Shaffy Bello Akinrimisi is a woman of many parts. She’s not only a musician; she is also an actress making waves in Nollywood.
Shaffy stormed the music scene with a bang in 1997 when she featured in Seyi Sodimu’s popular song, Love Me Jeje. Since then, she has appeared in several English and Yoruba television series including movies such as Eti Keta, The Score, Tinsel, When Love Happens, Gbomo Gbomo Express, Taste of Love, It’s Her Day, Ovy’s Voice, Hire A Man, Battleground, Light Will Come, and Twisted Twins among others.
In this interview, Shaffy speaks on her plans of going back to music and reveals lessons life has taught her. Enjoy it.
You featured in Seyi Sodimu’s popular song, Love Me Jeje, how much of the Love Me Jeje do people get from you?
You still get a lot of love from me but it is the ‘jeje’ part that I don’t know. I am still who I am. I have grown as a person, professionally as a singer and actor. I think when you get older, you would get wiser and if you know better, you would do better. I have grown as a person and some things that I know about myself now, some things I am very sure of myself, some things that I know that I wouldn’t do again or some things that I know that I haven’t done; now a different person has evolved, but the true nature of who I am, and my character hasn’t changed.
Do you have any plans of going back to music?
Music is still part of me. It will never depart from me. It is a matter of finding that right time. I still have the nudge in my heart to still do something great about music, but there has to be time for it. It is not the time now.
Any other thing your fans should expect from you?
They should keep watching me. One of the things in an individual’s life is growth, and I think for every one, even if I should tell you that I am not doing music any more, in another year, I could decide that I want to do it again. One of the things I know as a human being is that you have the right to change your mind. So, even if I do tell you that I want to do it, I have the right to change my mind that I don’t want to do it anymore. But for now, there is no time for that because I am concentrating on this aspect of my life as an actor, studying to be a director and producer and doing bigger things in Nollywood. When I feel that I want to take a break and go back to what I love to do, which is music, I will do it. But it is not yet time.
What attracted you to the new movie, Lara And The Beat? It was the name of the producer that attracted me to the movie. The producer is known for good movies, and when you see such producers doing good works with great reputation in the industry, and when you are invited, you have to honour their invitation. When they sent me the script, I read it and knew that I had few scenes but I didn’t mind. But then, I wanted to do the movie. For me, it’s not how many scenes you have in a movie but the impact you can create with one scene. If you are an artiste, you shouldn’t say because you have only one scene, you would not feature in that movie. Your one scene may actually be the scene that really makes an impact in the movie.
Which part of the movie thrilled you the most?
I would say all the themes in the movie are of great interest to me. Anything that you want to train your children on, this movie will educate the child. It talks about the simple things of life, such as relationship with people. It is a movie that teaches about character and lessons of life.
You’re a mother and actress, how do you combine both effectively?
Everything is all about setting your priorities right. What’s more of a priority at that time was my children. I have to be there for my kids, but my children also respect me for what I do. If I have to work, I have to work for them. The beautiful thing is that I have grown up children. You can’t compare me with actors that have children who are still very young. My children are grown and I can be on set for some weeks or months and all we need to do is talk on the phone or do video calls. Technology has made it easy for me to communicate with them. Although, I live in Nigeria but they live abroad. It’s easier for me now but when I was much more younger in raising my children, I had my priorities and what was important to me at that time was my family.
What do you do when you’re not working?
When I am not working, I listen to music. I love reading and travelling. I am an Oprah (Winfrey) fan and any book she recommends people to read, I do buy and read.
What’s the secret of your good looks?
Just take care of yourself, and when you do it, your body will thank you for it. I think the biggest thing is to feel good, forget the outlook; it’s the inner layer that is more important. When a woman is happy, fulfilled and feels that she is driven by her purpose, people will see that, and that is the beauty that we see. Looking good helps and there is no reason why every woman should not feel good. I buy made in Nigeria fabrics and give them to my tailor to sew for me. I do fix my hair to look good and presentable. People should not be ostentatious in their appearance but look good and decent enough and always make first impression right. The outer look is important but the work that you do inner is more important. Seek God and honour Him in your life and you will radiate His presence.
What is the most challenging role that you have ever played?
All the roles that I have played were challenging but the most challenging role was in Ovy’s Voice, which was also fun. I enjoyed the role. I have had to play a 70-year-old grandmother in a film, and with all the make-up, and it was very challenging because I needed to sound older, and that was challenging. I urge directors and producers to give artistes more challenging roles in their movies. They should not stereotype the actors; they should not always think that an artiste should always play a particular role that he or she is known for.
What are your dream roles?
I am still pregnant as an actor and I want to give birth to good characters.
What lessons has life taught you?
Been an actor has taught me so many things. Fame doesn’t bring you happiness. Unfortunately, on social media, people put the good days in the best days, and one of the things that I urge young artistes is to let them know that their self confidence matters. When you follow me on social media, I choose the pictures that I put there. Pictures are filtered to make me look good and make you see the good side of me. We all have goods times and bad times. Don’t ever think that the pictures (of actors) that you see on social media are who we are. Been an actor has shown that people want to place me on a high pedestal and they want to see artistes as heroes. We are not heroes but artistes. The heroes are the mothers, the teachers in public schools, and single mothers and fathers, not the artistes. It doesn’t make us heroes but everyday human beings. But if you want to channel me to be that super hero, just know that I am human and mistakes will come. Life has taught me that all that glitters is not always gold. As a person, I seek for more peace and humility. I am always driven to have inner peace and would rather be happy and fulfilled.
How would you advise celebrities who bring their personal issues on social media?
Shaffy has chosen to always be private with her private life, but my work life on social media is what I am working on. The pictures that you want to see, the characters that I play in movies or when I am on set, I present them on social media. But what happens in my home I am not going to put it out there. So, my private life will remain private.
What’s your opinion about our indigenous music?
I love our indigenous music. Hardly would you hear me listen to Western music. I keep in touch with our pop culture, I am young at heart, and so I am always in tune with pop culture. At the same time, I am proud of where our music is, even though; we have a lot of work to do.