HAUWA ALLAHBURA: I admire and look up to Oprah Winfrey



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HAUWA ALLAHBURA: I admire and look up to Oprah Winfrey

 



Hauwa Allahbura is an actress and producer from Northern Nigeria. She has been part of movies and soaps like Battleground, Tinsel and Gidi Blues. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she talks about her passion, memorable moments and the impact of COVID-19.

 



TELL us about life as CEO and entrepreneur?

I would say that being an entrepreneur has always been a major drive and motivation for me all through my career, hence the birth of Cut24 Productions. It is a production outfit that specialises in film making, commercials and world-class documentaries. My life as The Chief Executive Officer for Cut24 Productions is quite interesting but also very challenging. I spend most of my time in strategy and ideation sessions, trying to develop the next big thing in the motion graphics industry. Interestingly, I have just taken over this position in 2019 and we are currently working on how to move the company forward by  doing a lot of preproduction sessions for our future projects.  This is what I signed up for so I am enjoying the process.

As an entrepreneur, I have also ventured into a café business with a team of innovative Individuals working 24/7 to grow the business.  As you know, being an entrepreneur involves taking extreme risk. So, I am happy to say the few companies I have set up are profitable.

What inspired you to go into business?

I honestly don’t think you need to be inspired to go into business. On the other hand, you need inspiration to bring to life the kind of business that can transform lives. Truth be told, you either have it in you or you don’t. I also think not everyone must be a business man or woman, some people are created to  be part of a strong team or work with government or multinationals. I have always wanted to start a business. But before I did, I worked in various places for experience and decided the right time to start mine fully was in 2019.

What are the challenges you envisage with the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of our shared fragility; it also demonstrates how everything and everyone is truly connected. We see that the environment we live in is connected to the human condition; that eradicating the pandemic in one community or state will never be achieved unless it is done in all communities or states; and that the success and safety of front-line responders are linked to our willingness to stay home. But the challenge I’ll like to speak about is the hunger virus affecting road side businesses, the one shop owners and the millions of people that survive on daily income. This is the challenge that is closest to my heart and can’t really be found on google or social media.

The people who have no access to internet, the people who sell food stuff on the road, when you are having your daily trip. The person who sells sweet and chewing gum, that woman who sells roasted yam in high traffic locations, most of them have no bank accounts. Some have no savings, they make, they spend. Some of these government programs won’t even get to them. My biggest fear is people dying from hunger and not the virus. All that can be accounted for right now are the figures from NCDC, what we don’t know is how many people have died from hunger. This saddens me so much mainly due to the fact that I wish my initiative ‘The 24 Angels’ was in existence with adequate data. Our launch date was scheduled for the 24th of May before the breakout of the Pandemic.

What do you think can be done to alleviate the situation?

There should be some sort of palliative by the government to reach the mass populace. It could be in form of a free health care scheme, foodbank established in each local government area in partnership with a reputable foundation, micro financing scheme (with reduced interest rate) to help the small and medium scale enterprises. There surely needs to be several interventions for the mass populace post COVID-19 crisis.

What is your advice to people at this period of lockdown?

It is a time for rediscovery. Time to Learn, Unlearn and Re-learn. This period has shown that a lot can be done and accomplished virtually. So my advice would be to use this time to learn a new skill, improve on old skills and read up on latest online/virtual business modules. Also, many schools and institutions are offering free courses across different disciplines. The aim should be to equip themselves with as much useful information as possible.

Tell us about life as actress and producer?

Acting is something I enjoy. I started acting in 2015 with my first role being Nkem on Gidi Blues by Femi Odugbemi. When we shot Gidi Blues, I was an associate producer and I was just starting out. After that, I starred in TV shows like Tinsel and Battleground before I ventured full into productions. At some point, I weighed my love and strength for acting vs producing. I noticed I was fully in my element behind the scenes. It was absolutely something that challenged me and gave me fulfilment. In 2019, I took a break from acting to fully concentrate on building my film company Cut24 Productions. I plan on taking it to deserved heights.

What was the first movie that you participated in?

My first Film was shot in 2015 and aired in 2016. It’s called Gidi Blues.

What are some of the memorable moments in acting?

Acting was the first big step I took in my journey to become an entertainment mogul. It was a learning curve. It gave me insights to understanding the mind of actors, crew members and producers. It also brought  me closer to my ultimate goal and I’m extremely excited that I’m still on this journey.

What were the initial challenges, did you feel like quitting at any point?

I believe there is nothing profitable or of importance that won’t come with some sort of challenges. For me, the early stage challenges would be having to stay up late, constantly perfect my script or act, having to juggle different things I had my hands on. But in all these, I never felt like quitting, maybe just taking breaks in between to refresh my creativity. I definitely enjoy acting and it is something that I would always go back into. For now, my focus and energy is in making Cut24 Productions one of the biggest film and television companies in Africa.

Tell us about the people you admire?

I admire a few people but I really do admire and look up to Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. Oprah for obvious reasons, the tenacity to build her own empire, being the first Black American multi-billionaire. When most of us knew her as the host and owner of the Oprah Winfrey show, I wanted to be so much like her from when I was in primary school.  I speak of her in high esteem as a trend setter and not a trend follower. Tyler Perry is currently the highest paid man in Entertainment. He started from nothing and now he is employing the most African American in the film world. From one of his most inspiring interview stating that ‘Blacks in Hollywood are fighting to be given a seat at the table and rather he decided to build his own table in Atlanta’. That is the drive I admire the most, the ability and drive to create something extraordinary from absolutely nothing.

What are the other things that occupy your time?

To be honest, spending quality time with friends and family and of course traveling. I love to travel and hopefully after the Covid-19 pandemic is over, there would be new adventures and opportunities to explore.

What is your definition of style?

I believe style should always be determined by occasion and moments. My style truly is flexibility, either extra-extra comfortable and glam when the need arises.

What are the things that you won’t do in the name of fashion?

This is a tough question for someone who has a laid back comfortable style. I am not familiar with the concept of going out of my way for fashion, its best to just be you.

Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life?

The passion to conquer and excel in the greatest influence in my life. I want to excel in whatever venture I find myself in while also helping and changing lives along the way.

How would you describe Nigerian designers today?

Just like Nollywood, the world is starting to appreciate Nigerian designers. They have been able to cross cultural boundaries and showcase ingenuity. You now see their styles being featured in top magazines around the world, in top TV fashion shows and runway event. The quality of their designs are top notch. I wear a lot of their products and I am really happy with what they offer me.

HAUWA ALLAHBURA: I admire and look up to Oprah Winfrey

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