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I never thought I would become an actress – Sangaya

Fatima Mohammed is one of the upcoming actresses making waves in the Hausa filmmaking industry. The 25-year-old actress, popularly known in the industry as Sangaya,…

Fatima Mohammed is one of the upcoming actresses making waves in the Hausa filmmaking industry. The 25-year-old actress, popularly known in the industry as Sangaya, is regarded as one of the few new faces recognised in the sector within a short period and in this interview, the actress talks about her fame, among other issues.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Fatima Mohammed, aka Sangaya. I was born in Maiduguri Borno State and I grew up in Abuja. I did both primary and secondary school education in Abuja and later went back to Borno State where I sat for my Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) before venturing into acting a few years.

What really influenced your decision to venture into acting?

Actually, becoming an actress wasn’t my wish. Unlike other artists, I never had the passion of becoming an actress, especially after my secondary school graduation. My journey into filmmaking started through a friend of mine. We were very close. This friend of mine became so obsessed with acting but her parents wouldn’t allow her to be fully involved in the filmmaking business without completing her studies.

Our friendship and closeness was such that whatever interests one of us definitely interests the other. We succeeded in convincing her parents to allow her join the industry and that was how my journey to Kannywood started.

What was your parent’s reaction towards your decision to join Kannywood?

It is obvious that parents usually get worried especially when their wards decide to join the filmmaking industry and mine were not an exception. They showed their concern at the initial stage, but they later gave their consent and laid down some guidelines for me to follow and succeed in my chosen career.

How many films have you starred in so far?

Though I have not been in the industry for a very long time, I have featured in several films – both straight films and series. I acted in films like ‘Mai Martaba’, ‘Alaka’, ‘Rudani’, ‘Matar So’, ‘Ke Duniya’, ‘Abokin Tafiya’, among others. I played a lead role in ‘Mai Martaba’ and it was that film that gave me the screen name Sangaya.

What would you say are your benefits from the industry?

To be honest with you, I never thought the industry has the ability to change someone’s personality. When I say change, I mean changing your personality completely. I am making this assertion based on experience, I ventured into the industry as an introvert and I later figured out that if I should continue as that, then the industry isn’t meant for me. Gradually, I was able to adopt and change my inherent personality to become extroverted and I now mingle easily with people.

I was also a hot-tempered person, but being in the industry has completely changed me to an entirely different personality. Those that knew me usually express their surprise over the personality changes that I have gone through. They have confessed to seeing an entirely different personality from who they initially knew me to be.

The industry taught me to be patient, tolerant, responsive and responsible. The industry also taught me to go for what I want as an actress and never to give up on what I believe is the right thing to do.

How would you describe your first day at location?

The experience is as fresh as it was yesterday. My first role was that of a student and I acted alongside my friend. Though it was our first acting performance, we were able to do it perfectly and many thought that we had done it before.

However, that single experience played a very significant role in changing my mindset. It was that experience that taught me to accommodate people irrespective of their behaviour or character. The feeling was so marvellous and memorable; one couldn’t help but be so elated especially when the film became public. You are always eager to know people’s responses on the role you played. Many have abandoned the industry because of the negative comments attributed to a role they played while many have accepted to be part of the industry due to the responses they receive as a result of a role they placed.

What’s your advice to female artists?

Wherever one finds himself or herself, there is a need for us to preserve our dignity and we should also understand that no matter what it takes, we still have a role to play in protecting our virtues, traditions, norms and our cultural values.

No one will respect us if we don’t respect ourselves; we should always have it at the back of our minds that we are not what we thought we are but we are ambassadors of our culture, tradition and religion. We should also understand that with fame, one has no life of his or her own.

What’s your ambition as an actress?

Many actresses and actors, especially in Kannywood, nurse the hope of becoming a producer, but my wish or rather ambition is to be a renowned film editor and a sub-titler. 

I also want to continue with my education and in that area, I don’t think I have a limit.


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