Faithia Balogun needs no introduction in the movie industry; the thespian has featured in over 100 movies and still counting. The light-skinned actress and proud mother of two is not leaving any stone unturned as she remains one of the most relevant and consistent thespians. In this chat with MUTIAT LAWORE she spoke about her journey so far, views on sex-for-role, love for fashion, thoughts on Nigerian designers amongst others. Excerpts:
You are one of the very few who have stayed relevant in the industry for a long time, what would you say is your staying power?
Consistency and ability to evolve overtime, I think are my staying power and have made me more active in the creative industry. Don’t forget there are so many newbies joining the industry at regular intervals; so I feel being dedicated to my craft has kept me this far. I am not retiring anytime soon neither I am taking any chances to stay off radar even though there are certain roles I can no longer play or be actively involved as a result of my age but that does not mean that the newbies can knock me out easily. Sex-for-role has been a major discussion in the industry, what do you have to say about this trending topic? Like I usually tell my protégés, success is not one way!
You have to take a few steps, make mistakes, go back to the drawing board and pick up again. But these days, there a whole lot of overnight celebrities and wannabes who are just in the industry not because they have passion but they want to join the league of those called ‘Actress.’ For me, I have never experienced that in the cause of my journey in the industry but desperate actors will want to go to any length to secure a role in a movie set and at the end of the day, they end up jeopardising their career. There have been several cases of upcoming actors accusing their senior colleagues of offering them roles in return for sex; but at the end of the day we don’t get to hear about them anymore. I believe if you have had such encounter, be bold enough to speak out.
When was the first time you considered acting as a career?
I was a student of the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin and I came home for a brief vacation. One day, my late foster brother, Fatai Teniola, was waiting for one of his cast members to show up for a movie production. When the actress didn’t come, he and Kokonsari asked me if I could play the role. I replied that I couldn’t and that I was not even interested in acting. However, after much pleading, I decided to do it. I went back to school after that and I didn’t return for a long time so I forgot all about acting because it wasn’t in my plans. As of then, I was studying for a diploma in Law, with the intention of switching over to accounting because my father really wanted me to become an accountant. But I didn’t get admission to study accounting because I wasn’t good at mathematics. After school, I didn’t have anything to do, so I joined my foster brother’s production outfit and that was how it started. I then realised that it is something I enjoy and I decided to go with the flow. Because I began to enjoy acting, I didn’t go back to school for my Higher National Diploma. That was when it occurred to me that I could take it up as a sustainable career. I rose fast in the movie industry because as of the time I joined, there weren’t too many actresses in the industry and I was getting jobs. However, after few years of acting, I travelled to the United Kingdom and the rest is history.
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What were some of the challenges you faced at the beginning of your career?
I usually tell people that there are challenges in all careers, even for meat sellers in the market. One has to pay his or her dues when coming up. You cannot just get there and think you would rise to the top in no time. If you don’t have endurance and patience, you wouldn’t be able to make it because you will get to hear a lot of messed up things. There is an incident that happened at the early stage of my career: after returning from London, I was invited to act the sub-lead role in a movie outside Lagos. When we finished shooting the first day, the director said the lead actress, who was reigning at that time though I started acting before her, would sleep in the best hotel in that town, while I would follow him to his one-room apartment. I ended up sleeping on a couch for two days and I didn’t complain. But I prayed to God and asked Him to make me grow bigger than even the lady, and I’m grateful for where I am today.
It’s the second quarter of the year, how will you describe your journey through the first phase of 2022?
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Alhamdulillah for the grace to be able to be part of the first quarter of the year. 2022 has been and is still a journey because despite the current situation of the country, it is the grace of God that has kept a lot of people alive including me as a person. The year is going smoothly as I have worked on many movie sets, prepping on some personal projects that will be reviewed soon and most importantly, I am only available for enjoyment.
When you recall your growing up days, can you remember any major trouble you got into with your mum or the prank you played?
No, I didn’t get into trouble with mum. I got into trouble with my dad. You know we used to have diaries when we were growing up. In secondary school, form one, I had this diary that I wrote things in, so I wrote about my first kiss and my dad saw it. Oh! Wahala came to dine with me that day, even my mum was in trouble because he said she wasn’t talking to me. I almost died. I will always remember that day. Do you know what he did? He gave it to me to start reading. Often times after I must have finished cleaning his room, I would just pick up my homework and start doing it. Unfortunately for me, I forgot it on his table. I can never forget that day. The only trouble I got into with my mum was when I didn’t do the dishes or cleaned where I should. My mum is very lenient, all she would say to me was, “If your papa come, if you no clean this place, hian,” I love her very much. The other times I got into trouble with her was when I went to a party and didn’t come home in time. She would scold me. At a point I was scared for myself because people would come to me and ask if I was a half-caste, I was scared because I had so many people around me. But for my mum’s constant advice that kept guiding me, I was able to turn out well. If I still have the chance again, I would want her to be my mum.
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When you were growing up, as a teenager, what did your mum tell you about boys?
She told me that if a boy touches me that I would get pregnant. “If they touch you like this you go get belle oo, if man dey come just pass this place.” You know all those kinds of things. When I started to menstruate, she taught me how to go about it and many other things.
You are a lover of fashion, what accessories do you fancy the most?
I love shoes, if you go check my room you will see them. I can just get into anything but my shoes have to be on point, my slippers, my sandals they have to be on point.
What will you never be caught wearing on the red carpet?
May be skirt because I’m comfortable with jeans. I can wear jeans to red carpet but skirt? No. I’m not a skirt person.
What of short skirt because you have nice legs?
No, I don’t even do any, I just don’t like it; it’s not that I’m thinking of anything but I just don’t like it, you will never catch me wearing it. I don’t like exposing my body.
Do you use waist trainer?
No, I don’t because it is so uncomfortable. I used it once and I like to be very free when am dressed up. It’s working for many girls but I can’t.
What do you think about Nigerian designs, fabrics and the likes?
Well, they are really trying; I like African fabrics, I can do Ankara even if am going abroad. I do more of Ankara, even five to six years ago, I used to do more of Ankara to red carpet; I like African fabrics a lot.