Nollywood diva, Belinda Effah has been on a steady rise to fame since her debut in the 2005 TV series, Shallow Waters.
And now, the graduate of University of Calabar is determined to take her career a notch higher. In this interview, the actress talks about the journey so far.
2019 has just gone past half. How has the year been for you?
I must say the first half of 2019 has been awesome. I have been a part of awesome projects that I can’t wait to share with the world. I have seen my dreams gradually being fulfilled. In fact, I am attaining new levels in my career and I can only be grateful to God.
What career achievements have you made so far?
Besides the constant jobs and the awards, it’s comforting to know that producers, marketers and directors are willing to stake their hard earned money on me, believing I am the best person to tackle a role. They are also willing to wait for my availability to work with them. That, for me, is a huge accomplishment.
You recently ventured into filmmaking, what prompted that and what has the experience been like?
Yes, I recently produced my first movie, Miracle. I felt it was time. I had been working on it for over five years. Raising funds was quite challenging but it happened. I really want to use this movie as a tool of change and empowerment for the young people. So far, it’s been a very interesting journey, which I am grateful for, and it’s been a learning curve for me as well. I can’t wait to share with the world what we were able to cook.
What are the major challenges female producers face?
I really don’t see any challenges with female producers. As a matter of fact, I think women are at par with their male counterparts if not taking over. Women are natural caretakers, home makers etc. So, they bring that expertise into production, which makes it more awesome.
Women are very meticulous and pay attention to details. They see things that men might not see and take care of them before going on production.
Can you tell us about your new project?
The project I will love to share right now is Locked, a movie on mental health. It will open in cinemas on August 9, 2019. It stars Hilda Dokubo, Sunny Neji, Charles Granville, Abayomi and I. It’s directed by Simon Peacemaker and it’s a must watch.
You played a Hausa lady in the movie, Haram, what was the experience like?
I loved working on that project. It’s quite different from anything I have done before. Plus it came with its own difficulty. In all, I gave my best and I hope the audience liked it. Haram is a family story centered on a Muslim family and its complexities.
It’s quite different from anything you have seen. Trust me, you will love this one. Andy Boyo, a veteran, directed it.
From your experience as a seasoned actress, what should be done to improve the movie industry?
Can I say everything? Well, attention should be paid to details, regarding every facet of the industry – from scripting to makeup, costume to location, props, equipment, cast and crew etc. The quality of all these will add to production value. Then, there should be unity among producers to solve the distribution problem. Distribution is a major problem that needs to be looked into. We have the population yet very limited distribution networks. We need to unilaterally come up with a lasting solution, which everyone can benefit from. This can also be a revenue earner in years to come. Royalty will be earned from a movie forever with proper structures in place.
You’re also into foodstuff business, what inspired that?
I am a big food lover. Having access to good food has always been of importance to me. I decided to make business out of what I love so that food lovers like me can have access to good food at their convenience. Favor-Right Foods was born out of this.
What are the challenges running such a business in Nigeria?
Power is a major challenge; the running cost is swallowed up mostly by alternative power supply (generator). Most times, it consumes your profit. Manpower is another problem. A lot of youth are not willing to start small and grow a business.
These are the two most important challenges, among others.
How lucrative is the foodstuff business?
It’s quite lucrative if done properly. It’s food and it’s a necessity for everyone. If done right, it will generate very good income.
How do you source for your food items?
I source for all my food items from the local markets in Lagos and Calabar. For a person just starting this line of business, what are the keynotes that should be taken? Make sure you create enough time for the business.
What should be expected of you in the remaining part of the year?
Expect more productions, endorsements, youth empowerment and charity programmes.
How do you find time to relax as a businesswoman cum actress?
I create time out of no time to rest. I need the rest because our work is more mental, and if not properly managed, it could cause serious health hazard. I ensure I take out time to rest. I am a workout buff so I don’t joke with my workout routine. It calms and relaxes me, and then, I drink lots of water.
Do you have a special beauty routine to maintain your youthful glow?
My beauty routine is to ensure I don’t keep makeup on my face overnight. I use a good scrub and moisturizer all the time.
Can you recall any embarrassing red carpet moment?
It happened at a popular awards event where I was nominated. I was on the red carpet waiting to be interviewed on the live show and they said I couldn’t be interviewed because they had a ready list of people to be interviewed.
It was so embarrassing considering the fact that I was a nominee. In life, things happen. So, I took it with a pinch of salt.