Linda Ejiofor, one of the promising Nollywood stars, is famed for her role in the popular TV soap, Tinsel. Bimpe, as she is fondly called by her fans, is currently one of the Nollywood’s delights. The actress, who landed her first movie role recently in a movie called The Meeting, has been enjoying attention from all quarters. In this interview with Mercy Michael, the graduate of Sociology from the University of Port-Harcourt, River State, speaks about her foray into the world of make-believe. She also talks about her experience on her first movie set, among other interesting issues.
You started off on a very good note in the industry, so what will you normally consider before picking up a script
I will pick up a script, if the story is good.
So, what’s your dream role now
I’ve always wanted to try multi-personality disorder. In other words, I will like act two or three people at the same time. Yes, it is not easy, but it’s something I will love to play because I think being good is overrated. Too many people are playing good roles; so, I want to do something else.
How did your journey into acting start
Before I entered the University of Port-Harcourt, River State to study Sociology, I had done a diploma course in Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. I think I was at the University of Ibadan for about three months. However, when I was getting into the groove and enjoying it, my father pulled me out. He said, ‘No daughter of mine will go into acting’. You know, if God has a plan for you, His plan will always set the motion. So, here I am as an actress again with his full support and I have made him proud.
Tinsel has made you …
(Cuts in): Yeah, Tinsel has made my father to see that acting is not such a bad thing. People learn from it; people learn from their mistakes through actors and I learn from people through acting too.
How did you come to play Bimpe in Tinsel
At first, I hated the character, the role and everything about her because she was just dumb. When I read my script and saw all the stupid things she had to do and the stupid questions she asked, I just concluded that she was dumb and sarcastic. She was supposed to know the answers to the questions, but she never got it. So, I was always complaining to the director. But the writer kept telling me to enjoy the character. He would say the only way to love the character is to enjoy the character; and before I knew it, I started enjoying the character. So, I had to go and watch a lot of dumb movies like Legally Blonde. At a point, I had to go and watch Devil Wears Prada because I had to be Brenda’s P.A. I had to research on how to be like these people.
So, how are you enjoying the role now
This is almost seven years and I don’t even have to watch anything. Somehow, I have become the Bimpe, but not the dumb, blunt side; I just go and play my role. I know how she is going to react, her looks and her facial expression.
Will you prefer acting in soaps to movies
I don’t have a preference as you may think. Both are unique in their separate ways. I won’t be choosy about which one is better, if that’s what you are asking me. I like soaps because they are showing you out there and they keep teaching you with different episodes.
Definitely, that must have landed you a role in The Meeting
Actually, I heard from the producer and director, Mildred Okwo and Rita Dominic. They had not seen me act. Rita had never seen me act and Mildred told me that I wasn’t supposed to be Ejira in The Meeting. But she said she was watching Tinsel one day and she saw me and said, ‘This is the girl I want; she is cheeky and innocent-looking; but at the same time, she is very naughty and mischievous’. She called me for a reading and I ran there because I felt they might change their mind. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I ran to her. After our meeting, I did a reading.
Was that your first auditioning
No. I was invited for other readings, but I never got the part. I heard it was a big movie and because it was Mildred Okwo and Rita Domini, I ran there and landed the job, my first movie. I picked up a call from Rita Dominic and I heard she was in the movie. I will forever be grateful to both of them.
Did you get any award for the role
Not yet, but I got nominated for the Best Supporting Actress 2013 AMAA and Best Uprising Actress for NMA, which came up recently. Also, I was also nominated for the City People Awards. I was also nominated for an award called ELOY. So, The Meeting landed us enough Awards: Rita Dominic, Femi Jacobs, the make-up artist and Mildred Okwo were all nominated. You guys should watch out for awards from The Meeting. We are coming in full force.
As you know, I had played the role of Bimbo Adekoya for about five years before Mildred called me for the Bimpe character, a very innocent and intelligent girl. But the cheeky and the naughty part wasn’t that hard. The good and sweet thing about Mildfred Okwo was that she would sit me down and explain the character, which I found really good and nice. She would call me and explain to me exactly what she wanted from the character. She would tell me to go and read books and watch movies. Rita Dominic and my fellow actors would call me and explain some things to me; so, we were one big family and we had such an understanding. If I had any problem or any suggestion about the Ejira character, I could ask Mildred Okwo. So, they were very encouraging and fun to walk with.
