Eniola Badmus, popularly known as Gbogbo Bigz Girls, has earned her place in the highly competitive Nigerian movie industry as a crossover actress. Best known for her role as a street urchin, the actress who reveals that she creates her own slangs and keeps them in a repertoire, in this interview with MERCY MICHAEL, talks about varied issues among which is her relationship with Bimbo Thomas and Funke Akindele.
YOU don’t favour your critics? The moment they try to sound negative you take them to the cleaners. Do you get furious easily?
No I don’t. It’s just that I don’t tolerate intimidation from anyone. In other parts of the world people commit suicide at times because of intimidation. When you allow yourself to be intimidated then depression comes in and when depression comes you want to harm yourself. So for that reason I don’t allow anybody to intimidate me or intimidate anyone around me. I just don’t like it. I hate negative vibes. If I have a friend and she tries to sound negative I keep a distance.
I want happy people around me. But to answer your question, in recent times, I have engaged my critics for making my business theirs. I am not the biggest person in the world now or am I? I don’t know why they keep commenting on my size. We all can’t be slim and I like me just the way I am so they should please leave me the hell alone. I am sexier than some slim people. I mean I’m surprised that people can make it an issue.
But in all honesty, is a weight reduction programmes an option for you?
No, already I exercise to keep fit and I am fit the way I am. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am healthier than a lot of slim people. But that is not to say I don’t exercise. I do. In fact, I love swimming.
Even, if your man says so?
No I can’t lose weight for any man. Any man who doesn’t like me the way I am can as well keep a distance. Why must I even lose weight for a man? What if I lose weight and I find someone else and he says I want you to add weight for me then I will add weight again for the person. It doesn’t make any sense. Everybody can’t like you so if you don’t like me just stay away.
Any plans for a plus-size foundation?
No, but if I must do anything for the plus-size, it has to be clothing the plus-size. I am a very trendy and up to date babe. I have that urge to cloth the plus-size because it’s what I’m good at. If you are a plus-size and you have a problem putting your wardrobe together you can contact me and I will do a good job on that. I know what fits and what’s trendy at the same time.
You must have been very courageous to have dared to wear a bikini recently?
I don’t like all this questions that bothers on my size. Abi am the biggest person in the world? Were they expecting me to wear a night wear like am wearing now to the pool? Na wa for Nigerians sef. I wore what was appropriate and still they are making funny comments. I didn’t even wear a bikini and yet they won’t stop talking.
Tell us about life after Gbogbo Bigs girls?
I won’t lie to you it has been wonderful. It has opened doors for me and most of the scripts that have come have come because of the success of that movie. I guess I am good at what I do. I try to interpret my role to the best of my ability, whether it’s English movie or Yoruba movie.
There is a movie I just finished playing; it’s an Emem Isong production. I put in my all; the director really stretched me to the limits. In fact, if I don’t win an award for that movie, I will be shocked. That movie stretched me truthfully. I acted the wife of Okon.
How were you able to pull off some of those stunts in Omo Ghetto and the likes of them?
Actually, I take my time and go to those areas I can learn one or two street attitudes from. But I actually don’t borrow their slang; I create mine and it is unique to me. I actually have a book where I write them out. The way song writers write songs that is the same way I write down my slangs. Scripts after script, it is the same thing.
Why is it that you never play gentle roles whether it’s English or a Yoruba movie?
I guess because producers feel they like the way I play the roles. But I’m a consummate actress and I can interpret any character that’s given to me.
Was acting your childhood dream?
Yes, that’s why I studied Theatre Arts. I have always wanted to be an actress. Right from my secondary school days, I’ve always been active in drama. So when I finished secondary school, I just went for Theatre Arts. Although I later went to study Economics, I did that because I had time on my hands then and besides, I didn’t know it had anything to do with mathematics.
I hate mathematics so much. In our first year there wasn’t anything like that but in our second year, we took Statistics as a borrowed course. I hated it so much. I didn’t like calculation but I managed to graduate somehow.
But it is mostly believed that acting alone cannot put food on the table?
For me, acting is all I do apart from the fact that I also compere events. But acting majorly is what puts food on my table.
You’ve not been linked with any male in your industry, is it that you can’t date an entertainer?
If I say I have not dated anybody in my industry you won’t believe me anyway, so let’s just say I’ve been dating but maybe you haven’t found out. And if I’ve been dating someone all this while in this industry and you haven’t found out or anyone else hasn’t found out, then I must be perfect. I must have been covering my tracks well then. But in this industry most of my friends are the opposite sex.
It has always been like that even before I came into Nollywood. I feel comfortable hanging out with my male friends. Not that I don’t like my ladies, I do but most times, I just find myself in the midst of guys. I have more male friends than female friends.
Why do some people believe that you are not friendly?
Anyone who thinks I’m not friendly is just beefing. Yes, because if you know me well, you will know I’m an extrovert and that simply means I get on along very well with people. I am a very simple person too; infact, I hate it when I see someone just sitting quite. I want to know what is wrong and cheer the person up. I am a very simple and trust me; those people who think I’m not friendly haven’t met me.
Who are you pals in the industry? Bimbo Thomas said you are her pal…
You see Bimbo Thomas and Funke Akindele; those two are more than friends to me. They are like my sisters; we are close as if you pick a strand of my hair it could be Bimbo Thomas’ and if you pick another strand, it could be Funke Akindele’s. That is why I say they are more than friends to me. They are my sisters from another mother.
Can you recall any instance that brought tears to your eyes?
Hmmm, okay I remember a day a fan called me and said she needed my assistance. I told her I would assist her but that I needed to see her since it bothers on health. On getting to her, I was completely broken down because what she told me over the phone was milder than what I saw myself. I was close to tears as I looked at her. At the end of day, I had to give more than she asked me in the first instance. We need to be grateful for health. We need to thank God for life.
Do you have an NGO?
I don’t think I really like the idea of having an NGO. This NGO thing has been abused by some people and even soliciting for funds is hard. Beside, I’m not a loud person, whatever I do to assist people; I like it to remain with me. I don’t believe I have to go all out to let the whole world know. It should be between me and my God.
Do you believe in marriage?
Please I don’t want to answer any question on relationship. When I get to that bridge, I will cross it.
Can you have kids outside wedlock?
Don’t ask me. But I promise you, I’m not going to disappoint you. My parents are married, so definitely I have an idea of what marriage is all about.
Most of your colleagues have delved into film production. Are you also toeing that path?
Really, I’m working on something before the end of the year, but I don’t want to talk about it for now. It is definitely going to come before the end of this year.
What do you do in your spare time?
I read a lot. I don’t know if it’s a bad habit but I read anything I can lay my hands on. I like to know a little about everything. I just finished reading a book titled tribute to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was given to me by my mother Senator Oluremi Tinubu. I call her my mother.
Every now and then we hear of entertainers falling ill and having to solicit for funds for such people can be challenging sometimes. What’s your take on this?
I think we should all learn to take a health insurance. I have a health insurance worth 1m and I have other health insurances that are not as expensive as that. Truth is, most of us are ignorant about the opportunities around us.
Government has provided some health schemes that we can buy into. They are not expenses but most of us are ignorant of them. I have a health insurance that covers me in the whole of 36 states in the federation. They are so many of them but you need to read about it for you to know about it. Look at OJB for instance; see how long it has taking to raise the money needed for this treatment. I feel so sorry for him and I pray that the operation is a success by the time it is done. There have been talks about a health insurance in the entertainment industry but before then, we can on our own take on an affordable health insurance scheme.