Linda Ejiofor Suleiman, is famed for her role in the popular TV soap, Tinsel. Bimpe, as she is fondly called by her fans, is currently one of Nollywood’s delights. Since her debut movie role in ‘The Meeting’, she has been enjoying attention from all quarters. She got wedded to her co-star Ibrahim Suleiman. In this interview with OMONIYI ALLI, Linda bares it all.
You have always maintained a clean slate in the industry, with no controversy, how have you been able to maintain consistency?
I always remember the family that I come from. I think ‘would they be proud of me if I do this?’ So even if bad publicity is also publicity, I just don’t want it attached to my name.
How were you able to keep your marriage plans from the media?
Did I? I am a private person and my marriage and relationships are my private life which I like to keep low. Thank God that I married my love and I have quit spinsterhood for good.
How did your journey into acting start?
Before I entered the University of Port-Harcourt, River State to study Sociology, I had done a diploma course in Theatre Arts at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. I think I was at the University of Ibadan for about three months. However, when I was getting into the groove and enjoying it, my father pulled me out. He said, ‘No daughter of mine will go into acting’. You know, if God has a plan for you, His plan will always set the motion. So, here I am as an actress again with his full support and I have made him proud.
How did you come to play Bimpe in Tinsel?
At first, I hated the character, the role and everything about her because she was just dumb. When I read my script and saw all the stupid things she had to do and the stupid questions she asked, I just concluded that she was dumb and sarcastic. She was supposed to know the answers to the questions, but she never got it. So, I was always complaining to the director. But the writer kept telling me to enjoy the character. He would say the only way to love the character is to enjoy the character; and before I knew it, I started enjoying the character. So, I had to go and watch a lot of dumb movies like Legally Blonde. At a point, I had to go and watch Devil Wears Prada because I had to be Brenda’s P.A. I had to research how to be like these people.
What is the transition into many characters you portray in different movies?
The transition is always the same every time. Every time I am on a new set, it’s the same feeling because I don’t know the people I am going to be working with. I have never worked with the director or my fellow cast I am working with, so I would always be nervous whenever I start a new production with other people. I would always be nervous because it was a new character that I have never played. The roles are usually different from Ejiro and The Meeting’, Halima in ‘soldier Story’ or the role I played in ‘Rumour Has It”. Every time I get on set, I am always shaking
You acted alongside veterans in ‘Chief Daddy’ how were you able to fit into the role given?
It is hard. It is really hard. As actors, we would need a lot of time to fit into the character but we didn’t have that much time. We had to go and watch movies with other people that have acted the character. Not watching American movies, we had to watch our local content. I play the role of a prostitute in a recent movie where a friend did a documentary on prostitution and that helped us as well. It was cool because we had to speak Pidgin English so it was good. I had done ‘Out of luck’ where I spoke Pidgin English, so it was so much fun having to speak it again.
So, what’s your dream role now?
I’ve always wanted to try multi personality disorder. In other words, I would like to act as two or three people at the same time. Yes, it is not easy, but it’s something I will love to play because I think being good is overrated. Too many people are playing good roles; so, I want to do something else.
What is the best thing that acting has given you?
We hide behind a lot of characters. There are a lot of things that we would want to play out in person but we can’t do. Acting has given me the opportunity to play different people whenever I want to, and the fact that I can interact and pass information to people watching in front of a camera.
What is the most embarrassing thing a fan has done or said to you?
Someone saw me outside and she said, ‘Hi Bimpe’ and she goes ‘you are actually small in person, and I just smiled. Another person, a guy who sometimes doesn’t know how to hug and take pictures, he actually put his hand on my low waist. I had to tell him, ‘guy, it’s not there, please take your hand up’. You just have to set boundaries.
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What memories of your childhood days do you love the most?
First, we are five, I had brothers and sisters who I could talk to and play with, I also had my father who tells us folk tales at night, you know all those things at night when you are sleeping or you are about to go to bed and there is no light and you just surround your father. My father told us stories, he said this is what we usually get when we are in the village with our parents and children will surround us, and we will gather around him and tell us stories. My father told us stories and we learnt a lot from the tortoise and the lion and monkeys and we sang some songs, some folk tale songs and it’s not like what children get now, it’s not the same thing, and I pray that my father sees his grandchildren because I will so love him to say those stories to them because I could not remember how to sing those songs but I will love for him to sing those songs for us.
Would you say at this point in your career you have arrived?
No, I haven’t, and I have not learnt anything yet and am still learning, it’s the same way they say life is a learning process, I am still learning, I haven’t arrived and am nowhere arrived.
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