How I grew up in Lagos ghetto – Lilian Bach

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I can’t act nude. I don’t think I have the moral upbringing to act nude
She is tall, beautiful; her skin glows even in the dark. And she has got the kind of figure every man would wish for. A former model and now a successful Nollywood actress, she commands attention everywhere she goes. Little wonder she was easily chosen to be the face of popular brand of soap. Welcome to the world of half Polish and half Nigeria, Lilian Bach. Lilian will come across as arrogant, yet getting closer to her, AJIBADE ALABI discovered that she is both friendly and warm, contrary to the general impression.
Meeting Lilian Bach for the first time you will think she is a foreigner, and when you ask, she tells you. “I am partly Nigerian and partly Polish. My dad was from Poland, while my mother hails from Isal-Eko in central Lagos.   I grew up here in Nigeria. I had my nursery, primary and secondary education in Nigeria. When my father was alive, he was always on transfer from
one state to another. We have lived virtually in all the major cities of the country – Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Abeokuta…. In the process, I kept changing from one school to another. I was at the Army Children School, Port Harcourt, one of the local government primary schools in Lagos. I attended Idaraba Secondary School, Mushin. I started off as a model before I veered into acting. I have been in the movie industry since 1997. But I actually started modelling in 1989,” she stressed
How did she become the Face of Delta Soap? She also explained better: “I became the Face of Delta in 2000, and I reigned for two years before another Delta Face took over from me.”  Asked if her being the Face of Delta brought her to limelight, Lilian responded thus: “Not really, because that was just a modelling job. I believe I have always been in the limelight.  It’s
just that modelling didn’t give me much publicity when I started out. But like I said, I got into the acting profession in 1997 and then, I guess, I didn’t have   enough experience. The first two jobs I did were not rewarding at all, as one of the producers absconded with my fee. The second job was not encouraging to me, resulting in my taking a break for some time. When I came back, I did movies like,Married to a Witch and From Grace to Grass. And these movies, I would say, brought me to limelight in the acting profession.”
With her beauty, it would have been out of place to think she never tried a beauty pagean. “In the early days of my modelling career, I used to be involved in pageants and fashion shows,” she said.
“But I never won any pageant show,” she confessed. And before you aske why, she added: “I guess I was too slim then as a model.”
How did you find yourself in movies acting? was the next question.
“I accompanied a friend to an audition, but on getting there, there was nobody to read the scripts with him. The director there and then requested that he asked the lady that came with him to fill the gap. I later joined him, and after reading the scripts, the director said I read very well, that I could make a good actress. That was how I got my first acting role. After that first role, more roles followed.
There is this concern about acting nude in Nollywood. Will Lilian do that, be it half-nude if the terms are right?
I can’t act nude. I don’t think I have the moral upbringing to act nude. I am a Christian and I respect my body as the temple of God. I don’t think Nigeria is that kind of society that accommodates nude acting. And I don’t think we have to go nude to pass a message across to the movie bluffs. I can’t do it for any price. I worship in a Pentecostal Church.
With the way Lilian spoke,  you begin to wonder the kind of upbringing the star actress in a Yoruba movie entitled Eja Osan had.
“My growing up was very interesting. I was very close to my dad, and I learnt a lot of things from him. That is why I found myself doing a whole lot of things; drawing and designing things. My dad was a Mechanical engineer by training, but he could do a whole lot of things for himself. Somehow, because I was very close to him, I found myself doing a lot of things too. I can draw, design and so on,” she said, adding that she lost her father when she was 10 years old.
Losing her father at that age made life a little difficult for her mother, but they were able to pull through
“Let me say this; when I lost my father, my mother was a full time house wife. My dad did not allow her to engage in any meaningful activity to support the family. He didn’t want a situation where nobody would take care of his children when she was away to her business.
“So when he died, things became very difficult for the family. We had to adjust to face the reality of the situation we found ourselves. Even before he kicked the bucket, we had already exhausted all the monies he saved, while trying to find a medical solution to his ailment. Unfortunately, he did not survive. But then, a whole lot of money he saved for upkeep went down the drain. That was where I found myself. But the local schools are also good. Initially, it was not easy for me to adjust to the reality of the situation I found myself. But then, it dawned on
me that it was not a joke. Today, I thank God for the experiences I acquired while attending public schools. It really helped me to cope with my new condition. It was not easy, especially facing harassment when I would be returning from school by some street urchins in Mushin. Yes, I coped with the new situation I found myself. I guess I’m a fighter and I’m still fighting till date.”
On her  impression with the way Nigerian movies celebrate ritualism, prostitution and blood, Lilian gave her candid opinion. “You will be disappointed to hear that I don’t really watch much of our local movies because each time I watch the movies, I feel discouraged.  I guess you have a point here. I have heard about this kind of complain before now concerning how
Nollywood movies display guns indiscriminately, blood and prostitution. We are not doing our movies the way our Hollywood counterparts are doing their own. I don’t think anything good can come out of our movies that take less than a month to be shot. I am not in support of such unprofessional way of carrying guns and celebrating ritualism.
“I don’t know what the producers are trying to portray, but I know also that is not part of the culture here. We are not involved in gun carrying, gangsterism and so on. We should not engage ourselves in anything that will have negative effects on the society.”
Surprised to hear that a Nollywood actress who is part of making the movies does not watch the film? She tells the reason: “Yes, I am, but this is the only way I think I can make a change. I now own a production outfit. I think, I can instigate a change in the industry through producing my own movies that would be of standard, devoid of shortcomings and which I am about to start very soon. One should take his or her time to do a good job that would not be marred with irregularities. Production has various arms and if all these arms are not in harmony, the movie is bound to have lapses.”
Web Post: Boldwin Anugwara
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