Nse Ikpe Etim is one of the faces making Nollywood tick right now. Her subtle appearance and smooth diction are capable of keeping movie viewers glued to the screen. In this interview with Senior Reporter, Ifeoma Meze, she tells of how she has managed to make such an impact despite her newcomer status.
What is your reaction to the view that your foray into Nollywood was not planned for?
It is true that my foray into the industry was neither planned nor deliberate. I like to say that it just happened. I was handed the Reloaded script by Emem Isong and that has been the journey thus far. I did not see myself as an actor. Even when she said I had no confidence, I chose not to prove anyone wrong. I still get scared.
You are regarded as one of the good actresses in Nollywood right now, what do you feel about that?
That is a lot of honour to be bestowed on a relatively newcomer. I am honoured to be on the same pedestal as the amazing actors that Nollywood has produced.
It has been said that you view acting as a part- time thing and that is why you are hardly seen around actors and actresses or events relating to the industry?
That's not a fair thing to say. I live in Abuja and it is quite tough to attend all the functions here in Lagos. I do try to attend the ones that take place when I am in town. And for the record, it is not part-time for me.
Aside acting in a couple of movies and the fact that you are from the Akwa Ibom/Cross River axis of the country, what do you think is another interesting detail about you?
I am a Nigerian. I think that sounds a lot better than claiming a state. I have been told that I have a sense of humour. I love to cook, write in my spare time, read a lot and lay in my couch. That is it really.
Why do you think a lot of people regard you as a very sexy actress despite having the likes of Omotola, Genevieve, Omoni Oboli and others around?
Sexy? That's not what I see myself as. I am a regular woman. Though not the girl next door. I honestly don't think of myself in that light.
Your innocent and girlish look is said to be one of your strong points. Do you share the belief?
That means you have not looked straight into my eyes. Is that not where they say innocence lies? I don't share in the belief but I dare say that I do not see what people see.
As somebody who has been around for only a few years and your stock is so high in the industry, what is the factor responsible for your success?
I did not see that coming. Well, since I always give glory to God, I will say that it has been the grace of God coupled with the fact that I have been able to marry professionalism with my God given talent. Discipline is key and the people I have worked with have brought a lot to the table of my rise and I am truly thankful for that.
What would you say to the observation that you feel most comfortable working with the likes of Desmond Elliot, Emem Isong and Ini Edo,?
I dare say you have not seen all the other ones I have done. I have worked with other notable producers. Some are still in the can, so in good time you will see that I have worked with other people apart from my 'people' as you put it.
Do you think you are tailor-made for the romantic parts you usually play?
I do not think I am tailor-made for any part in particular, it's just that I have been given romantic parts to assume but I have played other characters.
Are you as romantic in real life as you are portrayed in the movies especially since that is what has got everybody talking about you?
I can be romantic. I believe in happy stories but this does not mean that I live in a surreal world. I also think that the reason people talk is because the character might have been portrayed the way the director wanted it interpreted.
Are you still looking forward to coming back to Lagos having lived in Abuja for a long time?
I am looking forward to moving. I will be closer to my mother and won't be accused of not attending functions.
Are you scared, excited or anxious about featuring in Kunle Afolayan's movie that would that is coming up soon?
As a nervous actor I am scared; as an actor who recognises excellence, I am excited. I am just thankful for all the opportunities.
Since you like cooking, have you ever thought about taking it professional?
By professional do you mean if I earn from my hobby? Yes, I do. I try, and do hope to get it way bigger than it is.
What were the dreams you had of what you wanted to be when you were younger?
I honestly don't know what I wanted to become. I admired actresses Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida because that was what I saw on TV, but for me, growing up was paramount and so having to follow my dad's dream of being a doctor was far-fetched.
Did you follow those dreams through your school days?
I think by the time I was eligible to write JAMB I knew I wanted to study theater arts, which was why I deliberately chucked the first form in front of the post office, walked into CBN and lied to my father's friend that my mom could not buy a form for me. Having just lost my father I whipped up sentiments, bought a new form and applied for theatre arts at the University of Calabar.
Did you have a swell childhood or were you a princess that was not allowed to play with other children?
I had a fun-filled childhood. Even when friends were chosen for you, you make the best out of it. Looking back, I could not have asked for a different or better childhood.