…Says she experienced financial dry years when she started acting


By Agatha Emeadi

Bukky Thomas is an actor, producer, voice-over artist and currently the secretary general of the Actors Guild, Lagos State chapter. 

In an interview with Sunday Sun, Thomas, who was a sales executive in a furniture company, among other things revealed how she ventured into acting by following a friend to fulfill all righteousness. 

While she was chosen, her friend was not that lucky and how because of her stubbornness she was sent to Jos in Plateau State by her parents at a tender age to study.


How did you get into acting and the entertainment industry?

 Well, I went for auditioning with a friend who was into acting already. While I was chosen, she was turned down. Though it did not bring a strain in our relationship. That auditioning was what brought me to limelight, though it wasn’t my first on acting. I actually followed my friend to fulfill all righteousness because I was not into acting yet. I was a successful sales executive in a furniture company. So, I did not see the reason of going to sit down in front of a camera. At the auditioning ground, the man we met said I fitted into the character very well and the brief they were looking for while my friend’s auditioning was not successful. That was how I started acting.

How did you rise to stardom, share with us the experience that blew you up?

 For anything one does in life, once there is consistency in it, there will also be a progression along the line. That is one of the characteristics of all living things. I personally don’t know when the rise in fame started. But I feel my breaking-out moment was when I did the “Wedding Party” movie. I played the part of Ronke, who was Tinuade’s friend. Tinuade was played by Sola Sobowale, who was an authority in the industry. The other two persons in our friendship with Tinuade for the movie were Lepacious Bose and Idiat Sobande. I believe that Yoruba movie ‘Wedding Party’ brought me to limelight and became the crowning stage in my career. After the movie, I acted alongside notable actors for other movies like ‘Karma the series by Best Okoduwa, BOOMERANG, Road to Stardom, Rumour has it for NdaniTV. These were also parts of the big break.


Parents then loved professionals like doctors, lawyer, engineers, etc, what was the feeling of your parents when you showed interest in acting then and now that you have made it?

 I did not start off as an actor. I was a sales executive in a furniture company. I also worked with SCOA, Elim Motors, Corinthians Furniture, Skyway Travels and Threefold Furniture. Though I am still into furniture, but when I decided to go all out and be an actor my parents were not happy at all. It was not anything compared to the position I was in these companies. My position in those offices then afforded me opportunities for foreign official trips, juicy contracts, the consistent payment, etc. I supplied furniture to banks like Afribank, Flourmills, SDV, CMACGM and others then. And starting out in a new profession meant experiencing some financial dry years. But the good news is that I had the opportunity to see my parents being happy with my acting profession before they died.


How are you coping with the rise?

At the end of the day, most things in life are best enjoyed as the journey progresses. The process equips you for the numerous failures you will encounter along the way, and how to manage the success that eventually comes with it. Simply put, when one is in the public eye; then he becomes a gold fish that has no hiding place. The scrutiny is more from both the fans and others. I try to live as normally as I have always lived before the stardom came. Again, I came from a family with very strict moral codes. Strict morales have been inculcated in me even as a child. We were taught to work hard, not to be proud or selfish. We were also taught to be involved in virtues that are right. My parents used a lot of wise counsel and idioms like when fame gives me the regular squeeze, what should come out is the values I grew up with first. In addition, when one is successful, it calls for giving back to the society. So, with that I have found myself functioning as an executive of Actors Guild of Nigeria, or as a committee member of NANTAP, and lots more.

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What opportunities being an actress brought to you?

Honestly, I have found different doors opened before me that naturally I never thought was possible. Sometimes, when I get to a place and people recognise my face, the greetings and actions drive me nuts. Being an actress has also brought more visibility on my brand, helped in more industry collaborations which I am very happy about. Then the challenges include being forced to live a false life if you are not careful, living a stereotyped life instead of being oneself. Once one does not meet up with certain lifestyle, you are branded a non-actor, not famous and not rich.


Can you also talk about the challenges the rise brought to you?

The environment does not treat one better because she is an actor. We all suffer the same hardship likewise everyone. I can comfortably say that I have gotten to the level in my career I should be able to push my brand higher by having my own productions, though it is a bit difficult. An adage says one man’s meat is another man’s poison. While some people are finding it difficult to feed, others are erecting the state-of-the-art building which runs into millions.


How is the society treating you as an actor?


It is different strokes for different folks. Some people treat you well, while others do not care. To some people, you don’t have the liberty of making mistakes as a celebrity. Some people want you to pay more for goods and services because you are an actor. Since your mates are travelling abroad, opening new homes in choice areas, you must join the bandwagon.  


 How was growing up, talk about your family, parents and siblings?


Growing up was sweet and beautiful. I love my parents, looking back I have to say they were really lovely. I am from a nuclear family of five, I am the second in family. I was stubborn and troublesome, so they had to curb this trait by sending me to Command Secondary School in Jos, Plateau State then. All the way from Lagos to Jos at that tender age, it wasn’t something I could wake up and decide I want to go home today. So, I couldn’t see my family until they decided to visit me. But it helped to achieve the purpose. My parents were the best thing that happened to me. My mum, even in her old age was the best, always there for me; more especially when I needed to go for auditions, she would take care of my child while I am away. My two siblings were more on the quiet side. Our relationship and mix I think also helped me learn how to relate with other people. 


What advice would you give to aspiring female actors?

My advice to upcoming female actors is to know their onions and stand their ground in the industry. There are some of them I see and admire so much for how they are able to harness their talents. It is also important to let them know what worked and didn’t work for me. They should take advantage of the training opportunities serious, be the best they could be, unique, and be friendly. When one is lifted through the journey, it is only the character that will sustain the height.