WHEN it comes to fast rising stars in the Nigerian movie industry, beautifully talented Beverly Naya, comes to mind. She has acted in popular movies such as Alan Poza, Weekend Getaway. This is one actress that is not going away anytime soon. This stunning actress never fails to dazzle at red carpets with sultry outfits bound to turn the stiffest of necks. She animates life into any character she plays, sinking you deeper into the role.
ENCOMIUM Weekly met with her at Bungalow Restaurant, Victoria Island, Lagos. In this exclusive interview, she spoke about her career, life and much more…
You recently returned from Calabar, what were you there for?
I was just shooting some things for Ebony Life TV. I just got back a couple of days ago. It was a really nice experience, very professional, well put together and I think the channel is just really fantastic.
When did you start acting?
I started acting in London when I was about 17 and I just realized I was just very passionate about the craft and I decided to carry on acting and pursuing a career in that field, that’s basically it.
Who inspired you to act?
I’ve always loved Edward Norton. He’s a fantastic actor. I’ve always loved him. I think his ability to completely become the character is phenomenal. I think he’s a really good actor, so I watch a lot of his films. I also love Meryl Streep. I think she’s the best actor in the world as far as I’m concerned. I think these two actors, along with Denzel Washington are actors who have inspired me along the way.
What was growing up like for you?
It was fun. I always say this, I was an only child so it was quiet and whatever, but it was nice because my parents showed me a lot of love. Till this very moment they still show me a lot of love. All they wanted was just for me to be grounded and not to be spoilt because they don’t want me to rely on them or depend on them too much. They wanted to ensure that they raised a grounded, responsible, humble being and I’m thankful for the way they raised me because I am where I am today based on those morals that they instilled in me.
Are your parents Nigerians?
Yes, they are. They are Delta Igbo.
Why did you decide to come to Nollywood?
After I graduated from university, I just knew that I wanted to act. I knew I wanted to act and in London I could shoot a film probably once in a year and that’s it. Whereas coming to this industry, I can build a brand as well as shoot films more often and be given a more diverse amount of scripts. So, I decided to come back for that reason.
What’s your view of Nollywood so far?
I think we’ve grown a lot as an industry over the last decade to be honest. If you compare films that were shot as little as three to four years ago, compare the, to the films we have today, there has been a huge, huge difference. So, I think I came at the right time because right now, we have a lot of quality films that are being produced and directed and a lot of trained professionals coming back to contribute to this industry, which is fantastic.
Who is your favourite Nollywood actor/actress?
I love Onyeka Onwenu. Aunty Onyeka Onwenu, I love her. I think she’s a fantastic actress. I think she’s very graceful as well. I love her presence. When she walks into a room, everybody notices her. She’s just very beautiful, very graceful and she’s very deep as well. So, I love watching her in films.
What of your favourite Nigerian artiste?
There are a lot right now. I really love Wizkid right now. I think Wizkid’s music is amazing and I love the fact that he continuously re-invents himself so that he never becomes boring or monotonous. I think that’s what every artiste needs to do in order to stay current and I think he does that really, really well. For now, at this moment in time, I love Wizkid’s music and Burna Boy. I think they are both doing fantastic.
You’ve done a couple of movies, which one would you say is your most successful so far?
That’s the problem I am having. Most of my films haven’t been released. That’s the thing. A lot of my films have not been released so a lot of people know me as an actress but they haven’t seen my work. Thankfully, you have Weekend Getaway which has been released, Alan Poza was premiered but it hasn’t been released. I think I got a lot of buzz from Weekend Getaway and I’m so sure that once Alan Poza is officially released to the Nigerian market, I’ll gain a lot of publicity from that one too. Fortunately, I was nominated for two awards at the NAFCA’s, that’s’ the African Oscars. I was nominated for Best Lead Actress for Alan Poza and Best Supporting Actress for Weekend Getaway. In both categories, I think I’m up against Genevieve Nnaji, Ini Edo, Monalisa Chinda, the heavyweights of the industry. So, we’ll see what happens, it’s an honour.
You always look ravishing at events do you have any particular designer?
I have a few designers that I work with. Thankfully, they are always willing to design for me and make me look exactly how I want to look on the red carpet, so that’s good. When I’m not working with designers then I just usually wear something that’s in my wardrobe or go shopping and buy something. I just like to look nice.
Who designed the dress you wore at the Ebony Life TV premiere?
The designer’s name is April by Kunbi. She’s a really good designer and I know that dress got a lot of buzz. I really loved it. I think it looked really nice on me.
Are you trying to seduce guys?
No, not in anyway. When I wear things its not to seduce, it’s how I feel. If I feel confident in what I’m wearing then I don’t think the opinions of others really matter.
Are you currently in any relationship?
Not at the moment (laughs).
What attracts you most in a man?
I always say I love a gentleman. I think any man who can treat a woman with respect and appreciate her hard work in everything that she’s achieved and not feel insecure about that, is definitely a strong man and a man that I could see myself with. God fearing is also very important, handsome, ambitious and a goal-getter.
What do you do to remain this beautiful?
(Laughs) Thank you. In regards to what I do, I just take care of myself, I take care of my skin and I wash my face every night, every morning, just to keep it fresh.
What’s your favourite Nigerian food?
I have a few. Oh, let me list them. First one would be pounded yam with maybe Nsala or draw soup, I love it. Second would be grilled fish with plantain and pepper sauce, heaven, I love it (laughs).
How does Beverly Naya relax when she isn’t in the movies?
I just like to spend time with my family. If not, then I watch a nice TV show, read a good book or go to the spa. There’s always something for me to do or I go out with my friends.
Are you into anything else in showbiz apart from acting?
I used to model. I used to model in London and I did some modelling work in Nigeria as well. But now, as the opportunity presents itself, so far as the pay is good then I’m willing to model. I do a lot of script writing and I’m producing some short films this year as well.
What more should fans expect from you this year?
A lot has been happening. Unfortunately, as I said before, the majority of my films haven’t been released so I’ll keep saying it. My fans should anticipate the release of my films. Some of them are Stripped with Ramsey Nouah and Joseph Benjamin. Then you have Up Creek without a Paddle with Omotola, Van Vicker and myself. You have Forgetting June which is Emem Isong and that’s with Majid Michel, Mbong Amata and myself. There are so many so, I’m just looking forward to the release of all these films. Besides that, everything takes time. There are a lot of things that I’m working on that will be in the media very soon.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, July 16, 2013