IBRAHIM SULEIMAN is a man of many talents. The actor, architect, graphic artist and choreographer, who is perhaps best known to ardent Tinsel fans as Damini White, has since become one of Nollywood’s new favourites. In a brief chat with VIVIENNE BELONWU, he talks about his early days as Capt. Quest, meeting his wife, actress, Linda Ejiofor and his career.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up in Kaduna was very tranquil. Over there, we do not experience traffic like we do here; there is a low cost of living but relatively high quality of life. I was a quiet child outside but extremely energetic and playful at home. My siblings and I were born a little less than two years apart, so we were really close. My mum worked two jobs so she made sure she spent every available moment with us, especially on the weekends and Friday
afternoons when she got off work at 1pm. We weren’t rich, but we were comfortable.
You have an impressive CV; choreography, architecture, graphics and acting. How easy or difficult was it for you to balance all your talents and interests the way you have?
My mother read a lot. Both fiction and otherwise and she had a sizeable library. So I got my appetite for text from her and consumed books voraciously. My curiosity, made me seek further information on stuff I read about in her books so I think that formed a base for being quick to assimilate new information. So as I grew older, I met talented people and learned from them.
When did acting enter the scene for you?
December 2016. I was more interested in writing and possibly directing someday. I guess as they
say, “there are many paths to the market”.
…and we can see what market you happen to be in at the moment. Tinsel was your debut acting gig, What made you decide to audition?
A couple of my friends asked me to show up for a reading, and seeing as I had that day off, and was actively
looking for a new challenge, I thought, “heck yeah!” So I went in, did the reading and for reasons I’m
still unaware of, I got the call back. I was so pumped!
So when did you realise you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I must say from my first day on set. It just seemed like there was so much to learn, so much to explore. Man, I was sold! And through it you found love.
You mentioned you’d been friends with Linda long before you two decided to date. People always say that a person knows from the beginning, was that true for you? Did you always know that she was your One?
Some guys get lucky, so they know immediately. For me, I knew she’d always be “my guy”, but I had no clue we would end up together until much later in our friendship. It was a bit of a surprise for me, to be honest, and it took a lot for me to finally tell her how I felt. Omo. See tension!
It’s been such a joy to see you in more roles, like your character, Sadiq, in Up North. What drew
you to the role?
A few things actually; the positive portrayal of girl child education, the non-violent conflict resolution, the fact that we often find purpose far away from home if we look hard enough and of course, my character’s motivation to better himself just so he could have a better chance to be with the woman of his dreams.
What are the key qualities a script should possess to make you want to be a part of bringing it to life?
Ha! This is a tough one, because art is subjective and artists are closely tied to their emotions. But, generally
speaking, I’d say a story has to have a heart. If I read it and it doesn’t make me feel something, I’d struggle. That
for me won’t do.
I remember the time you were an Ambassador for Malta Guinness. The Soul Quest crew and their dance moves! You and your crew were such great performers. Are you still in touch with that part of you?
To be honest, those were, like, the most fun years! We were just a bunch of final year students/fresh grads who
wanted to dance whilst telling stories on stage, and we enjoyed every moment of it. Yes, I still choreograph
and teach. Haven’t performed in a while though, waiting for the right platform to suit up for again.