By Florence Amagiya & Juliet Ebirim
Sandra Bassey, former Miss Niger Delta (Symbol of Talent 2012) is a beauty to behold. Recently, she debuted in Nollywood featuring in the screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s bestselling novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
How do you maintain your skin?
I drink water a lot. Water is essential for the skin. I also eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I hardly use body cream, because of the chemicals used in making them which are sometimes harmful to the skin.
You recently lost your father to the cold hands of death. Could you relive the experience of life without a father ?
It’s actually the worst experience of my life. He died in my arms. His two kidneys were damaged and we got tried looking for a donor. Fortunately, we found one, but my dad passed on ever before the Indian doctor that was supposed to attend to him arrived the country.
He was expected in the country on the 4th of January,2014, but my dad died two days before his arrival( 2nd of January). Words can’t express the way I feel. At times, I wish I wasn’t there watching him struggle to survive. I watched him die in my arms and I was unable to help him. It was a very terrible experience.
How have you coped with the trauma since then?
It’s not been easy, but God has been faithful. It really affected my mum so much, but we’ve been able to pull through.
How many are you in your family?
We are three and I’m the last child.
What were your parents’ reaction when you decided to go into modelling ?
Initially, my dad wasn’t cool with it. At a point, he threatened to disown me if Icontinue with my modelling career. But when I won the crown as the Miss Niger Delta Symbol of Talent 2012, it changed his mindset.He started encouraging me.
What made him change his mind; was it because you won the crown?
It wasn’t because of the crown. He saw the positive side of modelling. My dad shared the popular misconception about entertainers being cheap and loose. He also felt it was going to distract me from my education. As time went on, he saw that it was even helping me in my academics. Even though I had fame, my studies were not affected. So, he decided to embrace the idea.
You mentioned running two programmes simultaneously. How easy has it been for you?
It’s not easy running two degree programmes in the higher institution. But, it was a decision I made on my own. My passion has helped me to cope so far and coupled with the fact that one of the programme is on a part-time basis (Computer Science), so it gives me time to run the full-time programme. Though it hasn’t been easy.
Were you famous in school?
I was famous, but I feel bad that I didn’t do anything in my institution during my reign as Miss Niger-Delta. With the little things I did in the State, people know me, because I embarked on some State projects that boosted my ego.
Everything good has its disadvantages. What are those things you didn’t like being a queen?
Basically, one of the challenges I had was advances from men. Men wanting to sleep with you in exchange for project sponsorship or to approve your proposals. Another challenge was in terms of friendship. I didn’t know who were my true friends. Lots of people came around me. I didn’t know who came because I was beautiful,or for my fame. I didn’t know who came genuinely, because of my personality. I got confused at a point.
If you were asked to relive all that, what would you change?
I wouldn’t change anything, because I loved both the good and bad experiences. I learn from them and they are things I’d love to go through again.
What did fame give to you?
It has exposed me. I have lots of friends. When I think of where I come from and where I am now, I feel humbled. Fame has given me the chance to thank God for my life.
Do you have plans to go into other pageants?
There is a pageant I’m going for this year and it’s called The Most Beautiful Model In Nigeria. That’s my next step and by God’s grace, I hope to win the crown.
What kind of modeling do you do?
Basically, I do commercials, I don’t do runway. I might do that probably if I win the crown as the Most Beautiful in Nigeria.
What’s your dream modeling deal?
I would love to be endorsed as the face of Victoria Secrets. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do endorsements in Nigeria. But I’ve always wanted to be the Face of Victoria Secrets.
Since you started acting, how many movies have you done?
I’ve done three movies. It was a wonderful experience on set, I had fun.I was scared on the set of Half of a Yellow Sun, acting alongside great actors. It was a positive fear, it was just too good to be true. Acting has been wonderful, I’ve heard people say so many negative things about Nollywood, but so far I’ve not experienced any.
Would you want to take your acting career to Hollywood if you have the opportunity?
That’s actually my vision, but I wouldn’t want to leave Nollywood. I would want to project Nollywood to the extent where Hollywood will come to look for Nollywood. The main reason I ventured into modelling is to have a platform..
What qualities would attract you to a man?
He should be himself, have a good heart and be God-fearing I love good-looking guys, but that’s not the main criteria. I love guys who are decent in dressing and character.
Would you mind dating someone in the movie industry?
I wouldn’t mind. Despite the popular perception and belief that Nollywood is corrupt, I still believe I can find a good person. If I find someone that suits my personality, I don’t mind giving him a chance.
Would you marry a fellow actor if you eventually meet the one you like?
For now, I don’t know. When we get to that bridge, we’ll cross it.
How far can you go in interpreting a role?
I can go very far, but I can’t act nude.
What if the script requires that you do it to seduce someone?
You can seduce someone without going nude. Personally, I believe that one can still uphold the virtues of womanhood, even while trying to project a particular character. I can do all manner of seduction with sanity. I’ll still protect my womanhood at all costs. I could wear a bikini, but I wouldn’t go completely nude.
Can you do sexual roles?
It depends. Seduction is a spirit. A woman can be fully dressed and still seduce a man. You don’t need to go nude in order to seduce a man. Some men don’t get aroused by nudity. You just have to be possessed with a seductive spirit at that moment. Your eyes and body language can seduce.
What are those things that bother you, that you wish you had the power to change?
There are two things that bother me. The first one is, I would really love to bring my father back to life, that’s one thing that weighs me down everyday of my life. The second thing is, the kidnap of the Chibok girls. If I were given the opportunity to play God, I’d stop all manner of kidnappings and violence
Are you hoping to delve into music like some of your colleagues?
I don’t know if I have a good voice, but I play the saxophone. It’s a second passion. If I’m going to combine music with acting, it will be with my saxophone. Right now, I’m working on my entertainment company that is aimed at discovering, encouraging and projecting talents.
What do you hope to give back to the society?
The only thing I can give to the society is to try and affect the lives of everyone around me. That is the essence of the company I’m about launching. To reach out to the society and encourage talents. Putting smiles on the faces of the people make me happy.
Describe your person?
I’m a simple, industrious, ambitious and God-fearing young lady, who derives joy from making people happy at the expense of her own happiness.
What do you hope to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as that young girl who tried her best in grooming future superstars. I want to be a hope to the hopeless.