By ANOZIE EGOLE
Nse Ikpe-Etim is one of the most sought-after actresses in Nollywood at the moment. Recently, she starred in the latest flick, The Meeting, produced by Rita Dominic which premiered yesterday in Lagos. In this interview, she shares her fantasies, acting career and the challenges of the industry among other issues. Enjoy!!!
What is the secret behind your wonderful performances on screen?
Well, you can see the smile on my face. It is really a very big honour for my name to be mentioned as a nice actress. I own the gratitude to Almighty God who is using my directors to bring out the best in me. It takes a highly talented director to bring out the best in an actor/actress. I strongly believe that people are still doing their work as expected of them.
How do you feel when they appreciate your performances?
(Laughs) I feel so honoured. It is not easy for one to be appreciated for doing what I’m doing on screen. It means you did something good.
What is it that you are doing right when you are on set with these well-established actors/ actresses?
You know I used to say that people should never rest on their oars. If a woman hears that she cooks well, she should not relax because she has been praised that she cooks well. What I am saying in essence is that, we learn every day. Is not that people cannot do something right, but they need to be empowered. The best of me is yet to be seen.
What is the difference between you and other actresses?
I don’t know what to say, and I cannot run away from the fact that God has been on my side. Sometimes, I sit down and look at what I have done in the past, and where I have gone wrong. So I try every day to improve. I also work on my co characters in other to make something different. Well, everybody is different Even if they are living the same life.
No matter what, even when they are born of the same mother, one thing will always make the difference in the person. I believe so much that for every role you play in a movie, you must find one little thing that you connects. Like in The Meeting , you see how Bolarenwa connected. They really brought out the funny part of me in my character as Bolarenwa in The Meeting.
What do you say about Bolarenwa in The Meeting?
In movies, there are romantic comedy, there are comedy but this one, The Meeting , is a satirical comedy. Now, there is no character in the movie that one cannot identify with. Because, there is always a Makinde in someone’s office. There is always an Ijora, that girl that walks around the office pretending as if she does not know anything but she knows what she wants. There is always a Bolarenwa in every office.
There is also a Clara Ikemba the receptionist that will neither block or mare your life. There is also a gateman, that person that opens the gate at every sound of horn at the gate. You see, that the characters connected.
Talking about characters like, Makinde and Ijora, they are upcoming actors, has your perception about them changed after acting with them?
I will be very honest with you, I saw Ijora, different from the role he plays in Tinsel. And he played the lawyer and I saw he plays a different funny man here. He walked in a funny way, he reacted in a funny way then I was surprised, I said where did you learn all these things from? I was pleased with the way he acted and I said yes, our industry needs this. As a new Nollywood, we need new more entrants into the industry than we have already. I know we have talent here in Nigeria.
People are highly talented in this country to be honest. But the problem is, do they have the platform to be recognized? I am very happy for their talents. I was given a chance in Reloaded . I was supported by all the elites in the industry and I came out with that movie. In that movie, you find out that I acted amidst established actors/actresses . The movie was amazing.
If Makinde never had the platform to perform in Tinsel like other upcoming actors, do you think he would have impressed you?
One thing I strongly believe is that, you can never lock up talent no matter what. Talent will surely rise above everything. What now makes it shine is the attitude. But you can never lock up talent. Even if he has never acted before, there would have been another avenue for him to perform.
As for Linda, she is willing to learn. She does not think that she knows it all. I am actually more happy than they are for what they have. So, I know what it is like. When it comes to acting, I was burning up. And then, there on the stage, you will have the support of the cast, the director and the producer, you find out that the sky is your limit.
How soon do you intend to bounce into TV programmes since that is what most people prefer these days?
May be one day, you will get to see more of me; you will get to see more Nse. I strongly believe that when the time comes, you will see me there.
What are your thoughts about the movie?
In the movie, you know in school, there are these kind of girls, who are local but feel they know everything. They have acquired a degree, but still local. They have a sense of pride in them because, they feel they have got something. They claim they are very wise but they do not know anything that was exactly the role Mary played. So when she was exposed, she went out of hands.
Can you recall in any movie were what you intended to act was not what you acted?
I can’t really recall now but I remember there was a scene in reloaded where FEMI, walked into the living room with a girl and my character dropped for like a second or two. People outside might not notice it, but I did. When I was watching the movie, I was asking myself, why did I dropped? So, these are the kind of things am working against. You know sometimes, we all have to learn how to control our emotions.
Which of the movies do you think was extremely challenging?
Well, each movie has its challenges, but the most challenging is the one I shoot recently in Abuja, it is called, BROKEN. The movie actually broke me. The film made me see the strength of a woman from different point of view. Having a family, yet not having one. The movie was something else. There was a meeting point in that movie.
Meanwhile, I always give myself sometime to rest. I do not jump from one stage to the other. If I have a script, I dedicate everything I have and when I am done, I will give myself some rest.
Do you have the intention of going into some other branches of art?
As I always say, I am comfortable with where I am in acting I want it that way. For now, I am in love with my work. In terms of loving the people I am working with like the directors, producers and others. I love putting a smile on people’s faces. We need to remind people that things have happened and it is only acting that reveals that. It is a concept reminder.
How do you react to the ALUU-UNIPORT killing?
We should be made to know the value of life in this country. In this country, as far as it didn’t concern us, we are not bordered. We have reduced ourselves to nothing that we do not appreciate the value of life. I was asking myself if it were to be my brother, how would I have felt? I ask, was gun pointed at anybody and they said no. So, why did they kill those guys?
When you are stressed up, what calms you?
Cooking calms me more. I like cooking so much. If I can’t cook, I read because, I think that there is no knowledge that is a waste and reading gives knowledge. If you read constantly, you can never lack.
What I am praying for is that the generation after me will train their children well on how to develop reading habit. That is why sometimes when I speak, people will be asking themselves, where did this person come from? I want to tell them that it is what I learnt from my parents through constant reading. Sometimes, I hang out with my friends then I mingle my fears and foes with my friends. I can also decide to be alone. I will just lie on the bed for something and will not get up.
What would make someone earn your friendship?
Honestly, for you to be able to be my friend, it means we must not judge each other. Even if you offend me, I will understand the reason from your own point of view because, you explained to me. Sometimes, I don’t see you all the time but we are very close. Some people will take offense and the friendship will end.
I also have friends I don’t see all the time, the day we see, we greet. So, even if when somebody tells you that I have not seen you for a long time, just have it in mind that she is busy. I can’t judge. If there is anything you feel I didn’t do right, don’t judge, call me and ask me why did you do a thing like this and I will explain it in the context that I did it. That is what we own ourselves. I can laugh with everybody at the same time; it is not all the time that I laugh.
What are the things you want in your man?
I have answered this question over and over again but I think I have to streamline it into one word, I want a man I can feel safe with. It is not about money or whatever, somebody you can look back at and feel safe. He will watch your back and you watch his. Not somebody who doesn’t respect your feelings and want you to respect his. It doesn’t work like that.