By AYO ONIKOYI & Juliet Ebirim
MAYBE Halima Abubakar isn’t the saintly type but the sexy actress has proved times without number that she is, most often than not, on the level, when she’s put on the spot. Juliet Ebirim ran into her at Iyabo Ojo’s beauty shop opening on Sunday and a conversation ensued, as usual on a variety of issues:
HOW would you describe yourself?
Simple, the girl next door.
What are some of the movies you’ve featured in?
Cloud of Pain, Desperate Girls, Shadows and so on. There are a lot of them, I don’t have them all in my head right now, a lot of things in my head.
Apart from acting, what else do you do?
I’m a businesswoman, a philanthropist and a student of life; I’ll say that’s quite a lot of work.
What are some memorable moments or high points in your career?
Any time I have a script to work on, whenever I receive an award or acknowledgement from people who genuinely like what I do, I feel really connected. I feel proud and happy.
Do you have any regret?
Every step in every single aspect of my life has been part of a journey, so I won’t say I regret this or that. I’m just going to say I am grateful to be here.
What are some challenges you encountered in the course of your career?
Before you go into anything in life, you have to go through a process and that process brings fruitfulness. So I’m going to say being able to go through all the stress and coming out smiling is one of the greatest gift in life. To be able to do something and say “Oh my God, I can’t believe I just did that” has been my joy.
So the experience so far has been worthwhile?
To an extent, yes. Being alive has been worthwhile. I shouldn’t say something that will make God angry, should I? (Laughs) God brought us here for a reason. So I just live my life – the girl-next-door.
What can you say about sexual harassment in the movie industry, and has it ever happened to you?
Won’t I be lying if I say nobody has harassed me? I’m a lady. It’s totally untrue when people say they’ve never been harassed.
How were you able to scale through?
It might come in the form of “toasting”. I wasn’t “blocked” now. While some will just tell you to your face. As a woman you have to respect yourself and set boundaries regardless of what people think. Some people think that sleeping with someone will give them what they’re looking for, but it doesn’t. That’s the way I see life. You are not supposed to do anything (sleep with someone).
So what I do is, I look at the person’s face and tell him this is wrong, because I’m sure that aside from me, he will harass another person. The only easy way is to disgrace the person so that he will be shy to do that to the next person.
You mean you disgrace the person?
Of course . My dear, I’m not there to joke, neither am I there to be rude to anybody. But you know, you meet some very rude people that don’t know how to talk. So when you meet such people, you just give it back to them. You raise your voice and embarrass them, they won’t try it again.
Do you have a unique physical attribute that has really helped in projecting you?
No, I don’t. None.
Would you act nude for any reason?
Have you dated anyone in the industry?
Definitely. Am I a child? I have and I’m not lying about it.
You are a businesswoman, what kind of business are you into?
I’m a farmer. I’m into poultry and the regular cropping. I have cattle, sheep, lots of chicken, eggs, apples, yams and so on.
Who do you draw inspiration from?
I just pray. I don’t draw inspiration from anyone.
Don’t you have role models?
Well, I love Angelina Jolie because of how wonderful her heart is. She’s human and I see her as flawless. She’s one person I look up to. In Nollywood, I admire a lot of people.
Are you in any serious relationship at the moment?
I’m not interested in that question.
Can anyone or anything make you stop acting?
Yes, I won’t act forever. I ‘ll go behind the cameras. I’m not one of those actors that will say I’m good in every way or that I must be in every movie that I produce. I don’t have to be. I’ll take the free time I have when I’m free.
What advice do you have for aspiring stars?
They shouldn’t be swayed by what they see on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or what they think people’s lives are like or that people’s lives are secure. These things deceive a lot. I don’t want them to be like ‘I saw this lady driving this—, this is what I want.’
No, if it is real, you have to work towards it. I don’t believe in being in a hurry to get anything. Yes, it took me twelve years, but it doesn’t have to be that for you. I don’t want them to regret it, when they look back at their lives.
As young people, I want them to be proud of who they left behind and who they are becoming.