I’M NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP –NOLLYWOOD ACTRESS BEVERLY NAYA
Within five years of making her debut in Nollywood, British/Nigerian actress, Beverly Naya, has received high acclaim for her work on stage, television and in film. And in this interview with JOE AGBRO JR, Beverly who is a brand ambassador for Dark and Lovely talks about acting, her love life and founding Fifty Shades of Black, a campaign to empower black women and girls.
IN one of your recent movies, Surulere, you played the part of Omosigho who falls in love with Seun Ajayi somewhat suddenly. Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. I don’t necessarily believe in love at first sight… But then I do believe that you can meet someone that you genuinely connect with, someone you could see yourself with in the future.
But then I wouldn’t call that love at first sight because you still need to get to know that person. And when you get to know that person, that person may not be the person that you thought you liked in the beginning. So for that reason, I don’t necessarily believe in love at first sight.
Are you currently in a relationship?
No, I’m not in a relationship at the moment. I’m just taking it one day at a time. I know that the right guy will come into my life when it is time. But at the moment, I’m just enjoying the process of going on dates and meeting new people and hopefully, I’d meet the one soon. Let’s see what happens.
Some news reports have linked you romantically with Uti Nwachukwu but you denied. Do such stories affect your romantic life?
Oh no, not at all. First and foremost, Uti is my good friend and there was no truth to that rumour. So, it never affected my love life in any way because I don’t think people actually believed that I dated Uti. So, rumours like that have never affected my love life.
In western countries, same-sex relationships are becoming accepted in everyday life but in Nigeria
And many parts of Africa, it is illegal. What is your own position regarding same-sex relationship?
Well, I don’t really condone same-sex marriage. Obviously, whatever your preference is, it’s up to you. But a same-sex person getting married in the church is not really how it’s supposed to be in my opinion. Being a Christian and everything, I feel like marriage is a sacred thing and it was originally planned so that a man and a woman can go to church and be married in unity. So, I just feel like I don’t really agree with same-sex marriage but at the end of the day, who am I to judge? I’m not really in a position to judge anyone.
Do you have a crush in the movie industry?
Actually, I don’t. We do have a host of very good looking actors but I like to keep it as professional as possible because I don’t really look at them in that light. But yes, we have a few very handsome actors in the industry.
Aside acting, what other things do you do?
Right now, I’m acting full-time but I’m going into production. But I want to start with a documentary. So, I’m producing a documentary called ‘Fifty Shades of Black.’ It’s basically about empowering young girls to love themselves.
Now, what I mean is that there’s obviously something that I’ve noticed in our society where I feel like people aren’t sure about how they feel about themselves. You know, some women aren’t proud to be dark-skinned and look how they look. Via the documentary, I hope to empower and inspire women to love their complexion and love themselves just the way they are because all black is beautiful, whether you’re light-skinned, dark-skinned or brown-skinned.
I hope to highlight the issues concerning colourism because I think colourism is an issue that’s starting to plague Africa, especially Nigeria. And this is where young people believe that one complexion is more desirable and more beautiful than the other, which isn’t necessarily true. So, I intend to do that in the documentary. And yeah, that is really what I’m working on at the moment.
What is your impression of Nollywood?
I think Nollywood has grown a lot within the last five years. I think it’s getting better and better by the day, the quality of our films are getting better. Everything is just getting better and I’m truly impressed with where we are today because we’ve improved the industry drastically quickly in such a short spate of time. And I’m really really excited to see where we would be in another five years’ time.
A lot of actors delve into movie production. Are you interested in going that direction?
Yes, as I said earlier, I am definitely interested in going into production. One of the main reasons why I want to start with the documentary is I kind of just want to get my feet wet and see how it goes. And then get an idea of that and come and build my knowledge before I plunge right into filmmaking. So, that’s the reason why I’m starting with the documentary. But in the very near future, I intend to produce my own film, maybe a short film or feature film. Let’s just see where God takes me.
What is one thing fans don’t know about you?
Hmm… Let’s see. Well, there’s one thing that I don’t think I’ve said very often. I don’t grow hair on my legs so I’ve never had to shave my legs before. Thankfully, I’m not one of those females who have to worry about shaving their legs every week. I’ve never had to do it in my life. That’s one thing my fans don’t know about me.
Who is your role model?
I would say my mum. My mum is a very strong, courageous and amazing woman. I would say she is definitely one of my biggest role models. She’s a huge inspiration of mine and she has just achieved so much in her life. And I admire that she is very hard working, very ambitious and I really admire that about my mum.
If I was to pick a person in entertainment, then I would say Oprah Winfrey. She’s a huge inspiration. I love everything, I love how far she’s come as a woman considering everything she’s gone through. She just keeps thriving, keeps pushing, she keeps getting better and more successful. So, she’s an inspiration for that reason.
Your mum has played an important role in your life. Was there ever anytime she didn’t support you?
No. my mum has always supported my career. She’s always believed in me. her only issue was the fact that once I finished with my A’ Levels, I wanted to go to university to study acting and she was totally against that because in as much as she believed in me as an actor, we all know that acting can be quite volatile. It can be demanding and at the same token, it’s a dicey business some don’t make it. So, she advised me to study something else in university so I have a back-up plan in case my acting career doesn’t take off as planned. So, yes, I decided to study filmmaking and once I graduated, I moved to Nigeria and she supported me from the very beginning. Since the first time she saw me act, she’s been my number one supporter and I really appreciate that.