One cannot have achieved in a career without having had an ambitious and positive outlook. Bukky Amos-Arewa, a United States based Nigerian movie star actress, is one of the successful working mothers in the Diaspora. She declares in this interview with the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, that being positive and ambitious are some of the credits that broaden the opportunities available to her in life. In this chat, the pretty Bukky speaks out the secrets a few people really know about her journey through life, family, career and marriage; secrets that teaches on traits that distinguishes those who succeed from those struggling to succeed, especially the womenfolk, and more.
Tell us about someone who has inspired you as you were struggling to be successful in what you do.
The list is endless. For me, a woman like Madeleine Albright rose from a trouble-ridden country as a young girl to become the highest ranking appointee in the United States of America where she was Secretary of State. Also, our own Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who is now the Director-General of World Trade Centre, is another source of inspiration. I can mention many names; but these two women have remained my sources of inspiration. They make me proud.
What would be your advice for young women who are just starting out and want to be successful?
They should be focused and resilient. They must consider education as not only necessary but compulsory because it gives lots of power. As a woman, you must avoid distractions and remain focused to be successful. You must always be tenacious in your endeavours because this is a male dominated world. Even men appreciate successful women. Most importantly, as a woman, you must be prayerful because God-factor is also important in everything in life.
At what time in life did you meet your husband and what was the attraction?
The first time I met my husband was at the University of Ile-Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. Fate played a smart one on us; he went back to Ivory Coast where he was born. That was how we lost contact.
As God would have it, in 2012, our path crossed again and that was how we re-united. In fact, his cousin was my best friend, but it was funny I never knew they were related even though, they shared the same surname, Bello. Let me just state here that, the same fate brought us back, together and we got married in 2013.
You recently honoured your husband on his birthday with a house gift, how would you describe his personality and the love you both share?
My husband is an amazing personality. He is cool headed, God fearing, loving and he has selfless attitudes. He is a complete gentleman, who understands me and has been a supportive pillar and the only shoulder I lean on. There is nothing I cannot do to make him happy.
You caught a figure of a submissive wife despite your well-to-do status, is this quality inborn or something you decide to do just to protect your marriage?
I come from a background where respect, humility and core Christian values are our watchwords. My parents equipped me with these attributes, and I have lived to witness that being humble and dutiful as a wife is profitable. My mother lived all her life as a submissive and dedicated wife to my father till she died, so it’s inborn.
Tell us about your parents and their influence on your life and lifestyle.
I grew up knowing my parents as a wonderful couple; who may not be rich in materials things but highly wealthy in love. Let me just say that, their influence in my life is the reflection of what I am today, and I am grateful to them. My mother, Maria Oladapo is late, but because she was such an amazing being that touched my life and others positively, I launched Maria Oladapo Foundation in her memory; so that is to make you understand the depth of my affection for her. My father, Pa Amos Oladapo is still alive. He is my advisor, a great mentor and a man of high moral standard. He thought me quite a lot about hardwork, dedication and principles of life. He is a father to be proud of, and I remain very close to him. Let me say this, one of my films; ‘Ajitannawo’, which I dedicated to all responsible parents, was inspired by my parents.
You are a celebrity woman while your husband appears quiet, is that the secret of your marriage success?
Me a celeb? (laughter) Far from it, I may be sociable but I am simply Bukky Amos-Bello. I must confess that, understanding is the key in our marriage. My husband knew me before we got married; he knows that I am passionate about the entertainment industry and he supports me wholeheartedly. So, undiluted love, understanding, respect and forgiveness are things that make a marriage, and I must say that is why our marriage is working, to the glory of God.
You have produced a number of interesting movies, why do you base most of the storylines on your life experience?
And why can’t I base my stories on my life? Life is full of experiences and mine is not an exception, though peculiar, and that is why all my storylines are didactic. They teach lots of morals because they are real. Besides that, my movies are also entertaining and informative. Those are the reasons why they are easily connected to the society.
Which of your movies is your favourite and why?
Every film I have produced has its own uniqueness, so I may not be able to say specifically. For example, ‘Arewa’ was my first film, and it gave me the big break into the movie industry, over two decades ago. I have earned so many awards in the UK, US, EU while my latest movie, ‘Sisi Maruwa’, earned me an award for ‘Outstanding Movie Producer 2020’ in Nigeria. So, I may not be able to narrow down on my most favorite one, because I wrote all the stories/ script of all my productions.
What was the best love gift you and your husband have exchanged since you got married?
Gift? The first gift we do share uninterrupted is, love. Material wise, I can say we share gifts like toddlers (laughs). There is hardly any time we don’t share gifts between ourselves, but I must confess that he knows I love jewelry and he has pampered me with that on many occasions.
Would you encourage your children to act in Nollywood?
My children have their own careers, but if they choose to act, so be it. I can only guide them with my experience, but I can’t dictate for them.
One of them has followed my footstep, he is a model and is eyeing Hollywood.
What is your candid opinion about Nollywood, considering its challenges and successes?
Every industry has its challenges, but we must agree that the industry is a success in its own right. It has provided job opportunities and exposure to several thousands of people, although, there are always rooms for improvement, in the area of technical and marketing distribution.
Since you love making a special statement on your birthday, what are your fans expecting of you during your next birthday?
For those who know the nature of Bukky Amos-Bello, you can always say that, I prefer to keep things under wraps till the right time. For now, let us keep fingers crossed. The gift of life is priceless and unquantifiable. For this, I’m always grateful to God.
What goes through your mind when you think of women who are industrious and are determined to make a success of their careers?
It is, indeed, a beautiful thing to know that women are living up to the challenges of making the society a better place through hard work.
I feel proud when I see women excelling in different fields and it gives me joy because this is a male dominated world where gender equality is strangled. And that is a proof that women have taken their roles beyond the kitchen to show that they are help mates to the men even in terms of finance.