Shaffy Bello is one of the hottest actresses rocking Nollywood right now. Over the last few years, this light skinned pretty actress has featured in several blockbuster movies. She has also featured in many cinema movies. This is because she is good at what she does. She is a well-trained actor who attended Film Schools where her skills were honed. She is currently taking part in a popular movie. Last week, Shaffy Bello spoke to City People Publisher SEYE KEHINDE about her life and acting career. Below are excerpts from the interview.
Right now, Shaffy Bello is in high demand to be part of so many movie productions. How do you cope?
It’s not been easy. But it goes to show that if you love what you do, it’s not work anymore. Its become something that pulls you. It’s not easy. I have had to work with a very tight schedule. What I do now is when I get scripts I go through them and I see which ones pull me, which one engages me. If I like it, I will go for it. It’s not all the jobs I get called for that I do. I can’t. It’s not even feasible. It’s so demanding to do every job. And it’s not every job that I want to be on. So its so important for me to read the scripts. It’s so important for actors to read their scripts. So I read the scripts and I find out if that character pulls me. It is only then I will decide if I want to be in it. It is not easy, but then I love what I do.
You have been doing this now for how long?
As for the acting part, I will say it has been on now for about 15 years. I have been acting in the states before I came back to Nigeria. I used to live in the US. I used to do community plays and then broadways I did that in the United States for so many years.
Of course, you know I did music. So coming to Nigeria, I just wanted to widen my horizon. I have always believed in the home. I knew that there was a gift in me and I know innately that for me to soar even higher, to be that special being that God created me to be, I had to come home. So, thankfully, I listened to the spirit of God and I came home.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Nigeria. I grew up in Nigeria. I grew up in Lagos. I left though when I was about 17 after I finished my WAEC. And I went to the US. That was where I was until I was in my 40s. My stint in the US was pretty good. I had an awesome time. My father had always believed that when his children, get to a certain stage after you are done with your WAEC he will ship you back to the U.S. My siblings were there, so it made it easy for me to transition. And so, I went to school, I went to the college. I got trained. I started to do different things and I needed to find my purpose. You know how it is, when you are in your 20s you will just be looking for that thing that pulls you. And you don’t even know which one. So, you have to try different things to be able to discover yourself. So you have to try your hands on everything. I tried my hands on Events, which did very well actually I tried my hands on Music which did extremely well. But then, I started acting and I found me. Maybe, I can say I lost something because to be an actor, you have to lose some of yourself a bit, to be able to take on some characters. I have enjoyed every aspect of it. God was molding me for today, to become what I have become today.
Shaffy Bello is very deep and very reflective. How did you develop that aspect of you?
I am not a superficial person. I like depth. I like people who are smart. Smart people are attracted to me. I like very deep and smart people. That is why I like Oprah Winfrey. I followed her career from when she did Season One till the end of the seasons. Watching that show molded me. She molded who I was. I love knowledge. I love people who know more about everything. I am attracted to knowledge.
At what point did you now decide to come back to Nigeria?
That was in 2009. That was when I made the move. Before then, I used to come and go but then between 2013 and 2014 thereabout I stayed back. And Nigeria became home and the US became a place I visited. It was a very difficult thing to do because my children were there and I had to leave them to relocate here. They were young when I made that decision.
But I have always believed that when you want to soar and you need to do something and when God says it time everything will just align. Even my children gave me their blessings.
How easy or difficult was it then, after your return to begin to get roles in the movie industry?
Hmmm! You know the thing is, everybody sees the Glory but they don’t know the STORY. I know how many nights I will be in my room crying my eyes out. Leaving my children in the US without a mum and I am here in Nigeria. But their father was there with them. One day my daughter looked at me and said mum, it was a good thing you left at the time you did because if you didn’t leave I wouldn’t have grown to know that I need to do things on my own. You and daddy always babied us and did things for us. Now, I have learnt to do things on my own. So, when God calls you and says its time for something, listen, just listen and obey. It always turns out well.
When I first came back, it was a bit difficult. I did the Love me Jeje video. I went into music. People saw my face. People know what I do and it opened doors. And then one day, just out of the blues I met Saidi Balogun. We knew each other, prior, from the United States when they came for a programme. I went to him and I said, hello. He said ah Shaffy what are you doing here? My office is just across the road on Allen Avenue. Come and see my office and I followed him and we got talking for a while. He then said it would have been nice to feature me in a movie he just completed. He now said but you know what? I really want you in my movie. I now said how? You have finished it. You have wrapped up. He said don’t worry, we would write something else for you. And he wrote me into that film that he had. That was Eti Keta with Kate Henshaw. From then, things started rolling in. That was in 2010. I did that. Then, TINSEL happened. I got a character on TINSEL. From then the rest is history.