After a career lull following sojourn in the United States of America, actor cum singer Shaffy Bello is fully back to Nigeria. Making her most recent showing in the forthcoming movie, Lara and The Beat, upon her return. She’d also starred in the unique Telenovela series titled ‘Taste of Love’. The mother of two teenagers, 22 and 20 years old respectively, spoke to LANRE ODUKOYA about her sabbaticals, return to the arts and what she’d have done differently is she was younger.
In 1997 a lot of people fell in love with your personality when you featured in the song ‘Love me Jeje’, how much of that moment do you still covet?
Well, I still have lots of love to give out; but the fact remains that I am still who I am. I have grown as a person, professionally as an actor, as a singer and I only wish that as I grow older; I am still very much wiser. 1997 till date, a different person might have evolved but the true idea of the kind of person I am hasn’t 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; it’s now a matter of finding the right time. I still get a nudge in the heart to do something cosy like an MTV unplugged kind of thing
You have explored music and movie; is there is any other talent of yours the world is yet to see?
Keep watching!! One of the things in a human’s life is growth and also 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 acting, studying to be a director, producer and doing bigger things in Nollywood. However, when I feel like I want to take a break and 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-year-old daughter; sometime when I look at her, she has lots of ideas and she’d be like; ‘Mum, I feel I should have grown past this stage doing better things’. And I will go back to tell myself just like I am telling her now. It’s okay 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 manage 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 have 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 it easier. My children are not with me at the moment.
You’re over 40 and still look ravishing, what is the secret to your youthful look?
The secret is just to 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 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 to a tailor, pack your hair and look good. Always make good first impression not necessarily expensively turned out.
How do you unwind?
I listen to music, I read a lot and I love to travel.
If one is to do a search of your library what kind of books are shelved there?
Seriously, you’d find a range of suspense, drama, and romance; and also the most important books to me are those that change your life thinking, books that challenge you to think differently. I am an opera fan.
Which of the movie roles you’ve taken so far do you consider the most challenging?
I think Ovi’s Voice was one movie challenging for me, it was fun because I loved playing the character; the most challenging for me was when 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. So, I 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 characters. We are really not challenging yet in 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.
Is there any significant thing life has taught you being an actor?
Life has taught me that fame does not bring happiness. One of the things I would love to do is to approach younger girls and let them know their selfconfidence 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 a pedestal and they want to see you as hero, meanwhile we are not heroes but actors. The heroes out there are the mothers, teachers 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 mean to you?
Do wear what makes you comfortable; everybody has what suits them. Whatever makes you happy and comfortable is your style.
As a celebrity, do you patronize made in Nigeria products?
Yes, 100 percent because I am an ankara kind of person, I patronize lots of stores online for stuffs ranging from N5,000 to N10,000 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 times; if I knew what I know now, I would have made wiser choices but I believe when you know better, you do better. Spend your money right and invest but if you don’t know what to invest in buy properties, land because it will never go out of style.