Kannywood actress, Zulaihat Ibrahim, known in the industry as Zee Pretty, is one of the most talented actresses in the Kannywood film industry. The Lagos born actress has been one of the versatile actresses produced by the industry, known for her Sokoto accent comedy. The actress has been a brand ambassador to various products and in this interview, she talks about her acting career among others
Daily Trust Can you tell us who Zee Pretty is?
Zee Pretty: My name is Zulaihat Ibrahim and I was born in Lagos State. I am a model, a dancer as well as an actress in Kannywood film-making industry and Nollywood. I am from Rubba Dankuwa Local Government Area of Kebbi State in Northwestern Nigeria. I am at present a student in Department of Education at Shehu Shagari College of Education, Sokoto. I am 22 years old now.
DT: How did you find yourself in Kannywood?
ZEE: Actually, I didn’t have the intention of becoming an actress at the initial stage; what I was interested in was on how to become a model. However, I later found out that for me to get to where I wanted to be as a model, I had to start with acting and that was how it all started.
What I actually wanted was to become an influencer and I so much believed that with modelling, I would be able to do that. I started by uploading short comedies of myself and sharing it on my Instagram page to entertain people. Gradually, I began to attract a huge crowd of fans.
If I am not mistaken, I started acting in 2017, and I was introduced into Kannywood by a popular director, Sunusi Oscar, but usually in music videos. I was later introduced to FKD Production, managed by the famous actor Ali Nuhu, and other film productions.
DT: What was your parents’ reaction after seeing your films?
ZEE: My parents were aware of my decision and my chosen career. Therefore, when I started acting, they knew it was all in a bid to get to where I wanted to be and as such, I faced no challenge from them.
DT: Zee isn’t just an actress but she is also a professional dancer and comedian. Can you tell us more on this?
ZEE: Dancing is something that I love doing with passion, which was why after my personal videos, I was featured in many music videos. It is also believed that I am the only female comedian in Kannywood and this was not unintentional because I have worked towards that. I have created for myself an identity after a serious homework to be an actress.
DT: How did you feel on your first film set?
ZEE: My first outing was so smooth. People were so amazed on the way and manner I handled the role given to me. I started in a series titled ‘Zamantakewa’. My outing was so splendid that many filmmakers and producers that visited the location were so impressed by my performance.
I later got a lot of films deals such as ‘Akushi’, ‘Inda So Da Kauna’, ‘Dace Da Masoyi’, ‘Bakauye’, ‘Sagegeduwa’ among others.
The fact is that, I didn’t feel any different and from self-confession, I have heard from different people; I did wonderfully well as a starter.
DT: Was your initial perception of the industry tallied with what you experienced after joining?
ZEE: Acting is just like any other profession. There are the good ones and the bad ones. No doubt, I have heard several stories about the industry; some scary while others appealing. I have joined the industry with a purpose and my concentration is always to achieve that purpose, nothing more nothing less.
I am still in the industry and yet my personality and characters haven’t changed. I met a very conducive arena of intellectuals of different socio-cultural back grounds; people who are so accommodating and progressive, unlike what we were meant to believe before we joined.
DT: Would you say your dream of becoming a model is fulfilled?
ZEE: Yes, I would. I am presently a brand ambassador to various products across the continent. Moreover, modelling has also accorded me the opportunity of becoming an influencer as well.
DT: Would you leave the film industry now that your dream is fulfilled?
ZEE: Not really; it has been my first step and acting has taken me to where I am at present. To be candid, I can’t abandon it now. This is to tell you that if there is an opportunity for me to continue being an actress I wouldn’t mind taking it.
DT: What would you say has made you different?
ZEE: I am a female comedian and I do my comedy based on current issues that affect the general public. I send messages to policymakers and those that such policies affect through my comedy.
DT: How do you feel as a female comedian?
ZEE: I feel great; this is an area that was initially dominated by men and I came in and made an impact in it. I feel really blessed because I haven’t copied anyone’s character; I initiated my character and I think I am doing well with it.
That was why I didn’t find it difficult to pick a stage name; Zee Pretty was picked by combination of my real name Zulaihat and Pretty which was a name I got when I was growing up. I had a small statue as a kid and people usually referred to me as ‘Mai Kyau’ which means the pretty. That was how I got Zee Pretty as my stage name and I believe the name is good for the kind of job that I do.
DT: Can you tell us your experience as one of the stars in Gidan Badamasi season 3?
ZEE: Actually Gidan Badamasi is the best TV series I have ever participated in. The series gave me the opportunity to display my talent to the fullest and we really had fun onset of the TV series.
DT: How did you come about your Sokoto accent?
ZEE: The Sokoto accent that I use mostly in my comedies is something that I took time to adopt after doing a research on which accent fits me best. I have tried the Hausa-Yoruba accent, the Hausa-Gbagy accent among others. Gradually, I discovered that the Sokoto accent has been picked by my audience and ever since I have adopted it to be my trademark.
DT: Is Zee Pretty into any serious relationship?
ZEE: Actually, I am not
ZEE: It is because I haven’t got the right one.