YES! International Magazine Ceo AZUH ARINZE ran into her weeks back at the Akwa Ibom International Airport and couldn’t resist asking her for an impromptu chat which she gladly obliged.
Massively misunderstood, Bimbo has a good heart; she’s also very frank and always fun to be with…
Excerpts From YES! Magazine.
What makes a good actress?
Your ability to get into character, your ability to identify a character, understand the character and be the character.
What is your definition of acting?
Becoming somebody else for the purpose of telling a story.
Where do most actresses miss it?
I think they never really know who their characters are, they don’t understand who they are playing, because sometimes you get a script that doesn’t give you the background story of the character that you are playing. It is your duty as an actor to do the background story – where’s the person from? You can tell these things pretty easy. By the way the person speaks, you would know if they were educated. For the family background, you would know the kind of schools they went to – primary schools; this gives you an idea of the sort of circles that they moved in and the sort of person that they should be. But most people don’t think about it – the character. They don’t want to understand the character, they do not totally become the character.
What got you interested incting in the first place?
I think my sense of drama. I’ve always been a dramatic person, I love being the centre of attraction. For a long time I didn’t really think about acting as a profession, even though it was something I did on a regular basis. I put up performances at home, I sang, danced, disturbed everybody. It was when I was in secondary school I realized that really this is what I would love to do with my life.
You’ve been acting now for over a decade, what has sustained you?
The love for acting, because if I don’t have passion for acting I would have since quit.
What don’t you like about being an actress?
Everybody seems to think they have a right to talk about you at any point in time. I mean, we are Nigerians, we have a culture, we have traditions, we are a certain type of people, we are not oyibo, at the end of the day. And we are more concerned about other people’s feelings usually. But I notice that it’s like we’ve lost that or we don’t have it when it comes to our actors. We figure that because we watch them on TV all the time we own them. People don’t care if you have a bad day or a good day. When people come up to me and they say hi, I always smile and say hi back, because these are fans, these are people who have contributed immensely to my growth. Without them, where are you? No where! But you know, when you see pictures on the internet and the sort of comments people make, you start to wonder – is there a personal fight between them and this actor or not? Because some of the comments are unnecessary.
What do you like most about being an actress?
Being able to become somebody else for a short period and send a message across through the story.
What is the greatest thing that acting has done for you?
Hmmm! That’s a good question. I don’t think anybody has asked that. It’s the fulfillment of all my dreams. I think that’s the greatest thing that acting has been for me. It’s been a fulfillment of my professional dreams.
What has acting not done for you?
Hmmm! What has acting not done for me? It’s not made me a proper business person (Laughs), because you know, in Nigeria, we don’t have structures in place to safeguard actors.
What are the advantages of being a known face?
You do get recognition anywhere you go, people are sometimes happy to see you; it’s unbelievable the warmth that people extend to you on the road and sometimes people just say the most innocent things that make you so happy or makes your day and you are like oh, whaaooh! I mean, somebody walks up to you and says I bought a film that you were in – like when I did Widows, The Mourning After. Some woman saw me and said I went through that and watching the film got me to a point of self realization that I didn’t have to do all the things that they asked of me. And for me that was perfect. So, those are the things that make me happy about being an actor.
How about the ones that make you sad? The disadvantages…
The fact that everybody asks me for money (Raises voice). I don’t understand that. I buy your film, give me money. Why? Do they realize that I work? It’s a profession, it’s a job. Unfortunately, our medium is television, so we are seen everywhere. But it’s a job like being a banker, being a doctor. Do you see bankers and say give me money; I go to your bank, I have an account there so give me money or you tell a doctor, come, I use your hospital, give me money. But they do that to us. Everywhere you go – petrol stations, people on the streets, supermarkets, they ask for money.
Which of your movies do you have fond memories of? The one that anytime you remember, smile takes over your face…
(Laughing) – I’m thinking really hard. Let’s see which film. Several! Not one! I think Freedom in Chains, which we shot for a UNPA. That’s a branch of the United Nations and it was for propaganda to talk about the female child, female education and to stop early marriages, rape, child abuse, so many things. I mean, that’s one of the movies that I remember like that. Out of Bonds, The Gardner, Widows, The Mourning After. Yeah! Those movies.
A lot of negative stories have been written about you, which of them still pains you and which do you always remember?
I ignore it, sorry! I ignore it. And do you know why – I’m not as bad as people think.
Do you sometimes think about marriage?
Of course, I do. Like every human being on earth, I do. Marriage is such a huge step, it’s deep. Marriage is the relationship that is the most difficult of all relationships. If I can’t see someone and say oh, yeah, I wanna be with this person for the rest of my life or even think it, I won’t do it. I say that all the time and people say oh my God, she said she would never marry, I can’t believe it. That’s not what I’m saying (Voice rising). I’m simply saying if I don’t see someone that I believe I can look at for the rest of my life, I won’t do it.
So, what do you want in a man?
Someone that has principles, integrity, someone that’s kind, someone that’s funny, someone that’s clean (Chuckles). Very clean! Someone that’s compassionate. You see, it’s not about being tall, dark and handsome, it’s not about money. We would work for it together or whatever. My mum didn’t marry my father a rich man. So, I don’t put much emphasis on money.
it’s not about money or looks, it’s about your heart and your head. So, for me o, I have to be in the person’s heart and the person’s head. Intellect and you know, human feelings.