By NKECHI CHIMA ONYELE, Abuja
Twenty-three-years-old actress, Maryam Booth aka Dijangala has her finger in many pies. Aside being a popular Kannywood actress, she is also the CEO of Mbooths Beauty Palour, a brand ambassador, model, fashion designer, makeup artiste and accessories dealer.
In this interview with Entertainer, Booth opens up on the stigma Kannywood actresses face and her heartbreaking experience among other issues.
When and how exactly did you start acting?
It was at age eight while my younger brother, Ahmed Booth started acting when he was three-months-old, and my mother, Zainab Musa Shareef Booth is also a veteran actress in Kannywood. There were lots of sacrifices which I attribute to my success today. As a northerner bred by Hausa Fulani parents, it wasn’t easy surviving as an actress as most northerners consider us immoral and indecent individuals. In addition, they don’t attach value to the girl child unlike other parts of Nigeria. However, passion, hard work and dedication was my driving force. In fact, l had terrible experiences as an actress at the beginning of my career but I have conquered every one of them.
You said northerners consider actresses as immoral and indecent people. Has it in any way affected your love life or prospective husband?
Honestly, it was a serious stigma. Once you are introduced as an actress, the perception is like ‘ha! She is an actress, no, they are prostitutes and wayward girls.’ Indeed, it was a huge challenge but presently, the notion is different; they have begun to treat us with respect and acceptance. Now they crave to see us and the reception is applaudable. Kannywood actresses no longer lose their suitors to acting.
How did this stigma affect your love life?
We have suffered emotional trauma because we chose acting. Virtually, every actress was affected when we started Kannywood, but the case is different now. And talking about my story, I dated a guy for five years. I had to wait for him to finish his education. Unfortunately, his family objected to our marriage with the heartbreaking excuse that ‘our son can’t marry an actress!’ I was over 18 years then.
How did that make you feel?
I was heartbroken watching my first love walk away with avoidable excuses. I had to watch helplessly as he got married to another lady.
Was there no way of resolving the issues?
Honestly, I can’t choose a man over my career; acting is my family business. Though, it was a desolating moment of my life, I don’t have any regret losing my first love. Again, you can’t change destiny because our creator knows the best for everyone. And I strongly believe every individual is created to accomplish destiny.
Aside the earlier stigma faced in Kannywood, what additional challenges did you encounter on your journey to stardom?
In Kano or any part of northerner Nigeria, we spend more when shopping. Market women and retailers increase their prices simply because we are celebrities.
Your mother is an actress, while your younger brother is an actor…
Acting is part of my family life; my younger brother is over 10 years and he is an actor and musician. My success in Kannywood should be attributed to my amiable aunt, Bello Mohammed, who introduced me into the industry.
You have acted numerous roles alongside your mother, which is most memorable?
I have played lots of roles with my mum but I admired playing her step-daughter where she maltreated me, which is actually the opposite in reality.
Apart from acting, what else do you do?
I am the CEO of Mbooths Beauty Parlour, a makeup artiste, a fashion designer and accessories dealer.
People have different perception of love especially after experiencing heartbreak. Would you say your experience made you a better person or a bitter fellow?
Sincerely, it made me a stronger and better individual.
Have you found love?
No! honestly, I’m not in haste to go into relationship or marriage.
Are you scared of dating or are you saying that despite your beauty men are not chasing you?
Actually, I have been heartbroken in different relationships and issues always rise from the men after I sacrifice everything.
Would it be right to say love has not been fair to you?
Yes! Love has not been fair with all my dedication to love.
Are you willing to give love another trial?
Honestly, I am scared of men; they are full of deceit. It is only self-love that has kept me going in life.
What about accepting marital proposal from a man ready to walk down the aisle?
It is not advisable to marry without dating. How do you explain his character or personality? I would rather marry a man who genuinely loves me; it is not just about paying my bride price but staying married for eternity is also very important.
Could you describe your ideal man?
A man who appreciates my family, is tolerant, honest, romantic, and above all, a respectful man because respect is reciprocal.