Movie star Shaffy Bello is a very pretty lady. She is blessed with good looks. She has a lovelyface and a petite frame that will make you think she is a little girl. She is an ageless beauty, blessed with a sweet voice that captivates. Shaffy is one of the A Class actresses currently rocking the movie industry. Over the last few years, this light-skinned actress has featured in several block buster movies.
She has also featured in many cinema films. This is because she is good at what she does. She is a well trained actress, who attended Film School abroad where she honed her skills. Recently, Shaffy Bello spoke with City People about her fashion & beauty secrets, plus her acting career. Below are excerpts.
How have you been able to keep your good looks?
It is due to the Grace of God. I do the best I can. I walk from time to time. I exercise. I still take my walk. I try as much as possible to to cut down on my Cabohydrate in take. I am in an industry that is a fashion industry, a looks industry, and our looks are very important in the industry. I want to be able to be called to play the role of a 35 year old. I want to be able to be called to play the role of a 65 year old. So, I think taking care of ourselves is very important.
I eat well. I try to exercise. But you know, I still drink my alcohol and looking good is not going to take me away from that. But I think its just in the genes. I don’t abuse my body. I have a little weight problem in my family. Some of my siblings are quite big.
So, I am careful with my intake. Look, I live by being a moment on the hips, and a lifetime on the hips. (Smiles) I always believe that what you put in your mouth reflects outside. So, I try as much as possible to watch what I eat. And I exercise and use the right products on my skin. I really take care of myself. I just try to do the best that I can. I am not perfect. I am 49 years old. I am looking forward to tuning 50.
What sort of a person is Shaffy Bello?
I am just a down to earth person. But I don’t take nonsense. I take my work and my career and my brand very seriously. If you don’t mess with that, then we are good. When it is time to work, I work. I don’t mess with it.
When it is time to play, I play h-a-r-d!!! After we are done on set and leave a tedious production, I believe we need to chill out, get some drinks and just relax, and have fun. I am an easy going girl in person. I have 2 children who are 22 and 21. My daughter is 22, my son is 21. I have 6 siblings. My children live in the United States. I love God. I close to live the life of do on to others what you want done to you.
I love fashion. I love looking good. Its innate for me to look good. Like the Yorubas say a bi nibi ni ki se ability. Yes. I just like my style. I just like myself. I love the good things of life. I love music. And I work really hard for it. Thats me. I am Yoruba , from Lagos State, originally from Abeokuta. But we have been here in Lagos for so long that I always claim we are from Lagos. I don’t have an idea where home is. I am originally from Abeokuta, Ijaye, I am told. But my parents and my siblings and I were all born here. We grew up here, at Iga Iduganran (Iga Oba).
Right now, Shaffy Bello is in high demand to be part of so many movie production. How do you cope?
It’s not been easy. But it goes to show that if you love what you do, it’s not work anymore. It’s become something that thrills you. It’s not easy. I have had to work with a very tight schedule. What I do now is when I get scripts, I go through them and I see which one pulls me, which one engages me. If I like it, I will go for it. It’s not all the scripts I get called for that I do.
I can’t. It’s not even feasible. It’s so demanding to do every job. And it’s not every job that I want to be on. So, it’s so important for me to read the scripts. Its so important for actors to read their scripts. So I read the scripts and I find out if that character pulls me. It is only then I will decide if I want to be in it. It is not easy, but then I love what I do.
You have been doing this now for how long?
As for the acting part, I will say it has been on now for about 15 years. I have been acting in the United States (US) before I came back to Nigeria. I used to live in the US. I used to do community plays and then broadway. I did that in the US for so many years.
Of course, you know I did music. So, coming to Nigeria, I just wanted to widen my horizon. I have always believed in home. I knew that there was a gift in me and I know innately that for me to soar even higher, to be that special being that God created me to be, I had to come home. So, thankfully, I listened to the spirit of God and I came home.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Nigeria. I grew up in Nigeria. I grew up in Lagos. I left the country when I was about 17, after I finished my WASC. And I went to the US. That was where I was until I was in my 40s. My stint in the US was pretty good.
I had an awesome time. My father had always believed that when his children, get to a certain stage, after you are done with your WASC, he would ship them to the U.S. My siblings were there, so it made it easy for me to transmit. And so, I went to school, I went to the college. I got trained.
I started to do different things and I needed to find my purpose. You know how it is, when you are in your 20s you will just be looking for that thing that pulls you. And you don’t even know which one. So, you have to try different things to be able to discover yourself. So, you have to try your hands on everything.
I tried my hands on events, which I did very well. Actually, I tried my hands on music which did ectremely well. But then I started acting and I found me. Maybe, I can say I lost somethings, because to be an actress, you have to lose some of yourself a bit to be able to take on some characters.
I have enjoyed every aspect of it. God was moulding me for today, to become what I have become today.
Shaffy Bello is very deep and very reflective. How did you develop that aspect of you?
I am not a superficial person. I like depth. I like people who are smart. Smart people are attractive to me. I like very deep and smart people. That is why I like Oprah Winfrey. I followed her career from when she did Season 1 till the end of the seasons. Watching that show moulded me. She moulded me into what I was. I love knowledge. I love people who know more about everything. I am attracted to knowledge.
