I am single and ready to mingle – Eniola Badmus ''Gbogbo big girls''
She is a known face in the movie industry. Eniola Badmus, better known as Gbogbo big girls, is a popular character she played in the award-winning Yoruba movie, Jenifa. Badmus often tells whoever
cares to listen that she is big and beautiful. She made her entry into the movie industry 13 years ago with the movie, Brutal times and love affairs. Ever since, she has featured in countless movies both in English and Yoruba. Regardless of her size, beautiful Badmus is one actress that carries herself with such great confidence on and off set. In this interview with CHIOMA AGALI, she speaks on how she journeyed into the industry and her love for her career, She says she is still single and ready to mingle. Excerpts:
What bacground, personal and educational, did you bring into the industry?
I went to series of primary schools. I started with Maryland Convent School and I left for Air Force Primary School and then to Adeola Elementary School in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, after which I went to Anglican Girls Grammar School in Ijebu Ode and then I had my first degree at the University of Ibadan where I studied Theatre Arts and later I went to Lagos State University for my second degree, which I have just concluded. My parents were neither poor nor rich but we were comfortable and I mingled with all sorts of people and that helped me grow up well. I am from a polygamous home and I am the 12th of my father's children and I am the last born of my mother. I am an Ijebu girl with an Egba mother.
How did you get into the movie industry?
I joined the industry 13 years ago. That was through a man called Bolagade Akinpelu (aka Ogumajek) and I actually started with the English sector before I started acting the Yoruba movie. I have been in the industry since 1997.
How supportive were your parents when you started acting?
At first, no one liked it, They totally disagreed and all they wanted from me was to go to school, come out and get a good job. But I told them I will do better in the movie industry. Even while I went to location way back then, they will be looking for me. When I get home, it is either one problem or the other. It got to a point I don't tell them I am going to a location. My mother in particular never wanted me to be an actress. But shortly after, she started supporting me. That was in 2003. Not full support though. They were like let's see what she can bring out of it. They did not want me to do it. But thank God that today my father understands that it is what I love to do and he allowed me to do what I love doing. My mum is late now but before she died, she supported it and gave me words of encouragement.
Which was your first movie?
Love affair and brutal time.
What was growing up like for you and what are the fun memories you can remember?
My growing up was fun and a memorable one because I was trained by the best parents anyone could ever have. They were very caring, I started with a very good nursery school. I will say my growing up was a fantastic one. I was properly trained and not trained as a spoilt child. Even thou my parents were well to do, I was trained as a normal child that will be a responsible person in the society. I remember that when I was in the secondary school, I joined the theatre group called FELLOWDI. It is an abbreviation of Fellow Dramatics. That was where I started my acting career. I was an executive member then with the FELLOWDI group. I will say the group prepared me for the acting career a whole lot.
In your movies, you have played several roles ranging from the campus hard babe to a prostitute. Who is the real Eniola Badmus?
I am a simple and a jovial person. If you are with me, you will laugh till Jesus comes because I love to make people around me laugh. I crack jokes and I am an easy going person. But I don't take shit, I won't lie. I am a no nonsense person. I am a straightforward person.
You are easily identified with your make up. Is that your signature?
Yes. When I am not going out, I don't wear make up. But I am a very colourful person and I like colourful things. In the whole of the make up, my favourite is the eye shadow. I really take my time to wear it. You know I am big but I am not fat so I try to make my face as attractive as I can and I play with colours, especially the bright ones. Where I am going determines the kind of make up I wear. If I am going for corporate business, my make up will be calm. When I am going for show business, I wear the make up that says flaunt it if you got it.
If you can effect any change in the Nigerian movie industry, what will it be?
First and foremost, I will work on the technical aspect of our movie productions. I feel the technical aspect is lacking. Though it is improving but it has not gotten to the expected level. I know some day we will get there. At the same time, the script we use, the producers still need to treat it very well. The screen play must be properly detailed and worked upon and it should also be well directed. The producer also needs to be doing what is called script conferencing to be able to edit their script. By so doing, you will be able to deliver in a way that they will appreciate their work and the actors/actresses will understand the script and be able to deliver well.
What inspired you to become an actress?
Like I told you that my childhood actually prepared me to become an actress. I used to be a member of a drama group way back in my secondary school and while doing that in school, I also joined a drama group in the church. So I must say the truth that my childhood prepared me a whole lot for my career.
How is life and how is the acting career treating you?
We thank God acting is going on well and as I am doing the job I am happy because that has always been what I wanted.
You are big and beautiful. Does your size affect you in anyway in this profession?
Not at all. I am big and beautiful. You get it wrong when you feel I get affected by my size. I am Eniola Badmus. I am big and beautiful. If you think you don't want me on your set because of my size, that's your own palava. My size does not affect how I feel, what I do or how I do it. I put my confidence in God and not in any man.
