Veteran actress and former Special Adviser on Youth Affairs in Rivers State, Hilda Dokubo, speaks on her childhood, career and marriage
What have you been up to recently?
I just finished a movie by Kunle Afolayan, and I’m working on another. I’m also writing a children’s book, and running a school. I’m just staying happy and excited. Kunle Afolayan’s The CEO is a beautiful work making waves at the moment. I worked with an awesome team, and the storyline was so simple but beautiful. I played the role of a superintendent of police who investigated some crimes. It was fantastic working with Kunle Afolayan.
Are you working on a film of your own?
Yes, it is titled Asawana. It is a story of the strength of the young, and the experience of the old. It is a work that talks about collaboration and strength of women in communities.
Why did you take a break from Nollywood?
Acting is like my second life. If you say I left acting , it is like saying that I died. What happened was I felt like giving back to the society that has loved me so much. I chose to go back to work with communities, see and feel like real people. I’m not done doing community work, but this is my time to come back and share those experiences in my work. I never left Nollywood, it was just a small break which was worthwhile.
You went into politics at some point…
I wanted to do something different and I wanted to give back to the society. I felt like my life was too monotonous. I was never in politics, I just held a political office. There is a huge difference between being a politician and holding a political office.
Can you relate a bit of your experience as a special adviser?
I am pleased with the little contribution I made. I did my thing as it came. Working with Governor Peter Odili, gave me a better understanding of government-related issues. It was a good training. I learnt a lot about administration and it gave me a platform to contribute to the development of young people.
Do you intend going back to politics anytime soon?
I really don’t know. If politics is what I see now, I have no interest. Nevertheless, if politics becomes a tool to contribute to the development of my people, then my answer is yes. I’m not sure I like what I see now.
What does acting mean to you?
Acting is a tool to achieve what I would really like to see. It is like Christianity, it is a way of life.
When exactly did you start acting?
I started when I was seven years old. The journey has been fantastic, I’ve lost count of the number of movies I have done. Ironically, I was not one of those who faced challenges because I started acting when I was seven. By the time I was an adult, I was already a professional actor because I had gone to school to study Theatre Arts. It just came naturally. The challenges I face these days are based on the roles I play because each role comes differently. It has just been a beautiful journey. Even though there are bumps everywhere, you just have to go past them.
If you weren’t an actor, what would you have been ?
If I was not acting professionally, I’d be teaching. But if you look at it, teaching is what I do when I act.
Outside of what we see on TV, who is Hilda Dokubo?
I am simple and unassuming, but very daring.
Tell us about your family and educational background?
I come from a family of six siblings. My dad is late but my mum is still alive. My mum is still a school teacher, and my dad was an engineer. I studied Theatre Arts and Theatre Education. I run a centre called Centre for Creative Arts Education and I run a production company. I love to look for the beautiful flowers among thorns.
Did your mum influence your choice of combining acting with teaching?
Yes, I love to teach. I come from a family of educationists and it is only natural that what you see around all the time becomes a part of you. I just really love to teach. Right now, I teach life planning skills and I’m also a business coach. I also teach Creative Arts. These are the courses I teach personally, but there are people who teach other courses because it is an institution.
What exactly do you do at your academy?
My academy’s concentration is on talents as against paper, and what we do is to give you the raw practical skills you require to face any challenge. It is more of practical work than theory. We teach you creative arts but we also teach the business in it, because it is called showbizness. We teach everything that has to do with the arts.
Are you fulfilled as an actress?
I’ve always been a fulfilled person, not just as an actress but as a human being. I’m an extremely happy person. I am always excited about everything that happens around me.
As a very busy woman, do you find time to relax?
Acting is relaxation for me.
What are your hobbies?
I love reading, writing, and playing. I love to play a lot.
What are your beauty secrets?
I live clean, drink clean water, eat clean food, sleep well, and I don’t hold grudges.
Who are your role models in the movie industry?
I love a few people awesomely, and I know that I’ve told them. Growing up, I loved Aunty Joke Silva, and I used to read her book believing that I’d become like her. I love and respect her a whole lot, and she knows. When I came into the industry, I found a mother figure in Rachael Oniga, who was always there to listen to me because I talk a lot. I love everyone who knows that this is not a hobby but a profession.
How do you give back to the society?
I do this through trainings. I have 50 kids who are not my biological children. I have three biological children, but I’ve adopted 50 others. These children need support and I can give them that. What I do is pay their school fees, buy them clothes and give them food. I also help them find homes.
Why did you reconcile with your husband after a long period of separation?
Everything in life has stages and time. If I say I’m a Christian and love God, then I should be able to live a life that Christ would be proud of. It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in a relationship. We did it for ourselves, our children, others, but most importantly for God.
What is the greatest lesson marriage has taught you?
Patience. Don’t think anyone else can help you build your home, because you alone can do that. Don’t give up so quickly when it becomes so tough.