DORIS SIMEON: Men No Longer Want to Play Their Role as Husbands

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Super Saturday story

Refreshing beauty is her middle name. Svelte, sexy, serene and simple; with eyes that reflect like glass and a smile that outshines the sun, the delectable figure flaunts her joy as she expresses her new lease of life and the vista of being able to do more than being an actress – she’s now a movie producer. With four movies to her credit, she said she’s just starting. One of Nigeria’s most famous and darling bilingual actresses, Doris Simeon speaks with Oge Ezeliora about her love life, broken marriage, newfound skills as a producer and her determination never to look like an old woman

• How I Produced Four Movies at a Time
• My New Life is About Jesus, Relationship and Career

What project are you working on at the moment?
I just produced four movies which are set to be released soon: two Yoruba movies and two English movies titled, Aseju, Soul Betrayal, Alone in the dark and Olorire.

How do you juggle being an actress and a producer?
Acting is easy. Acting is fun especially if you are focused on what you are doing. Producing a movie is challenging – you’re faced with the stress of sourcing for scripts, cast, crew and finance.

How was it producing four movies at a time?
It boiled down to good work ethic even though the experience was hectic. It was an awesome experience. I am glad that I actually produced the movies because my focus was to showcase upcoming actresses that I starred in the movies. I see a movie as successful by its impact on people and also the money I get from it. I will also consider the lessons from the movie. Before now, I was looking forward to doing things outside the norm like being a female director; handling the camera and producing movies. These were parts of the production process where we hardly find women. But fortunately for me, I was pushed into acting and not just part of the crew who works behind the camera. Today, I am not only an actress but a producer. I am also happy because everything was successful. As a producer, the first thing I consider is the moral lessons from the movie, the storyline, the cast and of course, the money involved. I found myself moving from one location to the other with hardly any break to breathe – coordinating the operations myself, making sure that everything was in order. I thank God it was a success and I am not regretting the bold step I took to produced all the movies at once.

How do you feel seeing younger actresses progressing quickly in the movie industry?
The industry is wide and is expanding day by day. I am glad about this development. We must create opportunities for upcoming actresses. Nollywood is not only for Doris. I am happy that people are looking up to me. I am mentoring actors and actresses.

Which of your recent movies did you find more challenging?
That would be Soul Betrayal – it was a tough nut to crack. The location we picked was also challenging. The people who promised to make their homes available to us for shooting later changed their minds. But then, we did our best and worked hard for the movie to come out great. If you are good at what you are doing, producers will definitely look for you.

How did you feel the first day you had to face a camera?
I was shy the first time but after series of rehearsals, the rest is history – I focus on what I was told to do. (My first time before the camera) was for a popular television comedy called Papa Ajasco produced by Wale Adenuga Productions. I was doing that before I went into full-time acting – joining Nollywood.

Is being an actress a blessing to you?
As an actress, God has blessed me and I can’t deny it, though it has not been easy. Being an actress is the best thing that has happened to me. My gratitude goes to God first. He has always been there for me. I can’t complain that I have been robbed of my private life. My life is always out there. Above all I am happy being an actress.

How do you excel as a bilingual actress?
For Yoruba movies, the scripts come more often than the English movies. It is the same job but different languages. Shooting Yoruba movies is a bit difficult because you have a lot of job to do – translation is there. But the English movies are easy. It’s getting better now because these days, you now find actors from different circles coming together to shoot films and celebrate things together. This is something we have been longing and praying for. We thank God it’s working out well now. The English movie industry is highly competitive but the jobs are easy. If they ask me to speak English, I will speak. If they ask me to speak Yoruba in any movie, I will speak it so fluently.

How do you see the movie industry today?
We are operating at international standards. I will tell you that foreigners are even partnering us because they have seen the best in us. Nollywood is really revolving and I am happy. The quality of our films is more getting better and better. We are now making quality and competitive films. We also star international stars, especially from Hollywood and Ghollywood, in our movies.

Have you always had a beautiful life?
I was born in Lagos; I can say I had a sweet childhood. I was pampered loved and well taken care of by my parents. I have a diploma in Production Management from the PEFTI Film Institute owned by Wale Adenuga. My parents originated from Okpella in Benin, Edo state. My father had many wives and many children. It was a polygamous home but we were well cared for. My mother was a peaceful woman and she loved her children so much.

What is your fashion dislike?
I don’t like dressing shabbily. I don’t like dressing like an old woman. I hate tying a wrapper around my boobs – that’s a complete turn off for me. Do you know I don’t even have a single wrapper in my wardrobe?

What’s your marital status now?
I am not legally divorced – the divorce suit is still in court. Yes, I am single and I am a happy woman.

Don’t you think being a single mother is now fashionable in Nollywood?
Single motherhood is not peculiar to Nollywood. If you go to the banking sector, there are single mothers there; in the military, in law firms and other fields, there are single mothers. It is not our fault; it’s just that men no longer want to play their role as husbands. I am not a supporter of single parenthood: every man or woman has the right to live their life the way they choose. It’s just by God’s grace that I am acting and producing. Emotional trauma is not what I will encourage anybody to pass through. God created every woman for a man. So marriage is good.

Is there any possibility that you and your ex will reconcile?
I don’t dwell in the past. I don’t want to talk about that anymore. I have moved on. I have no regret at all. I have only learnt to be stronger. The truth is that I have forgotten about everything. Time has erased it (the emotional pain I went through). I am now a better person. Today, I am closer to God and I put God first in everything I do. I never gave up on love. I have found love again in Jesus. I am married to my career right now. I am in a relationship anyway but I want to be private about it. I thank God because I am a better person. My career and business are going on well.

Will you remarry?
I am single and ready to mingle. If God sends a man to me I will not reject him. I am not bored. If it’s God’s plan for me I will go ahead (and get married); if not, then I will remain single.

Do you still have a good relationship with your ex-husband and his wife?
Yes, I do.

What’s unique about you?
It’s my patience. I am also playful. I am playful to the extent that a lot of people think I am not a serious person. I am a very funny person.

Apart from acting, what else do you do?
I am into hair-dressing. I started making hair as a little girl. Now, I have fulfilled my childhood dream of owning a big salon of my own. My mom was a hair-dresser and fortunately for me, I learnt a lot from her. I have a salon at Ogba. Right now, we are also into households and interiors décor.