There is something similar between the movie, “Up North” and Ibrahim Suleiman – two cultures crossing path. Ibrahim, who featured in the potential blockbuster Nollywood movie billed to hit cinemas next week, tied the knot last month with Linda Ejiofor, an Igbo-born Nollywood act. They are apparently the fourth Tinsel couple to get married. Ibrahim speaks about his love affair, career and passion in this conversation with Chinedu Ibeabuchi
Who is Ibrahim Suleiman?
Ibrahim Suleiman is man born and raised in the north to parents from Edo State. He loves art, soft dodo and creating dope stuff. Values his relationship with God, fiercely loyal and Family oriented.
You are described as an artiste in various forms. How do you juggle all these?
I am a bit of an insomniac; so, sort of gain an extra three hours per day to do other things. Basically, I work in the day and I create at night.
Many expected you to be enjoying your honey moon now, but here you are chasing passion, featuring in Up North and perhaps, on set of other movies. Tell us how you combine your new found home and work together?
Luckily, I’m blessed with a woman who is also a creative. So, she’s involved in my creative processes as I am in hers. We also thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, so we are steadily hanging out even at home. It feels like a continuous sleepover.
How did you meet wife? What’s the love story like?
Mahn…That’s an entire interview on its own o. But short version, she and I had been friends for a few years before I landed a steady role on Tinsel (My first acting gig) and our characters play colleagues/lovers. So we went from seeing each other maybe once a quarter to seeing each other every week day on set. Over time, we became best buds and she almost brother zoned me! But I wasn’t having it. Put a ring on it as quickly as I could get her to say yes.
Don’t you think your love story can make another good Nollywood script?
Hahahaha please let’s not bore the whole world. We are just two regular people who fell in love from best friends. And we were blessed enough to get a forever after.
There is something similar between Up North movie and your marriage. Two cultures crossing path. What fears did you have to conquer to marry from another tribe?
To be honest, she always did say her parents were not tribalists, especially as they were both raised in the north. So, from the get go, they were on board. My family is interesting because I have cousins who are Igbo, Yoruba, Delta, Plateau, Edo and even Dutch. Never worried for a second.
What lessons did you pick from “Up North” that you feel can be relevant to cross-cultural relationships?
Love is a universal connector.
Should we expect a collabo with your wife like the Banky Ws?
Hahahaha. Well…We’ll see, won’t we?
Why did you abandon architecture for entertainment?
I didn’t. I and two other people I schooled with run our small Archi Firm, DeepSpaceInc. So I still practice Architecture.
Tell us about your journey to stardom? How did you start and are you living your dream now?
Thanks to YWAP, a non-profit, faith based organisation I’ve been a member of for 15 years. I was able to hone my skills as an event compere, dancer/choreographer, and playwright. In 2008, I and 5 members of SoulQuest (YWAPs dance department) participated in and won the Malta Guinness Street Dance Africa, after which we represented Nigeria in a few international meets. That was basically my first introduction to the entertainment industry. I went on to become brand ambassador for Malta Guinness, then did a bunch of dance inspired TVCs for MTN, GTBank, Unilever, etc.
Among your creative talents, which was your breaking point and which one is paying the bills?
I’d say my four years as a Malta Guinness ambassador did a ton of good for me. Right now, a combination of Architecture, digital art and acting are paying my bills.
Being in that ‘youth’ age bracket and having worked with a lot of young talents over the years, what are the major challenges they face?
What role can you not allow her act or will she not allow you?
She has built a solid career over a decade without my help/direction. The young lady always makes wise choices and I’m here to hold her hand all the way.
Can you allow her take a passionate kiss if the script says so?
These are decisions that primarily involve the actor and director.
Between Nollywood and Hollywood, which would you choose and why?
Why choose if I can have it all? I want it all.
What do you think has improved in Nollywood and what extra improvement should we expecting from budding talents like you?
Every single year, Nollywood has pushed the boundaries. Growing year after year, with more and more quality in terms of writing, directing, producing, art direction, post production, talent management, everything. I’m excited about the immediate future.
Any project(s) you are working on?
A couple of movies for Q1 of 2019, whilst preparing for my art exhibition. And of course, playing Damini on Tinsel is close to my heart (for obvious reasons. Lol)
How do you relax?
Watch a show at home or game night with my inner circle.