Shafy Bello’s name is not strange to the Entertainment Industry. She is an exceptional actress. She has featured in so many movies and series like Kijipa Ife, Eti Keta, Tinsel, Taste of Love, Dere, When Love Happens, the just concluded intriguing sitcom BATTLEGROUND and many more. The screen diva and fashion goddess spoke to OTEKUNRIN OLUWATOMI on set of “Battleground” . Below are excerpts of the interview with this amazing woman.
The Shaffy Bello we know is a beautiful woman that sang in the ever green song ‘Love me jeje’ some years back. What gave birth to the new Shaffy Bello who is now an incredible screen diva ,a formidable face in Nollywood? How is it like evolving from music to acting?
(Smiles) To God be the glory I have been acting in the United States for some time, I did some feature films and stage plays. I am a complete Thespian but I came to seek for something special and by HIS grace I found it and I found a niche. I remember when I came back from the states, I met Saidi Balogun at the bank and we’ve known each other for some time and so he asked me to see him in his office. So I went to see him, he told me he was working on a project at that time and that he can write a story involving a character he would want me to play and lo and behold I featured in his movie ETI KETA
Was that the first film you did when you got back?
(Thinks for a while) Yes I think so. That was in the year 2010.
After then you’ve featured in some couple of movies and series. Which one can we say was your breakout movie?
It’s still “Love Me Jeje”, up till tomorrow people still call me the woman from that music ‘Love me Jeje’’
Tell us about the most challenging role you’ve played so far?
Most challenging role (thinks for some time) I’m yet to play that role that I can’t become.
You feature in more English films than Yoruba movies do you prefer the English genre to the Yoruba?
(Smiles) People don’t know that on the contrary I love acting Yoruba movies because I am a Yoruba woman and I love my language. I love both genres. I just finished on set of Iyabo Ojo’s movie, featured in Kijipa Ife and some couple of movies, the bottom line is that I am an actor and I can act any movie in any language whether Tapa, Efik, Igbo and many more, all I have to do is to study the language. Please keep the scripts coming so long as the story is good and the pay is awesome as well. (Smiles)
Ma, you acted in the United States and now in Nigeria, what is the difference?
Though I didn’t do a blockbuster movie in the state but you know what? This is home regardless of the difference I am glad I can be presented as an African actor presenting Nigeria anywhere in the world. Except for the money though, being home is humbling and by God’s grace if Hollywood calls I am so gamed (smiles).
You describe yourself as a “Descendant of Grace’’ What do you mean by this?
(Smiles) I have a gospel background, I was a church worker for 15 years, I sang gospel song for 14 years. I got married in church, I had my children there and they are still there .The name of my church is JESUS HOUSE Maryland, the name of my pastor is pastor Gandi even though I have not seen him in a while he still my Pastor. Though not easy being a church worker here in Nigeria but guess what? I still find time to serve God. I love my quiet time a lot. I am a spiritual person and haven’t seen all what God has done for me I know I live by nothing by GRACE and all I can say is that I am a descendant of GRACE.
You have had a wonderful career with a very good family put together. Do you think the young Nollywood actresses are this lucky and what do you think is the problem?
Deep question! Foundation is key; I have met some who are very humble and hard working. Some have a sense of purpose and calling for this job while some think it’s all about beauty and to slay alone. Some allow the fame to get into their heads and so they start misbehaving and some lean on men or women to get roles on platter of gold while some we will walk the streets of Lagos trying to go for auditions and to those set of actress I say kudos.
This work is not all about glamour, you need to be humble and learn on the job and probably go back to school, there is nothing stopping them from having a balanced life. It’s achievable though it’s lot of work. Be nice to your fans who expect you to always have a great day regardless of whatever happened. For the hard working ones future will tell .You can be a super mum, a good wife and an awesome career woman as well.
No doubt you are an awesome actress, are you considering producing your movies or you are cool with acting?
(Smiles) Hmmmm, I am staying on my lane and I am still learning .When I get the calling or reason I will .I might say today I am not ready and tomorrow I change my mind Never say never, I will like too when the time is right .
Let’s talk about your incredible role “Adaora” at the just concluded popular sitcom “Battleground’’
Thank you Tomi, I always say when the camera rolls and you are acting then you are not serious but rather you should become the character. For me, Adaora is a mother and a wife and so I become her.
You have become so many characters in different movies and series .Which is your favourite character?
(Smiles) I love all the characters I have become in movies just that I love my character in Ovy’s Voice. I believe everyone has that kind of aunty who is Sisi Eko. I love all my roles even if I play a mean character.
What is that thing you do that people don’t know?
This your questions are out of this world o … Okay what I do and people don’t know? I talk to my self a lot in my room and my car while I am alone .I know people think it’s crazy but it’s not a problem. In fact I respond to myself as well (smiles).
If you are not on set, what do you do?
I travel to see my family, my husband are children are in the state. I love spending time with my children a lot, I love to go to the spa, I love my quite time as well, I love to shop when I am less busy, I love spending time with my small circle of friends
What do you mean by small circle of friend, ma?
You see I am not in this industry to make friends, I am here to worked I enjoy the relationship I have with those who know me to the choir as SHAFFY not the actress ,those who can spank me and tell me to my “Iwo ati Tani ‘’(you and who).
Meaning that old friends are better than the new ones?
Yes, they keep it real, your status doesn’t freak them out, I am a cordial person and very friendly but at the same time I keep my circle of friend very, very small. You can try it as well. It works.
Ma, is any of your children interested in acting?
(Smiles ) My son is interested in the business aspect and my daughter is also interested in the production aspect as well but not acting. But never say never it’s a bug when it bite them tomorrow they may say they want to act which I won’t object to if it will make them happy .
What projects should we be expecting from the stable of Shaffy Bello?
I have been working on a lot of projects for different people and soonest they will all come out for premier. Just got off set of Ebonylife Film movie and many more. Keep your fingers crossed for the sitcom BATTLEGROUND, there are still lots to come and we are shooting the second season. Trust me you will all be wowed.
What were those things that shock your fans when they meet you?
My fans don’t know that I am a very warm and lively person so I take them by surprise because most of them think I will be a serious person. See, I am not the characters I play in movies, I am SHAFFY not that person and let me drop this quickly for the fans there are days when we are a bit off please bear with us. It’s not our fault; you all have high and low days and understand that with us as well. We are like you too but I love my fans a lot. I wish I can reach out to every one of them on social media.
You have spent over 22years in the industry and you have remained scandal free, how have you been able to manage your personal life and manage stardom at the same time?
(Smiles) You know the way you don’t take your clothes off outside? That is how I have tried to remain scandal free. I keep what is private, private I leave my life out of Instagram and facebook. All what my fans what to see is my job and few pictures of me, not my family. I don’t even take pictures in my house to put on social media. I love my privacy and seriously people shouldn’t judge with what they see on social media.
No doubt you are a fashion goddess as you don’t go wrong on red carpet or any outing. What is the secret of that ageless look and top notch fashion sense?
It’s innate, it is not ability, it is ‘’Abinibi’’(smiles). It runs in the family, I just love looking good at all time. I approach stylist as well.
What is your advice to young Nigerian who want to come into Nollywood ?
Go to school, give it everything it takes. Gone are the days when you think you will just read a line and you will blow in some months. Acting goes beyond pretty face, it is a serious business where you are expected to bring in your “A Game’’ all the time. Nollywood of nowadays is looking for excellence not a ‘’good shape’’ and you need to be hard working as well and I am sure you will be relevant if you are very dedicated.
Thanks so much for your time ma, we appreciate you.
Thank you for having me I am honoured and thanks for being patient.