Has your size been an added advantage or disadvantage to you? Do people will walk up to you to demand for money as a big girl?
I believe that before anybody can walk up to me and ask for something, the person must have been in need of that thing or the person knows me very well. I will give if I have what the person is requesting for. I believe it is a way of giving back to the society what the society has given to me.
Who were your mentors?
As a child, I looked up to Taiwo Ajaiyi Lycett, Joke Silver and Richard Mofe Damijo. Regina Askia was also a wonderful actress way back then. Sam Loco Efe and some other actors and actresses too.
How do you handle your male admirers?
The truth of the matter is that they must come. But it will now be left to the person to decide whether she wants it or not. For me, I appreciate them and make them understand my stand and I also draw the line between work and pleasure. It is normal, when you are doing a show business.
What is your view on sexual harassment in Nollywood? Is it real?
There is no where you don't find sexual harassment in all the industry we have in the whole world. But the way you personally handle it when it comes is what really matters.
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
Yes. It is normal except if I am not sexy, big and beautiful. Sometimes someone will like, 'oh girl come on.' And I will say please I am not here for that. I was able to overcome it and I have got diplomacy. That is just it.
What is one good thing that you can say acting has done to you as a person?
Being an actress has brought me fame, money, love and some other good things of life. It has done a whole lot to me. I am a person who loves to travel and meet people and this career has taken me far and wide. It has made me go places and I have been privileged to meet with all sorts of people. What will I have been doing if I am not an actress? May be a lawyer. But I know that acting is in me. I love acting.
For the past two years you have been one of the most popular actresses in the industry. How do you feel?
I just thank God. I get my inspiration from Him. I believe in hard work and being committed to what you do. I don't like being distracted. When I have something to do, I do it wholeheartedly. By and large, I'll just say it is the Lord's doing.
You have tasted both sides of Nollywood, the English and Yoruba genres. Which would you say you will rather stick with in terms of reward?
I don't really want to pick because I shuttle between both. Yes, most people would say the English sector is more lucrative. But I will tell you that the Yoruba sector is not doing too badly. The Yoruba sector provided me with a platform to make a name and that's how it is with us. We help ourselves to grow. Sometimes, it affects us financially though.
You started with an English movie. Why didn't you stick with it because today you are mostly referred to as a Yoruba actress?
I did not abandon the English home video completely because I still appear in some television series, which are done in English. I almost left once but I had a rethink, with a mindset that I would not allow other people's wishes for me make me run away from a thing I love doing. I went to the Yoruba-speaking sector because I know that I will be accepted for who and what I am. I am happy where I am today. But don't get me wrong, I still do some English series. Yoruba is my language and I am sure I can do better in it. I am from Ijebu Ode.
How many movies have you taken part in?
Uncountable. But I can remember some. Brutal times, love affair, Aye Aramide, Adun Awuro, Okin, Tani, Black Brac, Jenifa and so many others.
What else do you do apart from acting?
Nothing else for now. But I know someday I will also like to be a producer. If not for the economy of the country, as an actress we need not to be a producer because everybody will have to specialise in a department. May be because some people are not contented with what they are doing, that is why you see one person being an actor, director and producer at the same time. But to me, it is not a bad idea. If anyone is capable of doing it without flopping, then it is no big deal. Anyway, I am looking forward to a story very soon. At least I am in my 13th year in the industry, so if I produce now that means I have got an experience. I know all what it entails to be a good producer.
What are the challenges you face in the industry as an actress?
A whole lot people like us actually face so much that I can't tell it all. But it is normal. It has to be rough first before it gets better. If you are not able to serve. then you're too small to lead. I serve people, I pay my dues and I know for sure that makes me feel okay today.
Are you married?
No. I am single and ready to mingle.
Who is your kind of man?
I want a man that is tall and big on the average, not as big as I am though but someone on the average size. My kind of man must be brilliant, sexy, caring and tall. He must be a comfortable person. Not too rich, not too low.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is an Ijebu native food called ikokore and eba tutu.
What is your favourite colour?
Blue and pink.
What are your hobbies?
I love swimming a lot and I love reading novels.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Well, by the grace of God, I see myself in the United States of America, married and with my kids.
Have you ever been embarrassed for acting a particular role in a movie?
We are in Nigeria. People feel what you act is what you are. I get a whole lot of that every other day. When we go to shoot, our audience sometimes will not allow you to move. Some will demand for money from you just because they watch and buy your movies, forgetting that we actresses are also humans like they are with blood running through us too.
What is your advice for the upcoming ones?
Let them come determined. And when they are there, they should remain focused. If they lack focus, then they will lose it because the job itself is tasking and needs focus. The idea of this job is I know some day I will get there.
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