“I was once stoned by market Women”– Shan George
Nollywood actress, Shan George was recently appointed chairman, Callywood Board by the Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade.
In this chat, the excited grandmother fielded questions on her plans for Nollywood, up and down moments as an entertainer, marriage wish and other issues bordering her career. Enjoy it.
How do you feel about your appointment as chairman, Callywood Board?
It is something that has to do with making movies, which is what I love and have passion for. So, I’m very excited because I would be able to impact a lot of knowledge on those who desire to follow the same path like I did. It really feels good and I thank my governor.
Did you see it coming?
Sincerely, I never saw it coming. In fact, not in my widest dream, I did not even imagine it neither did I see it coming.
What plans do you have in place for your colleagues?
Just like when you enter a new house, you look around to see where it’s located. I’m still in that stage right now; I can’t really say what my plans are at this moment.
You’ve been relevant in the movie industry for decades, what’s your staying power?
Being relevant in the industry for so many years has to do with the fact that you don’t just rest on your oars. You just keep working, pushing hard, never being depressed about the low times. That’s basically my staying power.
Looking back, what would you like to change about the movies you did many years ago?
I don’t think I have done any movie in the past that I would regret doing. Everything fell into place at the right time. It is not the real me, but I was only acting out a role, which is a job. So, I put in my best from one movie to another, trying to carry out the best of the character. Be it that of a nun, housewife, prostitute, student, just any role given to me in the past, I tried to do my best. I just keep improving, working on myself, and schooling myself to get better.
Do you have any regrets?
As a human being, naturally we all make mistakes as we climb the ladder of life. Some of those mistakes have to do with one’s age, background, peer pressure, peer group, and professional hazards. But generally, the mistakes we make as we grow up are actually meant to make us stronger, make us work on ourselves to be better than the previous us. So, I’m not quite sure I have had any regrets over anything. So far, I have no regrets, glory be to God.
Would you say you are fulfilled?
Fulfilled? I’m not sure what that means. I can’t interpret that word generally, because as far as I’m concerned, nobody knows tomorrow. As long as the day keeps breaking, new days keep coming up; we continue to desire something else. I believe fulfillment is something that is almost like perfect, which is not obtainable to anyone.
What role have you not played and would love to play?
I have played almost everything except a guy. I haven’t played a guy, I have played every other role including witch, student and others, but I would love to play a man.
What do you do to standout as an actor?
I keep working on myself. I read my scripts, not just read, but also study and rehearse it. I learn everyday, even from the younger ones.
Does being an actor make life easier for you?
It has its ups and downs just like every other profession. One of the major downs is that people tend to assume that you are the way you are in movies and in real life. Some people who have watched movies where you played a witch or prostitute tend to see you the same way in real life, and look at you somehow. Market women who sell tomatoes have stoned me. They stoned me tomatoes because there was a movie, Rest In Peace, where I played a character that deceived her girlfriend to the village and drowned her in the river, and then returned to town pretending nothing had happened. That was because my character wanted the guy my friend was dating. So many people watched the movie. Another down side is that people think you have money because they see you in big houses, drive big cars in movies, so when they see you in real life, they expect you to be that wealthy, and start dashing them money.
You seem to be aging backwards, what are your beauty secrets?
Seriously, I don’t think so. I see the changes myself. I have a lot of people saying to me ‘you are getting old now’. I think my age is showing on my face. I don’t have any kind of beauty routine. I just use some nice lotion and drink lots of water. I don’t just eat any kind of junk, I don’t drink too much alcohol, I have a limit in everything I do and eat.
People say you’ve been married thrice, how true is this?
I’ve not been married thrice; it’s just twice. It’s not that I care about things we read on the Internet, but the truth is I’ve been married twice in my life. Those who know me know the truth. I have a total of nine children, two biological sons and seven adopted children (5 boys, 2 girls). My biological sons are from my first marriage contracted when I was 16. I didn’t have kids in my second marriage. But as an only child, I needed a full house, so I kept adopting kids.
Would you say creative Nigerians are reaping the fruits of their labour like their foreign counterparts?
It’s not a good comparison based on our system of government, based on what we have on ground, and based on this industry. There’s really no room for comparison. We are reaping but definitely not enough, and not like our foreign counterparts. It is because the world is becoming a global village where everyone can reach everywhere. Because of the Internet, people are able to reap more from their works than before. At least now, you could put your work online or some platforms and get paid enough for you not to beg. We are getting there as far as I am concerned.