At what point did you now decide to come back to Nigeria?
That was in 2009. That was when I made the move. Before then, I use to come and go, but then between 2013 and 2014 thereabout, I stayed back. And Nigeria became home and the US became a place I visited. It is was a very difficult thing to do because my children were there and I had to leave them to relocate here. They were young when I made that decision.
But I have always believed that when you want to soar and you need to do something and when God says it is time everything will just align. Even my children gave me their blessing.
How easy or difficult was it then, after your return to begin to get roles in the movie industry?
Hmmm! You know the thing is everybody sees the Glory, but they don’t know the STORY. I know how many nights I staged up in my room, crying my eyes out. Leaving my children in the US without a mum and I am here in Nigeria.
But their father was there with them. One day, my daughter looked at me and said mum, it was a good thing you left at the time you did, because if you didn’t leave, I wouldn’t have grown to know that I need to do things on my own.
You and daddy always babied us, and did things for us. Now, I have learnt to do things on my own. So, when God calls you and says it’s time for something, listen, just listen and obey. It always turns out well.
When I first came back, it was a bit difficult. I did the Love me Jeje video. I went into music. People saw my face. People know what I do and it opened doors. And then one day, just out of the blues, I met Saidi Balogun. We knew each other prior then in the US when they came for a programme.
I went to him and said, hello. He said, ah Shaffy, what are you doing here? My office is just across the road on Allen Avenue. Come and see my office and I followed him and we got talking for a while. He then said it would have been nice to feature me in a movie he just completed. He now said, but you know what? I really want you in my movie. I now said how?
You have finished it. You have wrapped up. He said don’t worry, we would write something else for you. And he wrote me into that film that he had. That was Eti Keta with Kate Henshaw. From then, things started rolling in. That was in 2010. I did that. Then TINSEL happened. I got a character on TINSEL. From then the rest is history.
You are a fantastic actress,How did you get so good in acting?
Thank you for the compliment...As for being so good in acting,I studied it.
You studied theatre acts?
No, I studied communications in University of Maryland,but I studied Theatre Acts by taking private classes for it.
What's your growing up like?
I was born here in Lagos, I schooled in Lagos, after finishing my secondary school, I went to the US. The country has it ups and downs, I did it for almost 30 years.and I just felt within myself it was time to come home,and I came home.and I must confess that I appreciate God that I have not regretted coming home.
Who are your role models in the industry?
I have so many of them, from young to old....ranging from Joke silva, Bimbo Akintola, Kate Henshaw, I have worked with them and I enjoyed working with them. there are so so many of them, Lilian Osoro, they are countless...
Have you produced a movie of your own?
No,I haven't...Production is not my thing right now. For me in the Nigeria movie industry ,production wise,you have to study it. You just don't jump into things, that is not me, I like to study a thing before I can venture into it and say yes, I am a professional at it.and I think that is good enough.
What do you say about those that produce,direct,act and still do so many other things on set of a movie?
Well,if it works for you,do it. If you want to be a producer,an actor,a director at the same time.if you can wear all those acts,wear them,but as for me right now, I am a wife, a mother, an actor, and a singer, when I want to. I think those are enough acts for me right now.
You look so beautiful,how old are you..?
Thanks a lot,I am in my 50s.
You don't look your age? What's your beauty secret?
I think it's just the grace of God,I work out a lot,I eat well, I watch what I eat,I watch what I put into my body. What you put in is what you bring out. I take good care of my skin and I bless God that I’m able to do that. Some people want to it, but they can’t, so I thank God for His grace always.
What are your names? (Smiles)
Shaffy Olasumbo Bello Akinremisin
What's Shaffy?(laughs) I won't disclose that...
What about your family? Siblings and parents?
They are fantastic, I was born into the Bello family on Lagos Island, I got married into Akinremisin family, My Dad passed away several years ago. My mom passed away about 3 years ago.,but I was blessed to be around her prior to her death take care of her, so it's a blessings. I have 4 sisters and 2 brothers, and I am proud to tell you that my sisters look exactly like me.
How do you unwind?
I travel a lot...,and then I shop! I shop!! I Shop!!!., I also love to read.
How do you cope with male advances owing to the fact that your husband doesn't stay here?
I travel a lot. We see regularly. so I’m always with my husband,if I don't travel, my husband comes here. I do more of travelling to the US than any other thing.,as for male advances,I think every woman knows how to cope with that. It's not a Shaffy thing, it's a woman's thing. you deal with it, I’m a married woman with children.
I saw a piece about you being extremely sociable ,that you drink a lot and smoke heavily?
Really? Maybe that's an interpretation of some of the roles I act in movies. As an actor, when I need to drink in a role I drink.when I need to smoke I smoke. Although, I was an ex-smoker,but when it was time for me to start having children I stopped. But, I can only do that when I need to in movies.nothing more..although socially, I may take wine or champagne occasionally.
So, what should your teeming fans expect from you?
I’m working on movies at the moment, I’m back on Tinsel, series on Mnet, I’m on Desperate Housewives , I’m on the show 'Taste of love' , I’m on the movie,'When Love Happens', I’m on Sin circle, also I’m on another series with Aunty Sola Sobowale called Nectar..