Eniola Badmus: Living Her Dream
By Yemisi Suleiman
Making her debut on the silver screen in 2008, after she starred in the Yoruba movie ‘Jenifa’, Eniola Badmus, popularly known as “Gbogbo Bigz Girls”, has quickly established herself as one to watch. The versatile actress, who is famously known for her somewhat comic roles in Yoruba and English movies, is having an enchanted year with her recent endorsement by communications giant, Etisalat. She shares her feeling on the new role, her journey to Nollywood and more…
How does it feel being a brand ambassador for Etisalat?
Well, the Etisalat endorsement is a good one. I am quite happy about it. It gives me a feeling that people are watching what I do, which means my job has been speaking for me.
When did you discover your creative flair?
I was a member of the drama club in secondary school so my childhood actually prepared me ahead for my career. I later went to the University of Ibadan where I studied Theatre Arts. Acting, for me, comes naturally. It has always been part of my life; even while I was in secondary school, I cracked jokes a lot during break period. My school mates would book me ahead of time to crack them up in their various classes. It got to the extent that some people will pay me 100 naira to crack them up and dance for them while some will buy me lunch just to make them laugh in their classes.
I had two friends back then, Tope Amao and Jibola Lagundoye, who acted like my managers and they would collect money from my school mates. Some they gave me, some they kept for themselves but that did not bother me. I was happy making people laugh. Jibola Lagundoye remains my best friend till now.
How would you describe your first time in front of the camera?
My first time in front of the camera wasn’t scary because I have always been an actor all my life so I didn’t see it as a big deal.
How did you eventually broke into the movie industry?
I did not find it difficult to break into the movie industry because I was focused and I followed my dream.
You are known more in the Yoruba movie sub-sector. Is it that you don’t like English movies?
I love both English and Yoruba movies. But to me, Yoruba movies are more challenging because to do an indigenous movie means you have to read your lines in Yoruba. Again, with Yoruba movies, I was able to learn lots of proverbs and adages. I also learnt a lot of Yoruba cultural values and some cultures I never knew before now. English movies, for me, are a bit easy because English is our lingua franca; all I need to put in is just the act and my fans in Africa and across are able to relate with me.
Who are your mentors in the industry?
Yes, I have mentors in the industry; the likes of Joke Silva and Taiwo Ajai-Lycett etc.
What is your view about the movie industry as it is now?
I think the industry is getting better by the day, at least better than what it used to be 10 years ago. I believe the industry needs investors so movie makers can continue to produce better films and also be able to pay artistes well because if they are well paid, they will be encouraged to do more.
What challenges do you face as an actor?
I really do not see anything challenging anymore; days of challenges are over because I have been doing this for sixteen years. If challenges occur, I still believe I will overcome them.
What was growing up like for you?
My growing up was a beautiful one. I was born into the family of Badmus Ogunsina. I was properly trained and well cultured like any other proper girl. We were taught to love ourselves and never discriminate against anyone. I come from a large family of 21 children and I am the 13th. We all eat together as one family; some of us go on vacation together during Summer and we all wine and dine together.
You are known more for your comic roles?
I am a versatile actor. I think I can play any role, not just comedy. It’s just that producers like to stereotype. When they find out that you are good in a particular role, they tend to stereotype you but I can play any role.
You were on the runway for Africa Fashion Week Nigeria. What was the inspiration?
Partaking in the fashion week was a great one for me because a lot of people tend to look down on the plus size people. So, it was about encouraging the plus size people out there; to let them know that the fact that they are big does not mean that they can’t be heard.
What is fashion like for you?
I wear what I like and what makes me comfortable.
How does it feel being a plus size actress?
Well, it has not been easy for me; the rate at which people criticize the plus size people. As for me, I am never bothered about what people say. I am only bothered about my life, career and household because the more you listen to criticism, the more it breaks you.
My advice to plus size people out there is never listen to criticism but always eat right and keep fit to keep the heart going.
So, what’s next for Eniola Badmus?
I have loads of things I am working on right now. I will be shooting two movies back-to-back before the year runs out. I also have my TV series coming up soon and my comedy skit shortly after.
What do you have to say to your fans?
To my fans out there: I love them very much. They are the reason I’m here today; without them, there is no Eniola Badmus. I am using this medium to say a big ‘thank you’ for always choosing Eniola Badmus as their wonderful and favourite actress.