Interviews | 25 April 2008 17:13 CET


Laide Bakare's chance meeting with moviemakers in her father's hotel in Ibadan made her want to become an actress. She speaks to Patrick Uwalaka about how it all started for her

How did your romance with the movies start?

It started when I had contact with moviemakers who had come to shoot a film in my father's hotel in Ibadan. My encounter with them coincided with my father's birthday and house warming then. When I saw them at the hotel, I desired to be like them.

At that time, I had already gained admission to study theatre arts at the University of Ibadan and I found myself doing what I am doing presently.

When was that?

That was in 1998.

When did you go on set for the first time?

I produced my own movie in 2001. Before then I had been appearing in movies. My first movie was Eru Ju Omi, then 11.45 and many others followed.

What drives you?

I think It would be my desire to be recognised in whatever I find myself doing. I want to succeed in whatever I do. I never liked failure even while I was a child.

You came into acting at a time you were at the University of Ibadan. How did you manage your studies?

I did the movies like a part time job. My love for the job made it possible for me to juggle acting and my studies. I came out a success at the end of the day because I was determined to be who I wanted to be.

I was focused, had determination and I endured all the difficulties that came up with my studies whenever I had to go on location.

How would you describe your Nollywood experience?

It is a thing of joy for me to see myself where I am today because it is not everyone who started with me that is still relevant in the industry. Some fell by the wayside while some are still trying to find their feet. So, I would say that it has been fun as you tend to meet a lot of people everyday.

What would you say has been the most challenging moment of your career?

I can't really say. Perhaps it was while I was in school. Like I said earlier, it wasn't easy to combine school and acting.

Can you still remember what your first professional fee was back then?

I don't think I can remember, but I do know that it was something small which was okay for me then because I wanted to make a name for myself and not money, the money would come, and which has, and only those who are not sure of where they were heading would start placing much relevance on the money before the career.

What makes you unique?

I think it would be my level of understanding of what it takes to be an actress and at the same time a moviemaker.

Capacity building is very important in whatever we do in Nollywood and I am not ignorant of the happenings in the industry; I make my production stand out from the large crowd of movies that is being churned out on a monthly basis.

And my personality is something I always believe I can improve upon. I am a very simple person, level headed, intelligent, and appreciative of my friends and easy going.

Have you ever looked back in regret over choosing the acting career?

Not really. I think that would be one of those things even if you are not in the industry it does happen to one at times.

Has your career challenged your relationship?

When you are always busy and do not have time for your loved ones, there are bound to be complaints particularly if the person concerned is not understanding.

Do you have such an understanding person in your life?

Yes I do and he is coping because he knew what he was doing when he proposed to me. He understands me and the kind of job I do.

Did he see you as an actress he wanted to be with or did he see you as the Laide outside razzmatazz that goes with your profession?

He saw in me someone he wanted.

How would you describe yourself?

Outside the tube I'm a very shy person, I don't talk too much, I am still hoping to be a better actress and moviemaker in the future. This is because the future holds so much for those who dream and believe in themselves and I believe I want to be part of that dream.

Do you prefer to be a moviemaker or an actress?

I think I am more of an actress because making a movie is time consuming and expensive and you just have to give it your best once you go into it. It takes a lot but when you feature in movies you just get paid for doing your job.

Who sponsored your first movie?

No one has given me money to produce a movie and that is one thing anyone cannot take away from me. After the work is done I just hand it over to a marketer.

How would you rate the English speaking and Yoruba movie industry?

I think the difference is just in the language.

What do you think would bring the much desired recognition the world over for the Yoruba movie?

We need professional hands and government support to move the industry to the next level. We must attend international conferences, conduct research on how to come up with better scripts with depth, which translates to a good movie at the end of the day.

It appears that very few actors are crossing over from the Yoruba to the English speaking sector and vice versa?

I wouldn't say there is any need to crossover, we are all in the business of making home videos and acting. I have also been invited to act in English speaking movies and I have done some and turned down others.

You have a very good television face, what do you do to maintain it?

I am a very lazy person when it comes to that. I don't do anything, I just apply my make-up on my face and that is it for me, so when people say you are beautiful and all that I just laugh because my face is just a natural gift from God.

You said you do so many other things outside acting. What are these other businesses you do?

I own a boutique in Shomolu, I also sell cars, I travel abroad to buy some other things which I sell to my clients in Nigeria.

Who are the people you prefer to act with in Nollywood?

I act with everyone who knows how to interpret their scripts. I don't have favourites. I do my job with whosoever the producers say I should work with.

Who are the people who encouraged you to reach for the skies when you were about starting your career?

They are so many that is why I cannot point to one person. Many people have passed through me and so have I passed through many producers and in doing so they have impacted in my life positively to the point that whenever I look back I just can't but help thanking God for being there for me.

What does your husband do for a living?

He works with the United States Customs in America. He comes home once in a while and I also do same when I think it is necessary.

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