How do you feel starring in Sons of the Caliphate which is clearly your first big break in Nollywood?
I feel so great and happy to have been featured in the series. I have actually worked so hard for it. The 13-part drama series promises to take the audience on a journey into the rich, cultural and flamboyant aristocratic lifestyle of Northern Nigerian. I played the role of Binta Kutigi a confident, intelligent, witty and composed Northern “chick” who is stylish, elegant and yet traditional. I starred alongside Patrick Doyle, Mofe Duncan, and Sani Muazu.
What does featuring in a mainstream Nollywood production mean to you as a Kannywood actress?
I have featured in quite a number of Nollywood productions but Sons of the Caliphate is a bit challenging because it was an 11-week shoot. I enjoyed working the cast and crew. The only difference may be the language we spoke and perhaps production quality.
What do you consider as the most challenging aspect of the production?
Having to read my lines in English language and I wasn’t accustomed to playing an English role so this was a bit challenging. I am used to playing a Hausa girl in a movies so this felt a bit awkward at first but I picked up pretty fast.
What keeps you going as actress in the face of challenges?
Focus, determination and just being myself have helped me pull through. I also avoid getting entangled in things that will create scandals for me as an actress. You know the Northern part of Nigeria where I hail from is a bit traditional and very keen on values.
So, how did you react to your recent ban?
I wouldn’t want to talk about it. The love I receive from fans, friends and family everyday is really encouraging and has kept me focused.
Do plan to move to Lagos and feature in more Nollywood productions?
I am not looking to cross over to Nollywood as such but all I am after is how best to strike a balance between both Kannywood and Nollywood. I believe an actor is an actor irrespective of the industry or language difference. The only challenges we have in Kannywood are our culture and traditions, which we hold dearly, and cant go against. Aside from that we have quite a few similarities with Nollywood including the storyline.
Do you see yourself as brand that is willing to change certain Northern Nigeria stereotypes?
Well, we are born into the culture and I can’t say I can change culture but I have to be careful with what I do. An actor is an actor and this has got nothing to do with religion.
Why did you decide to go into acting?
I was born and designed to be an actor. In secondary school I actively participated in drama clubs. I studied Business Administration at Kaduna State polytechnic.
It was stuff trying to balance school and acting because I started acting when I was in ND 2. I encountered a few difficulties when I decided to make acting a full-time profession owing to our strict Northern culture. Acting in the Northern Nigeria is a problem because our people see is a profession that isn’t normal for ladies to take up. Thankfully, all that is changing and today I am so proud that I am like a role model to others.
When did you launch your acting career?
Three years ago and my parents were against it definitely. Today, my mum is so proud and she is my greatest fan. If I weren’t an actress, I would be a model.
Are you picky about the roles you will play?
I am a typical Northern Nigerian girl and I have roles that I wouldn’t play and lines that I will never cross. I can’t go nude or wear short clothes in any movie. Whether we like it or not, I belong to the North, and most of my fans are Northerners. So, I wouldn’t do anything that will frustrate my fans or make them my enemies.
In what area do you think Kannywood is lagging behind?
We don’t have dedicated YouTube channels for Kannywood movies and this is why we have yet to gain widespread popularity outside of the North. Most of the impression that non-Kannywood fans have about our films is as a result of the Kannywood films they were used to seeing in the 1990s. We shoot newer and more sophisticated movies that most people are unaware of.
I recently told a Nollywood producer that we also have ‘black magic’ in Kannywood and he was surprised. This is largely because we don’t get to put out our most recent productions YouTube.
How do you handle male attention?
I am so dedicated to my craft and I am a hard working actress. I don’t get to give attention to the opposite s*x.
Can you marry or date a fellow actor?
Yes I can because I know he will appreciate my career better and allow me excel as an actress. If I marry a non-actor and a northerner, from the other side I will definitely stop acting.
Will you encourage a typical Hausa lady to take up a career in acting?
Yes I will and I recently launched my new production company called Sadau Pictures and all my crew is all girls. The average Northern girl think they are just women that are just kept aside or can't make a move while pursing their dreams. We have talents and potentials in the North but they are not given the opportunities to explode.
Will I be correct to describe you as being different from your peers in the North?
You are free to say that but I am just a typical Hausa girl.
Are you in a relationship?
No I am not; I am just 23 years old. You can ask me this question when I blow .
What keeps you grounded?
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