I see good scripts. Hoodrush was in the cinemas this year. Next year one or two will be in the cinemas.
Are you working on any project at the moment?
I just finished Golden Penny Pasta Children’s Kitchen, I anchored that. Right now, I’m on break, finally.
Besides acting, what else do you do?
I do all kinds of stuff. I anchor shows, I do contracts for documentaries and safety videos for companies. I do all kinds of stuff.
When did you actually start acting?
I can’t even remember. I’m so old that I can’t remember. I think it’s almost twenty years.
What was the experience like, the first time you were on set?
I was too excited to feel anything else. I was just a bundle of excitement. For me, it was great fun.
What motivated you to go into acting?
That’s what I’ve always wanted to do with my life, especially when I realised that it could be a profession. I went to the University of Ibadan and studied Theatre Arts and then I started acting.
How did you start?
While I was at school, I used to do stage plays and then a friend of mine said, “Oh, Ola Fanni Kayode is doing a serial on TV” and I should look in for someone to take a particular part and I said “Okay, I’ll go for the audition”, and so I went for the audition, if you could call it an audition, because I went, saw her, talked to her and she was like “The part is yours”. That was it. That was how I started.
So far, how has the experience been?
It’s been good and bad. I’m doing what I’m passionate about, what I like doing, so that gives a lot of joy and happiness. But one of the things I find most damaging about being an actor is the press, I have to say it. It’s like they have no idea about how damaging some of the things they write about people can be.
There are a lot of things happening in the industry, if you want to write stories, write the truth, don’t go forming stories or listen to someone’s stupid idea that has no root in reality and put it in the paper as front page news. I think that’s the most irresponsible action anyone can take. You should know that some of these things do affect people’s lives.
I’m lucky in the sense that my family understands that my work is different from me. They understand that I don’t listen to gossips and I call anything that is written without a foundation of truth, gossip – total gossip! My friends understand, people who know me understand the kind of person I am, so they don’t even talk to me about such things when they read about it on paper, and I’m lucky in that regard.
But I know my colleagues who have been adversely affected by some of the things that have been printed about them all in the name of selling their papers. You want to sell your papers and forget that human lives are more important than making money. It’s the height of ridicule.
That’s the worst part of being an actor. For me, I believe the press and actors have a role to play in each other’s lives. The stories you write are about us, we are there for you as well, because we need you when we are doing stuffs that is important to us for publicity. It should be a symbiotic relationship, we are supposed to feed from each other. But when you have people out there who are out to damage you, you don’t want to work with them.
So,what is the worst rumour you’ve heard about yourself?
Oh, that I’m looking for a husband, that I’m desperate for a husband. That’s the worst I’ve heard and that’s the latest one. I’m not looking for a husband and I don’t need one.
You don’t need one?
I don’t need anything. I’m a complete person. I only do things that make me happy, because I believe and I understand the reality that this is just one life and you should live it to the maximum, happiness and peace should be the key. I’m not searching for a husband, because the rumour that I’m searching for a husband has given me wahala,- all kinds of people from left, right and centre, looking for me saying they want to marry me. Please, I’m using this opportunity to tell everybody, I am not looking for a husband!
Can you name some of the awards you’ve received?
Oh, my God! They are so many, most of them are from organisations here and there.
How do you handle your fans?
I love my fans, without my fans who would I be? Nobody! The fans make you who you are. It’s because they find something in you that they like, that they clique with, that’s why you’re in demand, that’s why you have such followership. So I am very humbled by my fans.
How would you describe your person?
I’m really very easy. I’m an easy-going person, everything about me is easy. I believe in certain things and I live my life by those things, namely; Truthfulness – It’s important to me, I believe we must have principles because that’s what differentiates us from animals. Kindness is very important, if you’re not kind, we can’t be friends.
It’s not just kindness to people who don’t have, it’s kindness to every human being that you meet. It is important, if we say we are God’s children and God is love and he sent his son to die for our sins, then we should at least try and emulate him in loving everyone that comes around us, by showing love to each and every one. Everyone that comes near you should be touched by you.
Are you fulfilled as an actress?
I am very fulfilled.
No regrets whatsoever. I’m doing what I want to do. I’m excited.
What’s your advice to aspiring actresses?
Please, if you want to be an actor, first and foremost, go to school, because that will show you if you have talent or not. Go try it out , go study Theatre Arts or Performing Arts. Go and major in acting. Get the basic background, so you know you have a lot more to say.
Are you in a relationship?
Yes, I am. But I don’t talk about my relationships.