Now, you are one of the emerging star actresses…
(Cuts in) I was blessed with that kind of crew and it was fun working with different directors and producers. More roles are coming now …Yes, because of The Meeting and also Tinsel, which have both given me the recognition.
What new works have you been in recently
I can’t start calling names now, but I’ve done a couple of movies. Heaven ‘n’ Hell, a true life story is one of the movies I featured in. My fans should watch out for me.
How about your personality
I’m a fun-loving person. I’m very different from the Bimpe you people see on TV. Don’t get it wrong; I’m not Bimpe. I’m actually shy; I’ve been told and I think I am. I’m kind of an introvert when you first meet me. I don’t talk and I don’t smile. I’m always sitting down and watching my environment. I’m more of the watcher; I sit back and watch people. I would rather watch football. So, if I’m comfortable with you from the first time that we are meeting, I’ll be jumping on you whenever I see you and you will think I’m one crazy person.
How about your love life
My love life is personal.
Is there a man somewhere
If there is, I’m happy. Let’s just say I’m single, but not searching right now.
Who is your dream man
My dream man has to be God-fearing and he needs to have a good sense of humour.
What is style to you
Anything that is comfortable. I like anything that is comfortable; anything that will make me look pretty or that will make me look in a way that people will turn twice.
Are you planning to produce your own movie
I never thought of producing movies, but maybe that will come. As for directing, I’ll love to direct. By the special grace of God, I’ll love to go back to school and learn directing, come back and write my own movies.
How was growing up for you
It was good.
Did you grow up in Lagos
Yes; where else? I’m a Lagos girl. I grew up in Lagos and it was fun. I’m close to my parents, so I could talk to them about anything. I’m the first girl, but the second-born. I have an elder brother before me; then, a sister and then a brother and then, a sister. Six lovely people and play a lot.
Were you a tomboy
Yes, I was like a tomboy, but because of my career path, I had to drop that. I dropped that way before the career path. I did modeling and I had to wear high heels for auditions and all that. So, I was a tomboy, while growing up.
Could you tell me about your most memorable moment
The one that comes to mind and keeps flashing, and which I will ever be grateful for, was the night Rita Dominic called me. She actually called me at 2.00 a.m. to tell me that I had landed a role in The Meeting. I had to pick it up because I saw Rita Dominic; I was officially called up for the role. I was screaming and kept on saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I was awake all through, though I couldn’t wake up my parents and break the good news to them. I had to put on the TV. So, the next day, I called Mildred and told her that she won’t regret it using me in the movie. And in hindsight, I think they were grateful that they made a right choice in picking me. I’ll be forever grateful to them. The Meeting was released last year. Nowadays, people don’t do movies that they will release immediately. They have to go through editing and other post- production processes. There are other movies out there and they will have to find sponsors and all that.
Can you recall any embarrassing moment so far
I can’t recall any. No, I have not had any embarrassing moment.
How has your experience been in the movie industry
It’s okay. I have spent five to six years in the movie industry, majorly with Tinsel. My experience has been fun-filled and exciting. Money has been coming in…(smiles). We have the good days and the bad moments. One of the bad days was when we (Tinsel) lost our audio-visual facilities at Ojota as a result of fire outbreak. But it has been good. We’ve been trying to entertain people.
What makes Tinsel unique from other soaps
The picture quality and we have wonderful cameramen. The set is another great one and most importantly, the cast. What makes up a movie is firstly the director, the cast and the picture quality. As regard the movie industry, it’s improving. We are not where we were before. Though we are not up to the music industry, the movie industry is on the go, with a slow and steady growth.
How about your fans
Without your fans, you can never be where you are and you can’t be recognized or talked about. They will definitely like you on Instagram or Facebook talking about you and warming up to you, in order to take pictures with you. I will be forever grateful to my fans.
Do you still have your privacy
I enjoy my privacy when I want to. I enjoy it outside, even when a fan walks up to me. I can’t say I miss my privacy, as I don’t want to offend my fans.
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