Nollywood actress, Nancy Isime has some juicy information for you.
The actress who is also a model and TV presenter, Nancy Isime, spoke to TheNation recently about her private life and many more. Read the excerpts below:
Give us an overview of yourself and how you got into the acting world
I am a model and an ex beauty queen. I am still modelling. I started out with a TV drama series called Echoes. That was my very first gig. Last year, I was in a couple of movies. Some of them are yet to come out but I started acting from modelling. I was doing runway modelling then and a director on one of the runway shows was going to do the TV series called Echoes, so he saw me and suggested that I come read a script for the drama. I wasn’t too into it but I went for the reading and I got the role.
From there, it just kept going. From the comments I am getting and from the referrals and commendations, I would say I have done well. Also, I am a TV presenter. I present a show called The Squeeze which is a gossip show. I also present a show called What’s Hot. It is a technology show. I also covered back stage on MTN Project Fame season 7.
Is it right to say acting stole you away from modelling?
If I still get modelling projects, I still go for it but acting is something that has caught my interest. There is something I have always said. I don’t want to be stagnant in life, I want to go out there and explore my options. I modelled for a while, I was a beauty queen at first. I won the Miss Valentine International pageant in 2009. Even before then, I was a model but my career in modelling took off from there. After that, I started doing fashion shows. I did quite a lot of fashion shoots and also commercial modelling. But when it came to acting, I found it really interesting and very challenging but I still model. I won’t say acting took me away from modelling.
Professionally, how long have you been acting?
I did Echoes sometime around 2011 and then I went off the scene for a while. You can rightly say that professionally, I went into acting from last year when I did Heaven on Ebony Life TV. If you want to count from Echoes, it would be from 2011. But mind you, after we filmed Echoes, it didn’t start showing till last year as well; so it is safe to say I started acting from last year.
In summary, how would you say your acting career has been?
It has been awesome. I happen to work with very talented people. I have worked with quite a number of big names including John Njamah. I just finished a job with him. So far so good. It has been awesome to be able to work with people who have been in the industry for a while, people who have been acting way longer than I have. So I can say it has been going on very well.
What was your first experience on set like?
I was really nervous. At a point, I forgot how to speak English (laughs). I didn’t know what was going on. The director kept on saying ‘Nancy, calm down.’ I would still give it up to him. His name is Gibson. He is a Ghanaian director and he nurtured me. He told me that I was doing great. As soon as I caught on, I could speak up. When I started, really, I couldn’t speak up. I was so scared that my voice sounded somehow. I used to speak on such low tones. I was so nervous working with really big people. Echoes had a lot of stars.
So far, what has been your low moments?
None, really. All I can say is that it is really challenging being an actress. When you are on set, no one cares if you are down or anything. They just want you to come and deliver a job, whether it is an emotional scene or a very violent scene. All they know is that you should come on set and do what you can.
For now, there has been no major low moment. It is just that I have had very challenging times and anybody who is in the industry will tell you that most directors are extremely strict and they can appear harsh but that is just for your own good. I hope I never have those low moments, but there are times when I get home, I just drop my bag and say no more because sometimes you have to shoot for as long as 17 hours a day.
How far are you willing to go to rub shoulders with the big names in the industry?
I am a total believer in hard work, in persistence and in being focused. The highest I can go is to get to work, be the best I can be and bring out the best in me each time I’m on set. I don’t believe in doing several takes. I believe in bringing out the best in the very first take. What I just need to do to get higher in the game is to be the best, to work really hard and to stay focused and to just make sure that I do what I am supposed to do on set and give my producers and directors their money’s worth and not waste anybody’s time. All I’m just trying to say is, I just make sure I bring out the best in me, make sure I connect with the crowd and can give the audience what they want to watch.
What does being a model entail?
First and foremost, you need to have the body. Also, you need to be patient enough to go for auditions, stand on queues and also have the heart to take disappointments. People think modelling is so easy but it is not. You have to stand on a long queue, get auditioned, get picked sometimes or get dropped at other times.
It is all about the ability to always try and to keep coming back until you get your big break. In Nigeria, modelling is not as it is in the western countries where you get your big break and that is it. Here, you can get your big break and still go back down, so it is very imperative that you get your big break and continue to work hard and continue to come back for more. Just be hungry because when you stay hungry and when you stay focused, you keep coming back for more. Make sure you look good and presentable all the time because you have to represent brands, so you have to look the part.
How true is the notion that modelling rakes in big money?
The fashion world hasn’t really gotten there if you ask me, but the commercial world is definitely there. For example, if you get to model for multinational brands, it brings a lot of money compared to the fashion industry which has been stagnant for a while. There is money in the modelling business but you need to have a big break for that.
Compared to acting, which pays more?
For now, I can’t say. Because in acting, I am not yet in a place where I can start to receive all the big bucks. I just basically started a year or two years ago. I cannot be expecting to get paid as much as people like Mercy Johnson and Genevieve Nnaji but trust me, there is a lot of money in acting but that depends on the stage you are in. I believe someday, I will get to the stage where I can say it pays too much. For now, it takes care of my bills. It pays moderately but if I am to compare it to modelling, I can’t really say. But as I said, some modelling just pay small cash; some bring in the big cash.
Would you date a broke guy who is jobless?
Let me put it this way, I would date an ambitious guy and ambitious guys are never really broke, they are never jobless. They are guys who are so industrious, guys who would go out there to do everything they can to make money for themselves. I say this because I want the best for anybody that I am in a relationship with, be it a friend, my family member or a boyfriend.
In the case of a boyfriend, I believe any man who is broke and jobless really has no business being in a relationship. I say this because it actually takes away from your focus as a man. As a struggling man, you should sit down and focus on your goals, unless you want to be poor forever. If you know you want to be rich, there is a stage you have to pass through. If you can pass through the stage of working hard, putting yourself out there to make sure you are comfortable, at least you can now go out there and find a relationship.
You don’t even have to go out there and look for a relationship. They will come to you. That way, you can now start to make your choice. But if you are a man who is pursuing girls up and down in the name of ‘I am broke, please love me,’ I don’t think it is necessary, I don’t think it is worth it. Coming back to me, I cannot date a man who is broke. I can only date a man who is ambitious, who is focused and who is hardworking. You can’t be hardworking and jobless. Those two do not come together. I work too hard to want to sit down with a jobless man. I only can date a man who can inspire me to be better. So we both can work hard to get to where we want in life. But when you are jobless and you are calling my phone 24/7, then I have a problem with that.
Are you in a relationship?
That I can’t answer (laughs).
Is it that you are wary about having an interference between your career and your relationship?
No, I don’t see myself having any interference whether I say I have a boyfriend or not. I just like to keep some things personal for my own sake, for personal reasons. It has nothing to do with the job. There are married people in the industry, so if it doesn’t affect them, it shouldn’t affect me. I would rather keep that personal.
Can you let us into your educational background?
I did my diploma at the University of Lagos where I studied Social Work. It was a two-year course, but I haven’t gone for my BSc. I rounded that up last year. For now, I am still working with the diploma.
Why Social Work?
I do love social works. It is something that, if push comes to shove tomorrow, I would love to practice it. I love social works and the fact that it enables me be there for humanity, to be able to give and just help people in general. Later on, I intend to go for my BSc in the same field.
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