Etomi Adesua: Nigeria’s New Sweetheart?
In less than three years in Nollywood, Adesua Etomi who we’ve once had on the cover of G.L when we cast our spotlight on the Next Generation of Nollywood last year has led a successful career in a rather short time frame. Bubbling with energy as she enters the studio with a pixie cut, a print shift dress and hugs to go all around the team, she breaks the ice with G.L as she reveals five things people probably did not know about her saying, “I’m left handed. I’m not a fan of handbags and jewellery. I think Will Smith is perfect. My mum is a pastor and I sang in a choir for ten years.”
Etomi made her debut into the Nollywood film industry in 2014 with Knocking on Heaven’s Door and a year after bagged the Best Actress in a Drama Award at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards for her role in Falling. In 2017 she went on to become part of the cast for one of the highest grossing movies in Nigerian history The Wedding Party (TWP). Prior to that she had been very much involved in the theatre scene featuring in plays like Shattered, Anatomy of a Woman, London Life Lagos Living, Saro 1 and 2 and The Secret Lives Of Baba Segi’s Wives to mention a few.
Debby to Dunni
Being a actress is no easy feat and being a successful one we imagine must be harder. When asked about her strategy was when she came into the Nollywood industry, she says “ I didn’t come here thinking I am going to meet this person and meet that person, my strategy was prayer and divine connections. That was what I was going for, I wasn’t trying to look for who was going to help me or give me a handout.” The original plan was to stay in Nigeria for three months and head back to the UK but as plans changed she knew she had to hit the ground running, “I knew what I wanted to become and I didn’t know how I wanted to get there but I knew the things I didn’t want to do to get there. I knew there were certain things that were associated with success and that’s preparation, staying prepared, keeping the work at the forefront of everything that I do” she says.
An evident steady climb, she reveals her motivating factor for her career to be the love for storytelling saying, “The love of getting a chance to play different characters and the fact that I know that my job has an impact on people,” so much so that it influences the character selection in movies as she admits to choosing characters that are flawed because of her belief that humans are fundamentally flawed and the need to connect with her audience.
Speaking on her role for TWP, she explains the audition process for the hit movie, “I auditioned just like everybody else. On the first day I came for the audition I read with three guys, so that’s three different stages then on my fourth audition stage I had to read with Banky and that’s when I got the role and that was when he got the role too because he went through the audition process as well. He had to read with myself and someone else before they finally decided on myself and him for the final pick.” Being affiliated with TWP for Etomi she says has helped with exposure, marketability as an actor and in terms of having great box office sales as well as more opportunities in the industry.
Getting into character
Passionate about her profession, when asked on other career choices asides acting she says, “I’d be acting. There is no option B for me, I know everyone says it but I literally don’t have any other answer”. She later admits to becoming a crime scene investigator because of her love for puzzles. We point out the majority of roles performed by Etomi revolve around love to which she laughs and says, “First of all, love makes the world go round and everyone identifies with love”. She also reveals movies coming in the future that will feature her in characters we’ve never seen before.
For Etomi, script selection is key. She says, “The story, the characters, the relationships, those are the things that attract me to the script.” She adds, “ If I read a really great script and I don’t have peace doing it, I don’t do it and I think it has worked for me so far.”
In 2016 she played the role of Dara in The Arbitration, which strayed very far from the roles she’s played previously and even altered her personality temporarily. She describes it as one of the most liberating experiences of her life, “She’s someone that swears, she curses, she’s very different from me, very rude, very straight to the point, very crass. In fact, it’s funny because when I was getting into character, my manager said I was kind of mean.” At this point she enters into an argument with her makeup artist and manager who assure her she was fully into character even when the camera stopped rolling. Laughing as she reminisces, she says, “I became Dara pretty much and here’s the thing, one thing that I love is getting the opportunity to fully get into character and not get out of character and it is really hard here in Nigeria because on set if you start acting like that to everybody they will be like “Na wa for this girl o,” they won’t understand that it’s just you trying to stay in character.”
“I am very passionate
about people and children that need help,
so I feel like I am going to be a mum to many”
The intimate circle
Asides being one of the new leading ladies in Nollywood, Adesua was party to one of the best kept secrets of 2017, her engagement to Banky W, her co-star in TWP and popular RnB singer. In the Nigerian entertainment industry where there are barely secrets, we credit her ability to keep this secret to her inner circle. When asked about her inner circle she says, “I’m very particular about my inner circle, you can count my closest friends on one hand and that’s because I believe you just need a few good friends, I am very friendly to everybody else. Also my family, my mum, those are the people that keep it all together for me and they are always there and you can’t beat that” she says.
The fair lady of Nollywood is guilty like the rest of us when she reveals three things she does when she wakes up every morning, “I wake up, I pick up my phone, I try to say a prayer and then I make a particular phone call” (she laughed, obviously alluding to Banky W). She also admits to being a home buddy and a movie lover which is how she takes downtime from her busy schedule with some good food. When asked how she juggles she explains, “I just do it. As I’m talking to you since the beginning of this year, I have worked very single month, I have shot in South Africa for two months. I came back and went to shoot for a month in Nsukka. I just remember that I am a vessel and I just have to keep going because I owe it to myself, the fans and people that love watching what I do to do this. I also try to make a conscious effort to take a break, so once I am done with my projects towards the end of July, I’m going to give myself a little break and then come back.”
Little Miss Sunshine
Etomi is skilled as an actress, a dancer and a singer. Wondering what she’s not good at, she admits to wishing she had kept up with ballet, gymnastics and playing the piano although she has a guitar which she’s fairly good at. She believes in teamwork when acting as she spills the lessons she’s learnt as an actress.“I’ve learnt to be vulnerable. I’ve had to learn to trust the character completely and utterly. I’ve had to learn to let go of Adesua each time I act and because it’s hard sometimes, you’re in your own head a lot of times and I’ve learnt more than anything else that acting is team work.”
In the nearest future, Adesua hopes to have an acting school in the bid to bridge the gap currently in the industry with the lack of young talents. She’d also like to become a producer as well as a mother to many saying, “At some point my ten year plan, maybe even less, is to open an orphanage, I love children and I am very passionate about people and children that need help, so I feel like I am going to be a mum to many.”