Saturday, 30 January 2016

Ace actress, Fathia Balogun, now Williams, tells
Ademola Olonilua about her style and career
You have been consistent in gracing the television
screen ever since you shot into limelight, what has
been your secret?
Sincerely, I don’t know and that is the honest truth.
But I know I love my job. I think what has helped
my career is that I follow the trend and I am a very
inquisitive person. I always want to know
everything that is going on both in the music and
movie industry; maybe that is what is keeping me.
I know it is the grace of God that has been keeping
me because there is nothing special about my
acting. There is nothing I do that anybody cannot
do.
Speaking of being relevant and rebranding, was
that the reasons you went back to school?
Yes. To be sincere, I have always nursed the
ambition to go back to school because I just have
my Ordinary National Diploma and to me, that is
not enough considering where I plan to take my
brand to in future. I have been planning it for years.
I first got admission into the University of Ibadan
about three years ago but because of my tight
schedule, I could not enrol. It would have been
difficult and I know that I have to be on the ground
every day. That was why I cancelled it. I saw this
is an opportunity for me and I embraced it
wholeheartedly.
How has it been going back to school, being a
celebrity in the midst of younger ones?
To be honest, it is not easy because right now, I
am starting my exams by February and I have not
had time to read. The first semester was very cool
because I wasn’t really working then, so I could
attend lectures and I did my practical. I sat for the
exams and it was okay. But this semester has not
been easy and I have not gone to class more than
three times. It has not been easy but I thank God
because I am catching up.
Some people would have thought you would be
given preferential treatment and you would not
take studying seriously…
Olabisi Onabanjo University is not like that,
especially in my department, Theatre Arts. My
HOD once told me that I have to read because
there is nothing like celebrity status in school.
Personally, I would be ashamed of myself if I have
to rely on other students to teach me. I want to
read and pass my exams, so there is no such
thing as preferential treatment. I am seen like
every other student.
How has it been juggling between your career,
academics and being a single mother?
It is not easy at all but I am able to do it with the
grace of God. I was brought up in a disciplined
manner. My father is an ex-soldier and he is a
very strict man. If you ask my colleagues about
me, they will tell you I am very strict. Some will
say that I am arrogant but that is not who I am. I
am a very strict and blunt person.
The way I was brought up is the same way I train
my kids. I don’t think I have ever beaten my kids;
all I do is to talk to them. I don’t hit them and thank
God they do what I want.
But some people really believe that you are a
proud and arrogant lady?
I often hear when people say that I am arrogant
but I think if you are close to me, you will see that
I don’t have an iota of arrogance in me. I am very
blunt and I will tell you as it is in my mind because
that is the way I was brought up. I won’t be able to
sleep without saying what is on my mind. I think it
has helped me in life because I will just tell you I
don’t like what you are doing and what you are
doing is wrong because I can never pretend.
Did your father ever kick against your career
choice being a strict soldier?
Yes, he was against my decision to become an
actress. He did not begin to support me till about
two years ago. Back then, whenever I visited him
and people began to hail me, shouting, Fathia
Balogun, he would say ‘please don’t do that in my
house; just go and do your thing out there’. But
recently when he visited me and he was watching
one of my films, Simisola Otelemuye, he did not
know when he began to say to himself that his
daughter is intelligent. I was not around but I was
told he was saying it out loud and when I came
back, my siblings told me that daddy was so happy
about my movie. I was surprised because he never
showed interest and he doesn’t watch movies.
Before then, he never watched any of your
movies?
No, even when they say Fathia Balogun outside, he
would ask me if I am a star like Sharon Stone and I
would tell him I am more than Sharon Stone. When
he came around for Christmas, he was so proud of
me and he prayed for me. He said he didn’t know
that I am a big movie star. We took him for dinner
and even at the restaurant, everybody was hailing
and asking for pictures and autographs. I think
with that, he appreciates me more. Because of that,
I have decided to bear the family name because
most of my family members want me to make our
family name a strong brand. Now, my father is
really proud of me but at the beginning, he was not
interested.
Was that the reason why you adopted your maiden
name back or what?
I don’t want to talk about that.
How do you feel now that your father has accepted
your career choice about 20 years later?
