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It’s tough being an actress - Belinda Effah

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Belinda Effah is fast rising in Nollywood and this may be due to her versality. She gives insight into her life as an actress, the industry and many more in this interview with MODUPE ADIJAT. Excertpts:

your latest movie entitled: ‘Alan Poza’, which premiered on March 10 portrayed you in a different light as a versatile actress.What’s your take on this?
I acted the character, Bunmi in “Alan Poza” and I felt the character was very challenging and significant for the fact that I didn’t play the major role but I was the key factor to the lead actor. The character, Bunmi is a two-edged sword. She comes with a vengance and you could call her a green snake under green grass. It was not easy for me to act the character because I didn’t have much to say in the movie, it was either I was going to get it right or not going to get it right at all.
I had a lot resting on my shoulders to pull it off because it was the heart of the story.The story involves a guy who is a player playing and messing with different girls and my character was one of the ladies he played with and he  hurt me. You won’t see me coming with a vengeance until the end of the movie.

Who   is  Belinda  Effah  and what stands you out ?
Belinda Effah is a sweet girl, intelligent and a much focused actress. I love what I do and I am also a God- loving person. Whatever I lay my hands onto, I always make sure I get the very best out of it. As an actress, I intend to take this as far as possible not only to be a movie star, but also to affect lives because Belinda Effah is a brand. If my brand is being identified with by everyone, it would open doors for  me to do things for the people. That’s who Belinda Effah is.

How has the journey been in the industry since the next Movie Star Reality TV show in 2006? What has been your experiences and your lessons?
I am surprised you remember me since 2006? It’s been challenging as I thought it was going to be a smooth sail since I was part of the Next Movie Star Housemates and one of the last outstanding housemates, though I didn’t win. I thought if I came out, something would be waiting for me but it was more difficult than when I came into the house.

 I had to fight my way and I never gave up. At a point, I had to take up a paid job because I needed the money to fend for myself between 2006 and 2008. I came back in 2011 through the first series of Tales of Eve. A lot of people can identify with that, and since then, I have done a lot of movies namely; Kokomma, Mrs Somebody, Udemi, Enquire.  The movie, Kokomma, got me nomination for the 2013 Africa Movie Awards ( AMAA). I was nominated for the Best Promising Actress and a lot of things started to fall in place because people started calling me for jobs. It shows that hard work pays.

Tell us how it all started?
I am from Cross River State with a family of 14 children besides my parents, which make us 16 altogether. I have always had the passion for the arts. When I finished from secondary school, I did JAMB and got admission to study Genetics and Biotechnology at the university. About that time, I heard the Next Movie Star was auditioning and I picked up the form. Thank God, I was one of the housemates. Before then, I used to come to Lagos because I was staying in Calabar. So, I always come to Lagos to visit my sister. I was approached by a modelling agent and I started coming to Lagos to model for them anytime they needed me. I also did some episodes of a series, Shallow Waters, till I got into the Next Movie Star.

 Tales of Eve was the series that brought you  into the limelight, you played the role of Simi, an innocent girl, who was raped and went through emotional and psychological trauma. How were you able to bring out the character in you?
I have to thank the producers of that series, Genesis Studio because they looked for me and I didn’t do any auditioning as they had finished their casting and the producers were still not satisfied until they came across my picture on the facebook and called me up. They saw that I had done some acting and gave me the lead role. Acting the role, Simi, was very challenging for me because I had left the industry for some time, but I had to deliver a deep and intense character.

 I remembered the things I was taught at the Next Movie Star and I put them into good use and the director helped me out. Everybody on set was encouraging and they made everything easier.
You have got a fan base for Tales of Eve on facebook and twitter. What’s the contrast between the character, Simi and Belinda?
First and foremost, I am Belinda before I became an actress. I would like to let people know Belinda is different from every character she plays; my personality is different from the personalities you see on screen.  I have described myself as a confident, sexy and savvy person, but I try to portray my character to the best of my ability.

In the case of Simi, I was this villager, low class, struggling girl. As an actress, I try to portray my character such that when people see me, they are like, oh, my God, are you really the same girl in Tales of Eve? Most times, people are shocked, but as an actress, I can be just anybody you want me to be, that’s just it

As an actress, do you have plan for staging programmes on women abuse following the part you acted ?
I am glad you are asking me this question I acted the victim of rape in Tales of Eve and I acted another victim in Kokomma.  After doing the movies, it dawned on me that I have acted the victim of rape twice, so what do I do with it? I believe certain things happen in life for a reason, so I set up this initiative called Belinda Advocates Against Rape and I’m partnering with an NGO called Project Alert and it sets out to enlighten young girls  about rape and the reality of it and that it could happen to anyone.

Therefore, if you see the signals, report to anyone, go to your school authorities or to the police. If you are a victim of rape, don’t let anyone shut you up because  once they take your dignity, it takes a long time to reclaim it back. The young ones are the leaders of tomorrow and they can’t be abused and be the leaders of tomorrow. Don’t allow anyone to take your life away from you because you have the authority to protect yourself before any other person.

In The Next Movie Star, you came out fifth, so has the experience shaped you to be the actress you are now?
I love what I am doing so much because it has changed me into what I am today. I just want to keep on acting and I have played a lot of different roles in different ways and told different stories. With Kokomma, people walked up to me and say I did a good work there, that’s what I want to hear. I want to do something for our society to help, that’s my satisfaction. I want to make an impact, it’s not every day I do a story that is so deep.

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