Arrayed against stars like Rita Dominic, Genevieve Nnaji, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Mary Lazarus, Belinda Effah and Fulu Mugovhani, Adesua Etomi amazingly came out tops. Relatively known unlike most of her competitors, the adorable lady clinched the Best Actress award for her role in ‘Falling’ at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA). She speaks with OLUSHOLA RICKETTS on her growing profile in Nollywood.
Were you not surprised to win the Best Actress award at the just held AMVCA considering the quality of other nominees?
I am grateful to God and to every single person who voted for me. Winning the Best Actress in drama is an honour and I do not take it for granted. Every actor in my category is very talented and being nominated was already huge for me. It is a very special feeling to be appreciated for your efforts.
Was AMVCA your first major award?
Well, major is relative. I guess you could say that, but I won an Exquisite Lady of The Year Award in December for the Best Actress in a movie. Earlier last year too, I won a Golden Movie Award for Most Promising Actress. It’s possible that AMVCA was my most publicly acclaimed award so far. It is certainly the first one where an entire continent watched me get on stage and pick up an award. Winning AMVCA was humbling. If ever there was a tangible way to describe what the Grace of God on your life feels like, that’s the feeling I had.
What does the award mean to you?
AMVCA hasn’t changed anything about me. It may have changed people’s perception of me or how well they recognise me, but Adesua before winning the AMVCA for Best Actress is the same after winning. I act because it is most natural to me; acting for me is not about awards or recognition. It is a gift God gave me and I’m very happy to do this for the rest of my life regardless of awards.
What gave you the edge?
The Grace of God. There is a saying: ‘God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.’ I honestly feel that everyone in my category was deserving of the award and could have won it.
Was acting your dream as a child?
Yes, for as long as I can remember I wanted to be a performer. I had always wanted to get on stage and perform before the entire world. But being a childhood dream doesn’t mean the journey to achieving it was easy. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there, so I am grateful I had people like Ego Boyo, RMD, Genevieve, Omotola, Rita Dominic, Nse Ikpe- Etim and many others who I got to watch on television and YouTube to look up to. Seeing them act gave me the courage to take this risk.
Who were your biggest influences?
God, my mother and people who are chasing their dreams and doing impossible things.
How do you think AMVCA can be improved?
I think they did a fantastic job, I had a very good time at the awards. The musical performances were entertaining and the comedians were hilarious. The logistics behind putting together a live show must be immense; and then imagine that which involves flying in people from all over Africa. Since organising an awards show is not my speciality, I am not in a position to criticise. I’m certain that they have a skilled team that analyses everything and they will look for ways to be even better next year.
Are there roles you cannot play?
I am an actor and being an actor means you are a blank canvas. I obviously have not played every single role I’ve been offered, but if I ever turn down a job, it would be because the logistics or scheduling did not work out or I felt I was not in the right frame of mind to take on the proposed character. I am happy to play any role. Like I said earlier being able to act for a living is a gift.
What are your strengths?
The Grace of God upon my life is my biggest selling point and God is the singular source of my strength. Also, I like to believe I take my job seriously and I give 100 per cent to every project I get myself involved in.
Did your parents support your decision to do films?
Yes they did. My entire immediate family is my rock. I am thankful I was born into this family.
What are you working on currently?
I am currently working on two things. The first is a project I would start shooting in the second week of April. I am excited about the script and my character. Right now, I am getting to know the woman I’d be playing. Once I wrap up on this I’d take maybe some days off and then start preparing for an international project entitled ‘And The Spirit Slowly Dies’. It’s my first international film project; it has three production arms, Nigerian, South African and British. It would be directed by Michelle Bello and we are expected to start rehearsals and principal photography in May.
Do you plan to venture into production anytime soon?
I believe that we all have a responsibility to leave this world better than we met it. I think that if you’re fortunate enough to have a sphere of influence, you should use it for good. I would love to create opportunities for talented people, so yes eventually I would produce my own films and stage productions.
How do you deal with advances from men?
I am grateful that people find something about me interesting. I am also grateful that God sorts these things out. I have never felt pressured by anyone, and for the most part people are polite and respectful of my space.
Have you ever been molested by a producer or director?
No, thankfully God has kept all of that away from me. Everyone I have worked with has been very professional and they relate with me only about the work. I think that once you are solely interested in the business of making films, it is all you would focus on.
What are the qualities your ideal man must possess?
He must love God and put Him first. He must be hard working, ambitious and he should always make me laugh.
Do you sing also?
Yes, I sing. I was in the choir for several years. I have never sung professionally, but this year that’s a side of me I would love to explore. I think we get these gifts so we can share them with the world.
How was growing up for you?
I grew up like any other lady. There were incredible highs and depressing lows, but through it all I grew up knowing I was loved and I had a support system. I was born in Owerri, Imo State and I spent the first 12 or 13 years of my life in Nigeria and the rest in the United Kingdom. I’m Esan from Edo State and my mother is Yoruba.