Well, I think every parent wants their children to go
to school and my father is no exception. He wanted
me to be an accountant when I was growing up but
I was not good at mathematics. I went to study
Law and I have my diploma in Law from Kwara
State Polytechnic but he was still not happy about
it. When I was there, I was still doing films till after
a few years when I left for the UK and he was very
angry that I didn’t finish my education.
When I broke into the Nigerian movie industry, my
father asked me why I would do that because he
wanted his first daughter to be a graduate. He said
that he wanted to have a big graduation party for
me. So my going back is just for my father to be
proud and see that I went to school. For him to see
my work and be proud, I think that alone is glories.
What made you shave your hair?
About three years ago, I got tired of the Brazilian,
French hair, and other extensions, so I decided to
go back to my natural hair. I did a movie a while
ago and I had to cut my hair. Ever since I cut my
hair, I have been enjoying the feeling.
What will you never be caught wearing especially
on the red carpet?
Maybe a skirt because I am very comfortable with
a pair of jeans, I can even wear jeans on the red
carpet but skirts especially short ones is a no go
area for me. I am not a skirt person.
Why don’t you like short skirts?
I just don’t like it and you will never catch me
wearing it. I don’t like exposing my body.
Is that why you always wear a flowing gown?
Not really. When I was growing up, I knew I had
bow legs and I did not like it. That is one of the
reasons I don’t like wearing skirts. Aside that, I
don’t like exposing my legs or my stomach or any
part of my body, maybe it is the way my father
brought me up because you can’t do that in my
father’s house, you can’t wear mini skirt.
What is the biggest fashion mistake you have
made?
I think the only time that happened was at the
Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice award in 2015, and
that was the first time in my life that I would not
design my clothe for an event. My fans didn’t really
like my clothe and I was not too happy because it
was a very expensive dress made by a popular
and prestigious brand.
Whenever your fans on social media criticise you
on your dressing, how do you feel?
I do laugh it off because I can’t insult them back.
They brought me this far in life, so I will just play
along with them but I won’t answer them.
Would you dye your hair to black when it turns
grey?
I have never dyed it and even when everything is
grey, I will leave it. Grey hair is not only as a result
of old age; I had a friend in secondary school that
had grey hair. My mother believes that it is when
you think too much that you will begin to have grey
hair and I think a lot because I have so much I
want to achieve in just a few months from now.
I cannot dye my hair because I want to flaunt my
grey hair. If I don’t dye my grey hair, it will not stop
anybody from talking to me or from giving me
anything.
What is your thought on ladies that bleach their
skin, especially artistes?
I think it is a personal issue. It is your business if
you are black and you want to become light
skinned. At times, I wish I had dark skin because it
is not easy to maintain fair skin. I am not saying
that dark-skinned people have it easy either
because they also owe it to themselves to make
sure that their skin glows and looks radiant. But
the stress cannot be compared to that of a light-
skinned person.
I don’t see anything bad in bleaching because it is
their life and they can decide to be green or blue.
Really, it is their choice.
How about tattoos, can you inscribe more on your
skin?
I had tattoos even before I came into the movie
industry. I got them when I used to live in the UK.
So, to me, I didn’t see tattoo as anything until I
came back to Lagos and realised people saw it as
a big deal. I think it is part of art and fashion. I had
mine a long time ago and it is my kids’ initials that
were inscribed on my body. That was long time
ago before tattoo started trending. I can’t even
have any addition but if I do, nobody will know.
What is that fashion item you can’t do without?
My lip gloss, I don’t like when my lips are dry and
cracking. Regardless of where I am, I will turn
back home or get one in a store.
What is your fashion fetish?
I love shoes, if you check my room, you will see
them, I can wear anything but my shoes have to be
tasteful, same with my slippers and my sandals.
Do you use waist trainer?
No, I don’t because it is so uncomfortable. I used it
once and that was the end. I like to be very free
when I am dressed up. The waist trainer is
working for ladies but I can’t use it.
What of bum pad?
Why should I wear bum pad when my natural bum
is enough? I don’t need it but if anybody wants to
wear it, it is a free world.
How do you relax?
I sleep a lot and I watch movies. I can be in my
room for eight hours and won’t come outside.

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