By: MUTIAT ALLI
Her unique voice reminds us of her role in the melodious track, Love Me Jeje, Love Me Tender. Have spent some times in the United State of America, Shaffy Bello Akinrimisi is fully back to Nigeria and has featured in quite a number of movies one which was her role as Adesua in the unique Telenovelas series ‘ Taste of Love’ . Shaffy is equally a wife and mother of two teenagers (22 &20 respectively) who are based in the USA; despite been over 40, the quintessential lady of the screen still wax stronger each day. In this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, she talks transmission from being a musician to an actor, her role in soon to be released movie ‘ Lara and the beat’, secret to her youthful look, style amongst others.
What character are you playing in the coming movie ‘Lara and the Beat?
Well I play the character of Jide’s mother who happened to be Nigeria’s celebrated Disc Jockey ‘DJ Xclusive’. My character in the movie loves Jide’s girlfriend but she is particular if there are wealth, if the girlfriend is worthy of her son and in all she is a woman who is particular about material things.
Known for playing loveable motherly roles, how easy or tough was it for you to pull this off?
When I was called on board, we didn’t know what shape the character will take but when I got on set I felt like I should play a very razz woman with a little bit of Lagosian kind of feature and at the end of the day we were able to achieve it. One fantastic thing about this particular role is the fact that it is one of the different kinds of feel I want to play. Although I have played such character before but Mama Jide just excites me.
Did your expectation meets with acting alongside Xclusive knowing that it’s his first time on a movie set?
Well I must commend his zeal on the job, he was willing to go beyond his comfort zone; he is indeed a sweetheart. He was a gentleman on set. I did not have many scenes in the movie but we had one day together and in that one day we made magic. He is not actor we all know because he came in feeling nervous but at the end he was amazing.
What do think attracted you to the script?
The Biola Alabi Media (BAM) name attracted me to the movie, they are known to do good work; they did Banana Island Ghost. When you see people doing great work and they have a good reputation in the industry, when they call you, you drop everything and oblige. So when they sent me script and I knew only had two scenes, I didn’t mind because I still wanted to do it. For me it not about how many scenes you have in a movie but the impact you can have even with just a scene because your one scene could actually what makes the film.
The movie touched several themes; which amongst it do you love the most?
The movie made conscious effort to touch themes that includes fashion, friendship, accountability amongst others and I must say I find all appropriate and dear to me. There is virtually everything you want to train your children on that the movie did not make reference to. It talks about relationship with people, when you fall and how do you handle it. The bottom line of this movie is that fact it touches the fact that a lot of times things don’t go the way we project it to be. I think it’s a film for everyone to see, you would love the quality of work and the people behind it.
Was there any emotional moment for you on set of the movie?
Honestly not at all because I was just on set for day while they have been shooting for over a month.
1997 a lot of people fell in love with your personality when you featured in the song ‘Love me Jeje’, how much of does moment is available to be shared?
Well I still have lots of love to give out; but the fact still remains that I am still who I am, I have grown as person personally, professionally as actor, as a singer and I only wish that as I grow older; I am still very much wiser. 1997 still date, a different person might have involve but the through idea of the kind of person I am has not still changed.
Are there still plans for you to go back into music?
Music is still very much part of me because it will never depart from me; is a now a matter of finding the right time now. I still get nudge in the heart to do something cozy like an MTV unplugged kind of thing
You have explored music and movie; is there is any other talent of yours that is yet to see?
Keep watching!! One of the things in a human’s life is growth and also I think for everyone we must learn that even when I tell you I am not doing music anymore; in a year I might decide that I want to do it. For now I am trying to be a better person in this chosen field (Acting), studying to be a director, producer and doing bigger things in Nollywood. However when I feel like I want to take a break in all that and go back to music, I will do that.
If you have the opportunity to meet your younger self, what advice would you give?
I will tell her not to be so hard on herself; there is so much more, make those mistakes. I have a 22 years old daughter; sometime when I look at her, she has lots of ideas and she be like, Mum I feel I should have grown pass this stage doing better things and I will go back to tell myself just like I am telling her now. It’s ok to make mistake now, calm down!! It’s coming and it will happen.
If your autobiography is to be commissioned today, what will the title be and why?
The title will definitely be ‘The woman who lives by grace and grace did not leave’
Despite your busy schedules, how do maintain the home front?
It’s not been easy but what works for me is the fact that I set my priorities and one of it is that I want to be there for my children and they equally respect me for what I do but the beautiful thing is that I have grown up children; you can’t compare me with actors that little children. I am at the stage where in a month we might not see but we communicate via telephone call because technology has made easier because my children are not here.
You are over 40 and still look ravishing, what is the secret to your youthful look?
The secret is just take care of yourself, I tell a lot of people when you take care of yourself; your body will thank you. I think the biggest thing also is to feel good, forget the outer layer, the inner layer is the most important I must because when a woman is truly happy and she feels she is driven by her purpose, people will see that and that is the beauty. There is no reason every woman out there should not look good, Ankara fabric out there is as cheap as a thousand naira, give it a tailor, pack your hair and look good. Always make good first impression not necessarily expensive.
How do you un-wine?
I listen to music, I read a lot and I love to travel.
If we are do a search of your library what kind of books is stocked there?
Seriously!! A range of suspense, drama, and romance; and also the most important books to me are books that change your life thinking, books that challenge you to think differently. I am opera fan.
Knowing that you acted in countless movies; which role did you find more challenging for you as a person?
I think Ovi’s voice was one challenge for me, it was fun because I loved playing the character; most challenged for me will was then I had to play a 60/70 year grandmother and they made me up but the challenging aspect of it was the fact that I needed to sound older but I dare to challenge our writers to write more challenging roles for us; don’t stigmatize actors because a character usually plays the role of mother in a movie does not mean she can’t do well in other character. We are really not challenging yet our industry.
Do you have dream roles?
Well let me just state here that I am still pregnant as an actor and I want to give birth to good characters.
One significant thing life has taught you being an actor?
Life has taught me that fame does not bring happiness; unfortunately on social media you out the good day for the best day, one of things I would love to do is to approach younger girls and let them know your self-confidence matters a lot. We all have good days and bad days; don’t ever feel that the pictures you see are who we are. Being an actor has made me realize that people want to place me on peddle stone and they want to see you as hero but meanwhile we are not heroes but actors. The heroes out there are the mothers, teacher teaching in public school, the single fathers and mothers; those are the heroes.
What is your advice to celebrities who bring up their personal issues on social media?
For me as a person, I have chosen to keep my private life private but my work life is what my social media account is all about which you will always see but whatever happens in my home is my private life. My candid advice is take your family issues off social media and put out more of your work for the world to see.
What does style means to you?
Do you what makes you comfortable; everybody has what suits them. Whatever makes you happy and comfy is your style.
As a celeb, do you patronize made in Nigeria products?
Yes!!! 100% because I am an Ankara kind of person, I patronize lots of stores online ranging from 5k to 10k which does not mean I can’t afford luxury things.
How do you manage your finances as an actor?
Well I have two children and one is out of college; so if you have kids in college and you have to send them the dollars, you will manage the account to the last dollar. I think when we were younger we made the mistake of just trying to look good at all time; if I knew what I knew now, I would have made wiser choice but I believe when you know better, you do better. Spend your money right and invest but you if you don’t know what to invest in buy properties, land because it will never go out style. For me now, I do lots of investment and most importantly I invest in my children because they are the future.