Fatima Musa is an Abuja –based Kannywood star. In this interview with Ruth Choji, The actress who has been in the industry since 2001, told ETRAIN that she will kiss in a movie if necessary.
As one of the longest stars in Kannywood, what has been some of your difficult experiences?
I have been in the industry since 2001 and I can tell you that, it has been interesting. One of our major problems is funding and poor pay. We don’t get paid like our counterparts in Nollywood. Another difficulty is our culture which does not allow us to really express ourselves as actors.
Another difficulty is being accused as ‘loose’. We are not ‘loose’ as some people think. What we do is just to act and entertain people. Yet they will call you all manner of names. It is wrong and when we hear some of the things they say, we feel bad.
As an actress, there is this belief that actresses don’t really stay in marriage. Is this true?
It is not true. People hear and see their problems because they are in the limelight. I admit they have their own problems and are human, but that is to show you that, they are first humans before being actresses. They also go through what ordinary people go through and I can tell you that, sometimes, it is not palatable.
Being a star does not give you immunity over heartbreak or being hurt by people you love. Actresses also want to have lovely and peaceful homes like other people.
How about the notion that actresses don’t like marrying poor men
It is not true. Love has no barrier. Whether you are poor or rich, once there is love and understanding the people will definitely fall in love.
Would you marry a poor man?
Yes, why not? If I love the man and we understand each other. Our problems are that, the poor men are afraid to come near us because of our fame and position. They see us as expensive and beyond their rich. But it is not true. We all want to be happy and if a poor man can make me happy, why not. I will gladly marry him.
Apart from the Fati we see on screen, who is Fati at home?
I cannot speak for myself. I wish you will talk to people that are close to me. I am not a difficult person at all. In fact people take advantage of my softness to exploit me. So I am learning to be hard so that people will stop cheating me.
If you are living in our world and have the kind of fame we have, then you must be careful, everybody believes we are rich and so they come expecting you to give them money. But the truth is that, some of us are in the profession because of the love we have for the job not the money.
What do you dislike most in your friends?
I’m a person of my word. Once I give you my words, even if it will hurt me, I make sure that I do that which I promise. I also hate when people fail to keep their words or when people lie. It irritates me and turns me off that person. I have parted ways with many people because they couldn’t keep their words. They say one thing and do the other.
Most movie stars are seen as extravagant. What is that ‘thing’ that you spend so much money on and you have no control over it?
I believe looking good is good business. Where ever you go, you will be addressed by the way you dress. So I spend money on clothes. I wear the best any day, anytime. I make sure I stand out in any crowd because of what I wear.
I also respect people who dress well. I buy anything that will make me look good. If you want to be noticed, look good.
People will like to know about your love life, are you married?
No… I am still single but not searching. I have a good relationship, so I will say that, I am strongly attached. I am also a private person that will like to keep my personal life private. That is why I don’t like talking about it.
Going back to Kannywood , do you see it competing favourably with Nollywood sometime soon?
We are working towards that. We have our challenges for now but I believe that, with time, we will catch up and even surpass them. We have our challenge for now which is cultural, we are not allowed to even hug in movies.
When we act emotional scenes where we are expected to show emotions, we are not allowed to do it because of our culture.
How do you handle rivalry and envy among co-actresses?
Rivalry and envy are found in every sector, these are not peculiar to movie stars. I personally try to relate with everybody because the sky is big enough for all of us. I was a model before I started acting and the role I will act now will be different from the ones I acted when I was much younger.
I have no reason to be envious of another actress because we all have different talents and we can’t all play the same role. Even if I get an award today; I should know that, I didn’t do it alone. It is all part of team work. I cannot act alone and be given an award.
How many films have you acted in and which would you say are the most challenging?
I have lost count but for the most challenging, I will say it is ‘Takwayen Hawaye’. It brought out the best in me and I also could relate with the movie because it had lots of lessons for people to learn from.
Can you say that the movie industry has made you rich?
Not at all…there is no money in Kannywood. Most of us do this because we love acting. But when you talk of my money, I work with the federal government and I can tell you that, my salary is better than what I get from acting in kannywoood. Most people think we are rich because they see us in many movies, but there is no money.
You can make money in other ways than this way. Our counterparts in Nollywood make more money than us. It is also about promoting our culture; we promote and protect the Hausa culture and our religion through some of these films.
The movie industry is regarded as an all comer’s affairs. Do you think the way people rush in is good for the business?
I believe it is healthy. If others did not allow me to come in, would I have been there? So I think more people should come in, it is healthier; the sky is large enough to accommodate all of us. As much as we need professionals, we also need fresh faces to spice up the industry and also create employment for most of them.
Where do you see yourself in few years time?
I live that in the hands of God. But I believe I will be better and higher than where I am right now.
Word for your fans…
They should keep watching my movies, because we are getting better and hopefully, the industry will move from this level to the next one where it will use modern equipment. I also want my fans to tell me my mistakes anywhere, anytime so I can learn and improve.