Helen Paul-Bamisail has been a household name in the entertainment industry. The Edo State-born comedian, presenter, singer and actress popularly known as Tatafo doesn't need any introduction.
The University of Lagos (UNILAG) graduate of Theatre Art is counting her blessing that her baby voice has brought her to limelight with little or no scandal. In this exclusive interview, the mother-of-one bares her mind on her journey into entertainment as an all-rounder, and the reason behind the name Tatafo.
I am from Edo State but born and bred in Lagos.
I attended all my schools in Lagos - primary school to the university. I had my Master's degree and other certificates in Lagos.
The name Tatafo was given to me by a friend called Matthew. Matthew is someone that is very hilarious. We used to work together at Eko Mix schools, that's Eko FM.
And most times we sit together and exchange jokes. So, later Matthew left Eko real mix studios and got a job at Radio Continental as a producer. He suggested that I could use this Tatafo thing as a good content on radio. I accepted the idea as longer I would make a living out of it.
Sincerely, I just enjoy mimicking people and I mimic not just children, even adults, friends and family. By so doing, I was now able to adopt the baby voice and ever since I've been using it.
Very funny, I had an interesting scenario and a lot of fun.
I grew up in Fadeyi area of Lagos with my great-grandmother, a strong disciplinarian. Later I started staying with my mum, though she is playful, but at the same time disciplined. She doesn't need to shout on you or talk too much, with her blinks alone, you already know what she means. Her singing also tells you something, so you should know what to do. I grew up with those things, learning to talk with non-verbal communication. It was very interesting and that's what made me who I am today.
My dad is in Abuja and he is someone who is busy, but my mum is the one I see every time when I need to pay school fees, eat and when I cry. She laughs with me when I laugh. She is always there with me. That's why I am always fond of her as the only child.
I don't think I have challenges in my life. I didn't actually know I was going to shine. So, I'm always enjoying myself, doing what I like to do best. But I didn't really struggle. I was actually shocked at a point that I would get this type of attention, audience and love from my fans. Sincerely, I want to use this opportunity to thank all my fans that showed me love and made me feel special.
With my fans, I don't think and feel like coming out faking. I would like to come out real - the way I want to look, talk, dance and jump. They make me work hard and try to give them new things. So, when we talk about challenges really, I am just grateful to God because I'm not always talking about odd moments. If you keep celebrating your past, you will never move forward.
So, I only look forward.
I got married in 2010. I met my husband through my boss, Uncle Paul in our office then in Eko FM and we were friends. He was first brother. I used to call him brother, but now I call him by by his name, Femi.
For me, I'm just enjoying myself. Anything I feel like doing, I invest in it and tell God about it. I am not thinking evil of anyone, I've never thought of destroying anybody's life nor doing any evil to someone. So, why should my own have any problem? Things would work for me except anyone that is sitting down, thinking of evil and not have time to think of new ideas. I've never thought of all that.
There's no way you will be plain with God that things will not keep coming to you. Ideas and concepts would be coming, but when you are there, destroying other people, busy thinking of what you're not meant to think, of course you will not be able to come out with concepts or ideas.
Why celebrity marriages crash
No one wants to break up his/her marriage, no one wants to cry.
It can happen because there are no rules on how you can stay in marriage. If God is helping you, you thank your God. If it is not working for other people, we have to pray for them that God will help them locate the best person that would make them happy all their lives. It's not just in entertainment industry that marriage problem comes. No, it happens in other industries but just because we are famous, that's why people keep shouting that actresses, actors, musicians, comedians and those in the industry don't stay in marriage.
The real fact is that it happens, it's a normal thing that happens in our society. It happens in the banking sector. It happens to doctors, lawyers, etc. No one wants marriage break-up, no one wants to pull out of marriage. Marriage is a good thing, but you know, it's not easy coming together as husband and wife. That means you're thinking of the other person.
Some people always abuse me too.
Sometimes when I don't have time to make up, they abuse me. They would say that without make-up I'm not fine. Some people would say I'm a short woman, but I don't care because it is not about size. If they don't talk about you, that means you are no more living or relevant.
I like it. I feel very cool. I just love camera. When I see camera or anytime I see microphone in front of me, I'm always excited. Experience doing her job and at the same time pregnant It was not easy, our body is different. For me, I'm a sanguine.
It's very funny. Whenever I was pregnant, the child would start blowing me when I was on duty. I would caution him not to disturb me, that I am working. I would tell the unborn baby, "You know I've tried by transporting you down to Nigeria, so you too behave yourself."
I took my drugs when I was meant to take them. It's not easy being a mother.
Advice to youths
I tell them to keep being themselves, live a positive life and don't try to please anyone. If someone is wearing Brazilian hair, you wear your three-in-one if you can afford it and carry yourself well. Success is not the way you look, it is what is inside you.
If you are joyful and happy inside, the sky is your limit or your beginning. Just keep being yourself and don't let anyone talk down to you. You don't try and follow what the society wants you to be. Who does God want you to be? Those are the questions you should be asking yourself. It is up to you to confess it over and over again to yourself that you are a great woman of substance, different from other women.
We thank God for the gift of life. The Bible says, "Write the vision and make it clear so that men can run along with you." So, this is the vision you're seeing now. I have a bridal shop, I sell ankara, lace fabrics and all stuff. I want God to keep giving me concepts; I pray for more ideas, I pray to get better each year, each time and season. If you cannot utilise your dreams, someone else would use them to utilize his/her own.
Crazy experience by a fan
My fans are my friends and my love.
One of the experiences I had was the day a fan slapped me from behind, out of excitement, but I could not talk. I am sure I cannot take that again. Such a person would be arrested person.
Truth be told, God's mercy. I value His mercy; I pray His grace should not leave me.
Advice by mother concerning sex and men
She told me, "Don't open your laps for men, they are bad". Everybody is my friend, I said so, but men are bad, simple. And they are very deceptive. I had it in mind.
So, I fought them, I made them my friends and nothing more than friends. Not only men that deceive, women deceive too and women's own is worse. Most times, I'm the one that breaks their hearts, because I have many male friends. Often, men don't actually see me as a girl they can toast, rather they see me as a sister. My mind is not dirty, anything that wants to happen would happen, first through your mind.
So, my mind is plain and their mind too is plain. It is when one is thinking of evil that evil would come and consume the person. I was a tomboy, so they didn't see me as a girl, they saw me as a sister.
Uti and me
My husband is jealous of me and my love Uti. He is my love on Jara show, nobody can take the place of it. Uti is my love, because Uti makes me get money from Jara. I like Uti very well.
As I said, every gift of God within me must find expression. I have talent to sing, dance and do comedy.
I have talent to sell things, so I am just enjoying myself. Stage fright As I said before, be yourself, enjoy what you do and definitely people would identify with you. Once you are good, people will follow you. People, who wouldn’t want to follow will sit down, so just be you and observe your society.
I act now. My director and producer, Elvis Chuks invited me one day.
He said I'm funny and should come and act. I demanded my money and he quickly paid me and I was very happy. When I heard I was going to act along with Funke Akindele, Mama G and Bishop, I was excited. That brought out the joy in me. We did it, so we thank God.