BIMBO : Shola Shobowale gave me first opportunity

Bimbo Akintola is an actress who is passionate about her career. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she opens up on her early life, juggling studies with her first productions, initial challenges, motivation , a super mum and more.

MANY artists have been working online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. How are you coping?

I like to say that I am a Dinosaur, so all this online and Social Media things are not really my forte. But I am trying my best.

We have gone back to work now. In all honesty, I have shot one film already and we are just taking it in portions. We are constantly washing our hands, we are using sanitizers. All the crew members are using masks. We are not doing romantic scenes, and we are doing tests.

What are some of the Memorable moments in the sector?

Memorable moments for me, would be about the characters that I have played. And I think that some of the most memorable characters that I have played would be Doctor Adadevoh 93 days, the Widows in Mourning After, Out of Bounds and Adetutu.

Those are some of my memorable moments. For me, memorable moments is about the works that I have been able to do. They are my creative Memorable moments.

You produced, directed and starred in the Soap; Circle of three. How would you describe the experience?

It was exciting. It was the first serial that I produced and I was so excited about it. And the story was also my story, a story I wanted to be told because I think for a lot of the single women in Nigeria, there is a lot of pressure that is put upon them to get married.

And because of this pressure, they make so many mistakes. I thought it was important that we tell the society that, yes, you want everyone to get married but you don’t have to put so much pressure on the women.

bimbo akintola
bimbo akintola

Let’s stop putting the pressure so that they can make the right choices. And that was what that was about. It was a fantastic experience. Ireti Doyle would always be  one of my fantastic actors.

She is such a receptive actor. She hears what you say, because I also directed it. She hears you and gives you exactly what you want. She was one of those that made the experience amazing for me. I don’t think that I would ever forget the Circle of three.

What motivated you to study Theater Arts?

I studied Theater Art’s because I wanted to be an actor. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else with my life.I knew that acting was the main passion, my main passion. I like singing, like so many other things but my main passion is acting. And I thought that it was important, if you want to do something, for you to go and study it. So, I went to school, University of Ibadan where I studied Theater Art’s. I majored in Acting, Mime and Stage.

Let’s compare when you started acting and now. What are some of the changes?

There are so many changes because the industry is much larger than it was and when that happens, it is growth. And one thing that is constant is change and the industry is evolving. It is still evolving.

Now, we have Cinemas; let’s call it Box office, even though we need more to make it a box office.

And we also have online Television. There are so many other platforms that are available and we have better equipment. Oh goodness, I remember those days, the lights, the red heads used to be horrible. You would be dying of sweat because they cannot put on the air conditioner because of the microphone, the sound will disturb the shoot.

So, we will be in a tiny room (Laughs) with so many people, no ventilation because everything is shut- up, the lights burning. You are trying hard not to sweat but at the same time thinking of a believable characterisation. But now things are so much different, we even record with the air conditioner on. Also there is an advent of Cinemas. We have Cinemas all over, online platforms and satellite TVs. So, it’s amazing that there are lots of changes in the industry.

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Let’s compare when you started acting and now. What are some of the changes?

Life before acting was normal. You have to understand that I started acting just as I entered the university. So, I think most of my adult life has been so an actor because when I entered, University of Ibadan, I shot ‘Owo blow’. I did a diploma in theater arts first before my degree.

So, my first year in diploma class was when I shot ‘Owo blow’, Out of Bounds and the Gardener. Life before acting therefore was when I was a child.

My adult life has always been about acting. I was studying and working at the same time.

What was life like before acting?

Growing up in Lagos was amazing. I went to Maryland Convent Private School. I also went to Command day secondary school. My childhood was great; my mum is an amazing mother. She was always there. I know that my mum would close her office at the same time that we close school for after school lessons. So, she was always there, my growing up was amazing.

We were like a unit, my sisters, my brothers and my mum. My father was a Customs officer and his job took him to places. So, he wasn’t as much a part of that unit, but he was also there. So, growing up for me was amazing. I had a beautiful childhood.

What are the things that keep you going in a sector that is highly competitive?

