Susan Jimah has had her fair share of the movie industry which she describes as the good, the bad and the ugly. Jimah who forayed into acting before movie production has over 60 films to her name. The mum and entrepreneur, in this interview with Ferdinand Ekechukwu, talks about her beautiful life, career, and challenges
Has the goal always been acting and entertainment? Did your decision attract criticism from friends and family?
Acting has always been my dream as an actor and entertainer. My dad had issues with it but my mum supported me from day one. She knew and was always supportive. My Dad as a regular Nigerian dad, was like ‘oh no, my only daughter can’t be an actress’. People have this perception about actors but I’m so happy, it still gives me internal joy that my dad came around. He saw my work and was really proud of me and just fell in love with the work and has been very supportive since then. I had to show my dad that not everyone in entertainment lives a certain kind of life especially with the perception that most people have about people in the entertainment industry. Everyone else including friends have always been supportive.
What about a bit around your background, growing up and what fond memories do you hold?
Growing up was fun. I was the only girl in the midst of four brothers, second of five children. I was one of those kids that I won’t say lockup but the guards were really high, it’s from house to school and school to house. We just find a way to play around with what we have within ourselves in the family house. I was called a seller back then, in the sense that when they give me food, I won’t eat my meat and my mum always gave me big meat as the only girl. I will ‘sell’ my meat for ‘sweet wraps’ and it was like money to me then. My elder brother and cousins always gave me the sweet wraps in exchange for my meat… That was really funny for me. Another is that when you beat me, I won’t cry but the moment I hear my dad’s car, that’s when the crying starts. It might have happened in the morning and my dad comes back in the evening. It was really fun memories.
Was there any aspect of your growing up years that influenced your present career?
I actually can’t place my hands on any, asides watching Hollywood movies, dressing up and acting it out in front of a mirror. I also think my family influenced it too. We stayed in the family house with cousins, uncles, e.t.c, different characters with different drama. Till date, they play in my head, the different characters.
Tell us about your journey into the movie industry?
I have always wanted to act. As a child, my mum says when I watch Julia Roberts’ films I will go in front of a mirror and start acting it out. My mum always knew that I will go into acting and entertainment. I started in 2007 in a feature film. I was in University of Benin then and the director called me, I came to Lagos and did two scenes with known actors. The director called me again to Asaba in 2008 and I also featured in two scenes. I graduated, moved to Lagos and started going for auditions and doing gigs like that and pushing myself and I was also working with some marketers in Festac. I was getting more jobs. Then I got married in 2014 and paused for a while until 2017 ending 2018 as a producer so I can project myself as an actor. A lot of people think that I am a producer that became an actor. I didn’t want to come back after four years and still be struggling and begging to get roles and thankfully, God has given me the resources. As a producer, I gave myself roles that I fit into and also the ones that challenge me to be a better actor. The first production came out well and was embraced and it pushed me to do more.
How lucrative is acting and movie production for you?
It’s quite lucrative, it’s quite challenging sometimes but lucrative. I’ll say on the average, it’s fair really. I can’t say very, very lucrative because the market actually went down but it’s fair to me and on the average. Not too low or too high for an actor and a producer. Cinemas might be different but I’m talking about the TV movies that I produce.
So far how many films would you say you’ve featured in?
I’ve featured in more than 60 films. I’ve produced about 20 films and I featured in all of them. So yes, about 60 films…
Share with us some of the movies you have produced?
Hellcat, Inner Tension, Daddy’s Princess, Boss Down, Black Dove, In the End, Sharon’s Call, The Perfect Guy, Bloody Weekend, The Expectation, Once Upon a Heartbreak, etc. Though some of them are not out and I loose count sometimes…
Which of the movies you featured or produced easily comes to your mind?
There is a movie ‘Remember US’. It’s quite a big project and I can’t wait for people to see it. It’s special movie for me. It bothers on mental health awareness. A lot of people don’t touch that light and I’m glad I did and special. Another movie is “Trouble Makers Bodyguard”
Are there any roles you consider as favorite?
There is a film that’s not out yet, “Trouble Makers Bodyguard”. I think for now, it’s one of my favorites. It’s a Susan that the audience has never seen before because I’m a no-nonsense person and same with my character in the movie. It portrays some things about me that are also my reality. I can’t wait for people to see that movie.
What has the experience been like working in Nollywood?
I always like to avoid this question. Let me see. I’ve had the good, the bad and the ugly really, mixed feelings and I’ve had my fair share of it. So far, I kind of choose the good above the bad because there has to be a balance. The good thing is that I’m a working producer and that makes me a working actor. So far so good, I thank God and its fine. Criticism will come with the job but where I have issue is people wanting you to lick asses or pretend to be something you are not to please them and that’s not my kind of person. A lot of people have problems with people who are like that.
What are the challenges you experience?
Different productions have different experiences, you just learn from past experiences and mistakes. There is no production I’ve done without its own unique challenge, no matter how small. From the writing to the production proper and worrying about the feedback from the audience, sometimes the challenge is unforeseen but I have this mindset when going on set, “hope for the best and expect the worse”. And I learnt from my mom how to be calm under pressure while finding a solution. I took that from my parents. My dad especially is a solution person anytime. In all I do, there is always a God factor in it. Most people wonder how I do it, I sometimes wonder too. But I know it’s certainly the God factor in me.
If you weren’t into acting/movie production what other career choice would you have favoured?
Nursing/midwives and professional catering
What do you consider the greatest influence in your life?
The greatest influence in my life is my family, I have the best family. My kids are the best support system. I can be on set for days, once I stay at home for a week, my girls are already reminding me that I need to go back to set and more money needs to be made. They really push and motivate me. They remind me daily that I need to keep going.
Are there things you treasure most in life?
Let’s start with humans. My kids are my greatest treasures. I treasure my children a lot. I can’t imagine my life without them. It’s impossible. Material things that I treasure are fashion, clothes, perfumes and more money, everyone likes money (laughs out loud).
What trait would you say have helped you get to where you are today?
Disciple, consistency and focus, I don’t easily get distracted. I can get really goofy and playful and I like partying. You can tell from my social media posts.
Social Media is the melting pot for all sorts of issues and discussions these days have you ever gotten embroiled in one of such controversies?
Funny enough, I’ve never been in any controversy. I don’t know how but probably because I just try to stay in my lane. A friend said if a lane minder was a person, it will be Susan Jimah. I’m in my lane most of the time. When I see a scenario that can result in a controversy, I pull myself out of it. I don’t think it’s worth it. Someone Goggled my name last year on my birthday and a blog, I think Nairaland, mentioned that Susan is one actor/ producer that hasn’t been in any controversy.
On a lighter note, who is Susan Jimah? Tell us your hobby; likes, dislikes; your favourite food, favourite colour, and things like that…
Susan Jimah is just like the girl next door, simple, go getter, original, actor, producer, wife and mom. I go for that my heart wants. Favorite food is jollof rice and spicy turkey, well spiced turkey. I used to love royal purple and pink then but that’s a girly thing. Now I go more with colors that suit my body type and peach color is one of those colors at the moment. I like going out, I like meeting people, I like having fun, and I like to dance in my room… I don’t like unfocused people, like having a serious conversation and someone is laughing or making a joke out of it. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a lot of friends because I can’t handle small talks. I don’t like lies.
What next can we expect from you as an actor/producer?
More movies will be coming soon and skits as well.
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