Ebony actress and madame of BeNaya Productions, Beverly Ifunaya Bassey – popularly known as Beverly Naya has revealed the frustration and bullying she encountered in her early days in Nollywood, Nigeria’s burgeoning film industry.
The soft-spoken British-Nigerian actress who started out with just acting but has now moved on to producing with her documentary “Skin,” which was premiered at this year’s edition of i-Represent International Documentary Film Festival (iREP) told THISDAY , The Sunday Newspaper, how tough it was to find her foot in Nollywood and how much flak she got for sounding “fake” – apparently, it is still undecided if she is faking her British accent or not.
“It took awhile for me to get over bullying. When I first joined the industry, particularly the first four years, anything that people talked about me got to me. I was wearing it like a coat and agbada. Everything they said used to get to me,” she said.
“I didn’t really know who I was. I was still finding my feet. Looking at a young girl in her 20s coming to Nigeria to conquer the industry and then realising that it was a different culture, different people and different ways of having a conversation. Because I was constantly trying to fit in, trying to be a people pleaser, it affected me as an actress. Instead of being myself and expressing myself, I was trying to be someone else, even in films.”
The graduate of philosophy, psychology and sociology from Brunel University, Uxbridge also disclosed how she tried so hard to blend in by trying to speak like a Nigerian but that didn’t work out, she still couldn’t please her audience.
She disclosed, “Once, a film I featured in got bad reviews but I really liked the movie. I remember being at an event and I got a Google alert and it was another bad review but this was the worst.” “The headline was: ‘Beverly Naya Should Quit Nollywood, She Doesn’t Stand a Chance’. But look at me today,” she added.
The 30-year-old actress and producer have indeed risen above the setbacks. She was named the ‘fastest rising actress’ by City People Entertainment Awards in 2011. Apart from featuring in award-winning movies and TV series including ‘The Wedding Party (1 & 2)’, ‘Tinsel’ and ‘Skinny Girl in Transit’, ‘Skin’ marked her debut as a producer.