Nollywood actress, Belinda Effah, has opened up on sexual harassment in the industry, and many other things
Read excerpts from her interview with Punch.
I am from Calabar, Cross River State. I was born into a family of 14 children and I am the 12th child. My father was a naval officer and I was brought up by my parents alongside my siblings and cousins.
I had my elementary education at Hillside International Nursery and Primary School, Calabar, and thereafter, I attended three secondary schools. Eventually, I completed my post-elementary education at Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Port Harcourt. I studied Genetics and Biotechnology at the University of Calabar.
Acting has always been a huge part of me and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. Before I graduated from the university, I discovered I was passionate about acting. After realising where my passion lay, I delved into it and I’ve not looked back since then.
First movie role
My first movie role was in The Room, where I played the role of Nkoyo. It was a short movie by MNET and a lot of people remember it because it was my first major feature. I also featured in several series such as, Shallow Waters, Fantastic Fanatic, Hills and Valleys, etc. I also acted in Emem Isong’s Kokomma, Mrs. Somebody, Udeme Mmi, among others.
Starting out as an actress wasn’t easy because a lot of people did not want to give me the opportunity to prove myself. It was a struggle; 2005 and 2006 were tough for me. It was not until 2011 that I started featuring in serious movies such as Kokoma, Udeme Mmi and a couple of other movies.
I am very particular about the roles that I play. First and foremost, I look at the storyline because that’s what will attract me. I also talk to the producer to find out who is directing, the film’s cast, location as well as the number of days I will spend on location.
I usually do not talk about my private life. What people know me for are my movies, so I am not keen on putting my private life out there. People do not care about you really; they don’t know how I feed or live. All those information are private and I don’t want it in the public space. I’d appreciate if people just keep watching my movies and focus solely on that.
Majorly, acting has been my core business but I intend to diversify. I used to run a food business which I intend to revamp and bring back to life. I don’t run the store anymore because I had managerial problems. Food business is a huge one because people must eat.
Relationship with Emem Isong
I’ll always give credit to Emem Isong because she played a vital role in my career. Together with her sister, Uduak Oguamanam, she cast me in Kokoma, Udeme Mmi and Apaye. I am very grateful to them for the platform. I wonder why people say things because in life, someone has to bring you out and pull you up. My story will not be complete without mentioning both of them and I will always acknowledge them and it’s something I’m very proud of.
I’ve learnt that patience will take you very far. You also have to stay humble because in your state of humility, God will make you rise quickly. This life is very simple but people make a big deal out of it. Just stay in your lane and God will help you rise above murky waters.
I am not going to deny the fact that someone at some point made passes at me. This was when I was starting out in the industry but right now, I’ve not had that experience. When people call me for jobs, they are very professional about it. I thank God that I didn’t fall into that trap and it was even a ‘nobody’ who made the pass at that time. Some ladies toed that line but where are they today? When you sell your birthright, you can’t retrieve it again.
I am a very creative person in and out and I flow with my mood. I’m also very spontaneous. I could see something that I like and make it into something totally different. That makes me stand out from the pack because I believe in staying true to myself.
I love to travel and spend time with my family. I also love to watch movies; I watch those I’ve featured in and I’m my own biggest critic.
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