Nollytrailers caught up with the stunning Zainab Popoola, an insurance consultant and UK based Nollywood actress to ensure a mouthwatering short interview on the make believe industry.

According to her, she loves to travel, cook, enjoys acting and the other twin half of Zuliat Abike Popoola.

Want more of her? Then enjoy.

Were you an actor before you came into the UK?

I studied theatre arts at the University of Abuja while in Nigeria, so I can say I was one. And my passion for acting started from childhood, which propelled me into studying the arts at the university. At some point family took a front row and l had to prioritise family over acting.

Any challenge so far?

It’s been in more ways than one as challenging as it has been an amazingly interesting experience for me.

What do you think is responsible for the booming UK Nollywood industry?

I think it’s the global acceptance of Africans looking inwards and fully appreciating our own entertainment industry as against the good old strong western entertainment/music influences.

How is the UK Nollywood industry acceptance by the mainstream? Is there any relationship between them?

Oh yes, the reception is huge. You know if you can break into the Nigerian market, the next big audience is the UK. And the locals have been rather warm and receptive to the industry in my opinion. For instance, any Nollywood movie premiered in the United Kingdom is definitely a guaranteed sell out.

What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?

Being able to balance work as a consultant, mum and as a versatile actress.

Do you think the UK and Nigeria based actors relationship what could be termed as awesome?

The relationship is warm and friendly. The UK based actors obviously have numerous collaborations with the Nigerian actors, which is giving Nollywood the much needed international boost.

Have you ever worked with a demanding director before? How did you successfully interact with such person?

Oh yes! With quite a few. The demand can be challenging but very inspiring on a whole.

What is your take on stage plays?

I’ve always loved stage shows. Playing a lead character called “SNEAKY FITCH” in a western play at a London theatre.

What are the challenges still existing in the UK Nollywood industry?

The biggest challenges has been finance, and getting Nigeria based actors for collaboration.

Does Nigeria government recognize, align and sponsor the industry?

Yes, to some extent. But the government and cooperate bodies can do more in terms of support.

So far, how would you grade your progress in the industry?

It’s been very steady and l’m very happy with it.

Of all the roles you have played in the past, which is your favourite?

It was playing the character Cathrine in the movie “Sister Sister” to be premiered in September 2018.

Who is your favourite actor, and why?

I have quite a few but my favourites are Toyin Ayimaku, Odunlade Adekola, Richard Mofe Damijo, and Rita Dominic. These actors are extremely versatile and they’ve been able to generally rise to any role they play.

What project are you working on now?

I’m working on quite a few projects which I’d rather keep under wraps for now.

Does your emotional setback affect your work?

No it doesn’t. Acting, rightly put is “Make believe”, so I take on roles with every day fictional and nonfictional experiences to deliver top notch service as the arts have trained me to marry both together, not let my personal and emotional life get experiences in the way.

When was your first role as an actor?

It was in 2004 in a Nigerian English soap, Fortunes

What is your biggest aspiration?

To be as big as Julia Roberts. I love her so much.

In which area would you want to improve as an actor?

In all areas I would say. It’s a learning curve; I want to learn and improve in every area.

What is your take on Nigeria 2019 election in relation to Nollywood?

We want an administration that can give the industry the much needed support. Believe me, Nollywood can take over oil as a major revenue generator for the country.

What support do you enjoy from the UK government as immigrant movie industry?

We’re yet to to start getting “funding” support obviously but we do sincerely get other forms of support from the British art bodies.

What would you rather have or not have in your industry?

Tribalism. I’ve always wanted a united Nollywood. I’m not a fan of a split unions, where we have one region having different bodies. Hollywood is united and we should borrow a leaf from that.

Do you think a Nollywood film can get an Oscar Nomination and go on to win it?

Oh yes!

How can you compare stage acting with film?

I love the stage. It’s more demanding; no retakes, no improvisation and you have to stick with the script. In other words, you have to know your onion when it comes to stage acts.

If you are giving £1Million today what will you do with it?

I will produce a major block buster for Nollywood .

Will you accept a role that requires you to be nude?


What else do we need to know about you that is not yet covered in the questions above?

I’m very religious, l looove fashion and completely ecstatic with the family unit.

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