For me, this is the only sector I can be. I believe that you should be passionate about what you do. This is the only thing that I am passionate about. Acting now producing, sometimes directing, which is still in the same industry.

I am one of those people living by their passion. If I didn’t, I don’t think I would be doing well as a person. So, for me I don’t look at it as competitive or anything. I just look at it as the only thing I can possibly do and I do my best.

What are the other things that occupy your time?

I am very much a home buddy, I am sure a lot of people don’t know that. When I am not working, I am usually at home and I love to cook. Cooking is one of my favorites. I think if I am not an actor, I would be a chef.

I love to cook and I love the texture of food. I also like to read, I read a lot. I am one of those people that is constantly reading. I read novels, poetry and sometimes I write. Even though I haven’t written anything in the last three or four years.  But I write poetry, which is for me, myself and I.

Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life and career?

In all honesty, it will be my mother because while growing up, I saw my mum as a super woman. My mum did it all and she did it with such ease and class.

Raising six children could not have been easier. I cannot imagine raising 6 children. I will not do it. In all honesty, I can’t. But my mom made it look easy. She had time for each and everyone of us. I don’t know how she managed it, considering that she was a child when she got married. Career wise, my mum was always a great support.

Joke Silva was another support and another influence in my life. And there is also Aunty Shola Shobowale, she was the first person to put me on the stage without the act.

She had a fashion house then and I was one of her models. I can never forget, then I was so uncomfortable, it was out of my comfort zone. But she trained all of us,so we were all feeling like we can do anything. That was such an amazing experience. Thank you auntie Shola Shobowale, I love you so much and auntie Joke Silva.

What lessons has life taught you?

That if you don’t take charge of your life, then you won’t have a life. You have to take charge, you get to a point where you get to as an adult, that every action you take has consequences and that if you want something, you need to plan and work towards it. So, that is the lesson that I have learnt from life. That you must work towards what you want and give it your all.

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If you had to advise young people who want to go into the sector, what would you tell them?

Enjoy your youth. If you are interested or passionate about anything, then make sure you get the proper training and always put a hundred percent into whatever you are doing.

There is no need to live, if you are not going to live life to it’s fullest. So, whatever you do, always do with your heart, a hundred percent.

Do you have some of them that you are mentoring?

I do that a lot. I think sometimes, I overdo it. I am constantly helping people on set, whether they ask for my help or not. In fact, I am aunty aproko.

Sometimes, when you are doing something, I will tell you that you can do it this way. Some people appreciate it, I hope all of them appreciate it but I can’t help but give my support.

What are the things that you won’t do in the name of fashion?

I am not a very fashionable person or a fashion conscious person. So, there is a lot that I won’t do in the name of fashion. Basically, like I said before, I think fashion should be comfort. Except you are going for Grammy, AMAA or one of those awards. That is how I feel, my style.

What are the things that you cherish most in life?

The things I cherish most in life would be family, friendships, the friends of the family you chose. Peace of mind is the most important and work. Those are the things that I cherish.

How do you relax?

Relaxation is easy. Cooking relax me. I love to cook, try new menu’s. I love the texture of food. The fact that you add this spice or that to it changes the taste or highlight it.

Another thing that relaxes me is reading. I am constantly reading. That is my favourite past time. Watching TV is also a point of relaxation for me.

Your favorite travel destination?

I don’t have a favourite travel

destination. I think traveling itself and being able to do what I do just relaxes me for a few days. The idea of just being able to say bye to Nigeria for a few days is good. As much as I love this country, we all realise that there are so many things that are wrong. Having constant electricity, good roads, those things are important.

So, for me travelling is fantasy, just leaving the reality for a short period and going into fantasy. It’s all about fun. I can forget about my responsibilities for a short period. But, it is not really true; you can imagine the bills for the two weeks.

What type of books do you like to read?

I read romance, fantasy, historical romance, drama, who dun nit. Ted Decker is one of my favourite writers

Tell us what you consider as the turning point in your career?

The turning point in my career was when I started TV. I was mostly doing stage and I was still a student.

I am a stage person, through and through but also the ease with which you are able to tell a story on Television. Being open to TV and understanding how to use that medium to communicate with other people, viewers.

Source: The Street Journal

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