Nollywood Actress Beverly Naya “I Don’t Hv Any Regrets Dt I Relocated To Nigeria From London”
Sept 6, 2014 – Nigerian Actress Beverly Naya “I Don’t Hv Any Regrets Dt I Relocated To Nigeria From London”
Beverly Naya, one of the darlings of Nollywood movie buffs speaks with OVWE MEDEME on a number of issues, including her latest project targeted at young women, the challenges of the profession and why she is still single.
HOW has it been since you relocated to Nigeria?
Obviously, it has been a rocky journey. I’m still trying to adjust to the culture and the society here. But then, it has ultimately been an amazing journey, especially because I have learnt so much and have grown so much as a person and as a woman. So, I am grateful to God for the journey so far. I don’t have any regrets; I am happy being here.
What part of the adjustment process has been most difficult for you?
Well, obviously, I was born and raised in England; so, I am used to a different way of living, a different culture and different types of people. But the truth is, it was a major challenge in the beginning. But the longer I live here, the more I understand how to do things. I think, for that reason, it makes me more grounded. So, I am happy.
In that case, are you comfortable with the level of acceptance the Nigerian movie industry has given you?
I am happy with the acceptance and the recognition I have received thus far. I am not really concerned. In fact, I don’t think anybody should be concerned as long as there is still more to be achieved, more to gain and more to learn. I am just really excited about the journey. I am very pleased with how far I have come in this specific space of time.
You played the role of a church girl in this series, Oasis. What was it like for you?
What drew me to the character was the fact that I hadn’t taken on a role like this before. Besides, such characters don’t come very often because they are not that commercial. It is not what people necessarily want to see in the cinemas. Instead, they want to see the glamour. So, I was drawn to the character for that reason alone. Also, I just had to challenge myself because Paris, the character I played, is just an amazing. She goes through so many things and struggles to maintain her faith, in spite of her challenges. So, I think that alone inspired me to take the character.
Does playing the character affect the way you see things now?
Yes, definitely. It makes me appreciate life more and I’ve realised that I can’t take anything for granted because tomorrow is not certain. So, I’ve realised that I must cherish today, live life to the fullest, thank God for everything and be grateful for how far I’ve come. Sometimes, we tend to take our blessings into our own hands, forgetting that there is someone responsible for bringing us and taking us to where we are today-that is God. I think, in that respect, I’ve learnt how to appreciate God for everything in me, for every breath and every achievement I have had.
As an actress, you have stayed away from controversies. So, how have you been able to keep your head above water?
I am a very private person. I don’t like to go out that much. If I do go out, then, I make sure it is for an event or I am hanging out with my friends or stuff like that. I don’t like to be seen at the wrong place and at the wrong time because I don’t want a situation, where I will have to explain my actions. I think that is the most important thing to me. I like to stay humble and stay grounded. That is really how I avoid controversies.
But there are those who believe that controversies sell. Don’t you buy into that idea?
Actually, I don’t think it does sell an actress. It just makes one cheap in my opinion. Besides, I am trying to be an inspiring woman. I am trying to be a brand that young girls can look up to and be inspired. It is not that I am a role model; I am not trying to be a role model and I am not saying I am perfect as a human being either. But I am just saying that I want people to look at me and say they are inspired by what I have done in my life. So, in that respect, I do not think that controversies sell at all.
You came into the country practically handheld by your mother…
(Cuts in) It was a plan. When I came into the industry, I had already studied in a school in London. So, I already had two years of experience as an actress. But then, when I came here, my mum had already built a lot of contacts in Nigeria, so it kind of made things a lot easier for me.
Beverly Naya’s mother
Why didn’t you pursue your career over there, instead of coming back home, considering the general belief that starting out there projects one better?
Things weren’t working in the film industry in England. Apart from that, the country is predominantly white. First and foremost, film is a depiction of reality. It will be unrealistic to have films constantly portraying the black culture because, as I said, the country is predominantly white. What does that mean for a black actor? He gets less work. But when I am here, because the country is a 100 percent Nigerian, I fit into the culture more. As an actress, I had to think about it. Am I passionate? Yes. Do I want to work? Yes. So, that was what led me over here.
Do you feel threatened by any actress?
No, I am not threatened by anyone because I have always believed that I am in competition with myself. I don’t really see anybody else for what he or she is doing. I only see what I am doing. So, I am constantly trying to improve myself and pursue my own dreams.
Does acting affect your private life?
Not at all! They are very separate. What people see in Beverly Naya as a brand is quite different. I can’t say they know that much about me and my personal life because I keep that much to myself.
Aside acting, what else keeps you busy?
I have a degree in filmmaking, so I am working on my own productions. We are doing short films and web series. That is what I am currently working on. I also have a degree in scriptwriting, so I write scripts in my spare time. I am also currently working on a campaign for Fifty Shades of Black, which is a project geared towards young girls, inspiring them to love their complexion, whether they are light-skinned, dark-skinned or brown. That is what I am working on right now and that is currently taking quite a bit of my time.
What inspired you to embark on that project?
For me, I just felt like we live in a time, where our black females aren’t necessarily appreciative of their skin colour as much as they should-not all of them though. I want to inspire young girls because I feel like there is no point in targeting adults because their minds have already been formed. So, if I could just inspire young females to love themselves, no matter what and appreciate their black beauty just the way it is, then, I will be inspiring the next generation. That was the main reason I started the project. Then, I brought together some artistes to join me in the campaign; and so far, it has been worth it.
What other activities have you lined up for the project?
Right now, I am currently working on a youth tour. We intend to go to different schools, speak to young people, empower them and give them encouraging advice and stuff like that. We would also collaborate with someone who is very prominent, as far as motivational speaking is concerned. I can’t say her name yet because we are still working on the legal aspect of it. That will be very soon. I am also collaborating with Dark and Lovely. There are a variety of things we are working on at the moment.
Is Beverly in a relationship?
At the moment, I am not in a relationship.
Well, I just feel it is better for things to remain the way they are than for me to settle for less.
Have you been in a situation where you had to settle for less?
No, I have never been in such a situation.
What if it takes too long for this guy to come?
He’ll find me; I know he will.