By Christian Agadibe
A few years ago, veteran actress, Hilda Dokubo stepped aside from Nollywood.
Her departure had created a vacuum, as many of her fans sorely missed her.
Now, she is back fully in the industry with a cameo in the wave making movie, The CEO produced by Kunle Afolayan. In this exclusive chat with Entertainer, Dokubo reveals why she decided to take a break from acting. Enjoy it.
What are you up to lately?
I just finished The CEO, a film produced by Kunle Afolayan. Currently, I am working on a new movie. I am also running a training center, which has been on for some time now. I am doing it with women in the Niger Delta. And we are doing well. By the end of September, I will be starting small businesses for 35 women.
What inspired such project?
I just wanted to give back. I think that if we support a lot of people then we’ll have fewer people looking for jobs, fewer crimes, and fewer things to worry about. And together we can build a better society, the kind of society we want to see. And you will be proud of what you have done as a person if you ensure that what we have is actually what you want to see.
You quit Nollywood for some years, are you finally back into the industry?
I needed a break at the time that I took a break. I needed a break, I wanted to do something else, I wanted to give back to the society, and I wanted to go to school. I wanted to work with regular people, so I took some break to achieve these things. You know, there are times in your life that you feel like there is something that you need to do, and you need to do it quickly. I have done that, so the break time is over, and I’m back to my business.
Was it easy for you to get your feet back into the industry?
Let me blow my trumpet a bit. With all modesty, I don’t think that anyone would mention pioneer actors in this country and my name would be missing. It’s not going to be easy except somebody is trying to be dishonest.
Do you think mediocrity has been kicked out of Nollywood?
Let’s put it this way. I don’t know of any industry without professionals, amateurs, and wannabes. And it is not peculiar to Nollywood. This movement is a process; it’s not the end of the journey yet, and we are in that process so you are bound to have all kinds of people. You are bound to have the good, the bad, and the ugly. And you have the up and coming, they are not good but with time they will be very good, and you would be amazed how fast they have grown. So, we are work in progress.
What makes one a successful actor?
It’s the capacity to interpret a role. It’s when you strike your audience, making them forget that you are only a performer. You make them believe you so much that they travel with you and become part of the performance. You are not the only one performing because you are getting the emotions off them, and all the emotions you want them to give, they give it all out. That is how you know a damn good actor.
How do you distinguish your acting career from your public life and home front?
Let me tell you what I do. Everything has its rule; my home has its code of conduct, my business has its rules, and when I’m on location, it has its own code of conduct. I know Hilda the actress. I know Hilda the daughter of Binibor. I know Hilda the wife of Mrakpo, and I know Hilda the mother of her children. I know them all.
How do you balance it all?
I just balance it; it is great, really. But I have to mention here that you must have supportive people around you. You must have your children supporting you; you must have your parents, your family, and your friends supporting you. I want some people to know that the loneliest people are celebrities because people think we have everything we want. And sometimes people judge us without even knowing us, so we are lonely people but we are not alone. We’re just lonely, we don’t have people that we can depend on or run back to.
How would you advise young couples in Nollywood to safeguard their marriages?
Don’t safeguard it (Laughs). Just love it. Love your home, love the man, and love your kids. Do the best you can, respect everyone including yourself. Respect what you do, don’t force it. Somebody will love and respect you. And don’t try to shy away from making mistakes; just live your life one day at a time, loving who you are. And let the love inside you show on the outside. If you make any mistake, be quick to say ‘I am sorry’. And mean it. It’s one thing to say ‘I am sorry’ and it’s another thing not to mean it. When you are sorry, it means, you will not do that thing again. So, learn how to apologise, don’t feel too big. By the way, this is your husband, and you can’t be too big for him.
At what point, does a young actress say she cannot go on with her marriage?
When it becomes very abusive. Any man who is a real man will never abuse his wife.
What if she catches him cheating?
You know I’m a Christian, I’m born again, and I’m a minister so no ground is good enough. The Bible charges a man to love his wife as God loves the church. God has not abandoned us because of our sins, even when He caught us red-handed. He still loves us; He’s still giving us the best of help. However, your inner strength should tell you that you have to be morally upright. If you are morally upright, you are not doing it for anyone but for yourself. So, do the best that you can be proud of.
A lot of young actresses are desperate for roles; some pay or even give sex for role. What advice do you have for them?
Don’t give anything other than your talent. If anybody has to pay here then they should pay you. Come on, you have the talent, love it, do your work and that should pay you.