By Kehinde Ajose
Keira Hewatch, one of the ‘Lekki Wives’ hasn’t ridden to prominence in the movie industry on the back of a horse of chance, the beautiful, voluptuous actress has paid her dues, and what makes her stand out isn’t just her ebony beauty but her zest for life and depth in her ability to interpret roles.
Keira has shown what she can do in movies like Kajola, Two Brides and a Baby, Lekki Wives, among others. Here, she opens up on her journey so far and on what has helped her on the way. Excerpts:
How has your acting career been so far?
My acting career has been a journey; an experience, where I have learnt who I am as an actor; where I have evolved ,and grown into the artiste that I am now. It has been tough, exhilarating, frustrating, satisfying, sometimes a struggle, most times, triumphant and I am grateful for every single second I have lived to experience it.
I have been truly blessed in what I do and I don’t have to complain. But don’t get me wrong, I complain a lot; about certain work situations and some of the things that are at the fringes and the mechanics with which the industry operate but I can never complain about the fact that I’m an actor!’Yes, I’m not where I want to be just yet, that will happen soon enough,but I’m not where I started from. That’s saying something and I’m grateful about it.
Are you into acting for the money or for the pleasure?
I am in it for both. I am very passionate about my craft. Passion is the only thing that can make a five-year-old decide on something and then pursue it as a twenty-something-year-old woman.
I am an entrepreneur, which means that I am also about the business
Any successful person who says they went into their career solely because of the passion for their work is probably lying because when you love what you do, the best thing in the world is being able to be financially secured as a result of it. Sure, you can start out on something because you love it with a fierceness that defies everything else, but you are also hoping that you can pay your bills as well.
Tell us about your most challenging movie role?
I think that would be Kajola. First of all, it was a movie that flopped in the cinemas. Kajola was said to be a work of imitation; we were said to be aiming or shooting above our station, trying to copy Hollywood , Instead of our people to encourage the unconventional film, they were out criticizing it. When Lekki Wives first came out, some Nigerians took to social media sites and tore us to shreds.
We were copying Desperate Housewives, we were copying Hollywood reality shows, we weren’t original, and we were crap. They watched it, when it was released, and some of these people came back to apologise. For me, it was heartbreaking the reception I got for Kajola especially as it took such a toll on me physically, emotionally, and otherwise.
It was challenging in a way I would’nt love to experience again. There are people who loved it and applauded our efforts after they saw it, but others who didn’t even bother to see it just narrow-mindedly trashed us because it didn’t look like a Hollywood sci-fi film. We will get there one day but we have to start from somewhere.
Whose advice has been instrumental to your career, and who gave it?
Over the years, I have received a lot of advice concerning my career. Sometimes some of them have been pointless, others, practically perfect! A few have stayed with me. My mum said to me once: ‘Always remember your beginnings, where you come from, who you are on the inside; keep those memories with you and you won’t stray,’ those words are held close to my heart.
Kate Henshaw said to me the first time I ever met her: ‘keep your head up and work hard, be humble because your attitude will take you farther than just the talent alone. Never give in to pressure, no matter what and you will get there!’. My dear friend and producer, Blessing Egbe, said to me the year I met her: ‘Don’t try to be like anybody else! Be who you are and never pretend because you want to ‘fit in’ with the rest. People will take note because they will see the difference in you and will recognise that, as well as your talent!’. I’ve held these words dearly and I reflect upon them regularly. It’s a great way to pick myself up on a low day
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
A particular guy who was a contact on Facebook discovered I live on the street next to his. One day, he waited around and followed me to my house, of course, I didn’t realise he was following me because he stayed well back, but the gate-man saw him and asked why he was lurking about .I heard about this a lot later in the evening of that day, and he began to gush to the gate-man that he was a big fan and he liked me and that he was crazy about me. The gate-man told him he was just plain crazy! I got scared about that a little. I moved a few months later.
Have you ever been heartbroken?
Yes! I have been heartbroken. Of course I have, I’m a human being. I know there are some people who may claim they’ve never experienced that. I just think that is weird. Seriously though, I think getting hurt helps you grow stronger and more mature emotionally, so that you can handle life and love and relationships better. It could be with the same person; it could be with a new person. Either way, what doesn’t kill you, can only make you stronger! Isn’t that right?
What new projects are you working on in 2014?
This year, I have Lekki Wives, the new season is hitting DVD stands pretty soon! This second season is bigger and better! Lekki Wives just blew up and I’m so happy about all the rave it’s getting. Also, I’m gearing up for the next instalment of Murder at Prime Suites. I also have some straight to DVD films coming out that should be hitting market stands very soon. One of it is titled ‘Ghetto Paradise’, I am actually looking forward to that film being released.
How do you handle negative comments on the social media?
I don’t bother reading them anymore. Few years ago, I used to feel really bad if I read a comment about me that was derogatory and hurtful. Now I don’t give a hoot.