Allure Cover: Belinda Effah – The Blooming Star
Words By – Rotimi Agbana
Ever since her debut on television in the 2005 series, Shallow Waters, award-winning Nollywood beauty, Belinda Effah has been on a steady rise to fame. And from the look of things, the Gnetics and Bio-technology graduate of the University of Calabar, is determined to take her career to the highest point possible. With a wealthy filmography to her credit, coupled with credible awards to further set her on the right pedestal, she is currently headed for another phase of life, as she recently ventured into the foodstuff business.
In this exclusive interview with Vanguard Allure, the presenter, talks about her acting career, business, and other sundry issues.
The first half of 2019 has just ended. How has the year been for you?
The first half of 2019 I must say has been awesome; I have been a part of awesome projects I can’t wait to share with the world. I have seen my dreams gradually being fulfilled. I am attaining new levels in my career, and I can only be grateful to God.
What career achievements have you made so far?
Besides the constant jobs and the awards, it’s comforting to know that producers, marketers, and directors are willing to stake their high earned money on me, insisting they believe I am the best person to tackle a role and are willing to wait for my availability to work with me. That, for me is a huge accomplishment and achievement.
You recently ventured into filmmaking, what prompted that and what has the experience been like?
Yes, I recently produced my very first movie titled, Miracle. I felt it was time. I had been working on it for over five years, raising funds for it was quite challenging but then, it happened. I really want to use this movie as a tool of change and empowerment for our young people. So far, it’s been a very interesting journey which I am grateful for, and it’s been a learning curve for me as well. I can’t wait to share with the world what we were able to cook.
What are the major challenges Nigerian, female movie producers face?
I really don’t see any challenges with female producers; as a matter of fact, I think the women are equally up to par with the male producers if not taking over. Women are natural caretakers, home makers etc. So they bring that expertise into production which makes it more awesome. Women are very meticulous and pay attention to details. They see things that men might not see and take care of them before going on production.
Can you tell us about your new project?
The project I will love to share right now is Locked; a movie on mental health. It will be opening in cinemas on August 9th 2019. It stares Hilda Dokubo, Sunny Neji, Charles Granville, Abayomi and I. It’s a must watch, directed by Simon Peacemaker.
You recently played the role of a Northern lady in the movie, Haram, what was the experience like?
I totally loved working on that project. It’s quite different from anything I have done before. Plus it came with its own difficulty. In all, I gave my best and I hope the audience liked it. Haram is a family story centered on a Muslim family and its complexities. It’s quite different from anything you have seen. Trust me, you will love this one. It was directed by the great Andy Boyo, a veteran thespian.
From your experience as a seasoned actress, what should be done to improve the industry?
Can I say everything? Well, attention should be paid to details regarding every facet of the industry; from scripting, to makeup, to costume, to location, to props, equipment, cast and crew etc. The quality of all these will add to production value. Then, importantly, there should be unity among producers to solve the ongoing distribution problem. Distribution is a major problem that needs to be looked into. We have the population yet, very limited distribution networks. We need to unilaterally, come up with a lasting solution where everyone can benefit from. This can also be a revenue spinner in years to come. Royalty will be earned from a movie forever with proper structures in place.
You’re also into food stuff business, what inspired that?
I am a big food lover. Having access to good food has always been of importance to me. So I decided to make business out of what I love. Food lovers like me can have access to good food at their convenience. Favor-Right Foods @favorrightfoods was borne from this.
What are the challenges running such a business in Nigeria?
Power is a major challenge; the running cost is swallowed up mostly by alternative power supply (generator). Most times, it consumes your profit. Manpower is another problem. A lot of youth are not willing to start small and grow a business. These are the two most important among others.
How lucrative is the business?
It’s quite lucrative if done properly. It’s food and it’s a necessity for everyone. If done right, it will generate very good income.
How do you source for your wares?
I source for all my food items from the local markets within Lagos, Calabar and environs.
For a person just starting this line of business, what are the key notes that should be taken?
Make Sure you create at least 80% time to spend on the business.
What should be expected of you for the remaining part of 2019?
Expect bigger projects, endorsements, more productions, youth empowerment programs, charity/giveback to the society.
How do you find time to relax as a businesswoman/actress?
I create time out of no time to rest. I need the rest because our work is more mental and if not properly managed, it could cause serious health hazard. I ensure I take out time to take care of myself and rest. I am a work out buff so I don’t joke with my work out routine. It calms and relaxes me and then, I drink a lot of water.
Do you have a special beauty routine to maintain your youthful glow?
My beauty routine is to ensure I don’t keep makeup on my face overnight, use a good scrub and moisturizer all the time.
Where is your best holiday destination?
Somewhere in Africa, Europe, United States. I love to explore.
How would you define your style?
Simple and Elegant.
Who is your best Nigerian designer?
Amazlena Couture! She understands me and sews to perfection.
Which designer outfit do you crave to wear?
House of Belinda, I will be starting a fashion line soonest.
Can you recall any red carpet embarrassing moment?
On a popular award event where I was nominated, I was waiting to be interviewed on the live show and they told me I couldn’t be interviewed because they had a list of people they had been told to interview. It was so embarrassing being that I was a nominee. In life things come around as I believe it will someday very soon. So I took it with a pinch of salt.
Which do you prefer, heels or flats?
Depending on the occasion, both will suffice.