I’d always wanted to act, says chemist –turned actress

Fast rising Kannywood actress, Aisha Umar Mohammed, is a graduate of Chemistry from Kano State University of Science and Technology, Wudil. In this interview with ALIYU ASKIRA, she reveals the challenges actresses face in the industry, their personal lives and much more.

What is your background and how did you come to be an actress?

My name is Aisha Umar Mohammed and I am from Kano state. I had my primary, secondary, and university education in Kano.
My mother and my father are still alive and when I wanted to start acting about four and half years ago, I sought their permission and blessings and they agreed, but insisted that I must finish my education.

You are just 20 years old and you have already graduated from the university?

What do you mean? I am from a well to do family. I went to the best nursery, primary and secondary schools. I passed my papers with flying colours and as I am speaking to you I have just graduated from Kano State University of Science and Technology Wudil where I bagged my degree in chemistry. I am waiting to commence my National Youth Service assignment.

In the North today, the issue of girls getting married as teenagers is no longer in vogue. We now have leaders, especially our new emir, a man who has all the qualifications in the world, insisting that women should not be restricted to kitchen alone.

The past administration of Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso had also done a lot to give priority to female education, so don’t be surprise that I graduated at the age of 20.

How did you join Kannywood and what has the experience been for you?

Well, the interest has been there for long, and when I was ready to start acting I met one Sani Indomie, who assisted me and linked me with the stakeholders in the industry.

When I started, honestly, I found things easy because the people in the industry are friendly and very accommodating.
So far, I have featured in about 10 successful films. I was in Tafaru Takare with popular actors and actresses like Aminu Momoh, Hadiza Aliyu Gabon and Hafsat Idris.

I was also in Barauniya, in which the king of Kannywood, Ali Nuhu, played the lead role, and on my part, I did not disappoint myself because I was not nervous when I featured alongside popular actors and actresses.

In Umar Sanda, I was quite jittery because I was given the role to kill somebody in the film though it was in self-defense, because he wanted to mess up with me. Though it was a film, I later felt bad as if I actually killed somebody in real life.

What is your take on the perception that actresses in Kannywood are cheap?

I found the industry very clean. We have men and women of excellent behaviour in the industry. I can tell you in all honesty that nobody has insisted on taking advantage of me before giving me a role.

We have people with vast Islamic knowledge here, we have people with degrees, masters, and even doctorate. Things have changed here tremendously, and even in terms of film quality the industry now produces very qualitative films because they now have better equipment.

Even the pay is good as compared to other professions. This is a place where you will get your pay before you even start work, as such I advise people to come and invest heavily in the industry because they will definitely reap profit.

Do have plans to marry in the nearest future?

You have just touched a vital point or issue in my life. I am ready to settle down as quickly as possible. I am now a graduate and I am doing fine in the industry. I am a Muslim from a very good family, so if the right person comes my way any moment from now you will see my wedding card.
I am in a serious relationship with a guy outside the industry, though we are not discussing marriage yet, the truth is, left to me I want to get married and I don’t have a specific choice as long as the person can take good care of me.

However, he should be tall, black and very warm and lovely, but this does not mean short guys should not try their luck, after all it is God that created us the way we are.

So, will you accept role in Nollywood movies?

I can act anywhere if it will not involve kissing, hugging, open romance or any other thing that goes against my religion and culture.

In fact, if my children decide to also take to acting I will allow them, but after they must have acquired the best education though subject to the approval of their father.

If you have the opportunity to change anything in Kannywood, what will you change?

I will make sure that not every kind of person will come here and act. Some ladies come around desperate to be in the industry with all kinds of temptations like compromising their body so that they can be given roles.
These are the kind of people that give us bad name. I refused to make many friends here, in fact my only good friend here is Yaseera Babangida Yola.

In the cause of film making, I have visited many states in Nigeria and in all these places people treat me with respect. We also need to change our costume because some ladies these days use their own dresses on stage and you see them exposing sensitive parts of their bodies, which is against our religion.

The script writers should also write decent scripts that will produce educative films not the type that will embarrass us.

Now as a graduate of Chemistry at the age of 20, very decent and religious suitors will come around, but people will start shouting that how can they marry an actress.

Some people see us as cheap items and come to us for their own selfish interest. If they discover that we are not like that, they will come up with marriage issue and when they get what they want after the marriage, they will start creating problems to throw us out and people will start shouting that Hausa actresses don’t stay in marriage because they have been exposed to good things of life.

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