Daniella: I wasn’t the most confident, expressive before BBN
Daniella Utangbe Juli Peters is a budding actress, spoken word artist, entrepreneur and content creator. Popularly known as Daniella, she was one of the Level Up housemates at the 7th edition of the Big Brother Naija. The 22-year old indigene of Cross River State is a graduate of International Relations and Diplomacy from EPS La Cite University, Cotonou, Benin Republic. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her dreams and aspirations as well as life after the BBN television reality show.
Take us through your growing up and how it has shaped your personality today?
I grew up really comfortable, but at some point things changed. My dad lost his job and things started to fall apart financially. My mum took up a bigger role in supporting my family and growing up, I realised how united we became and how my mum and dad never allowed anything affect us as a family and how they would always still try by any means to give us the best. So, growing up and living in both states of life showed me that there is always something to learn in every situation. It taught me how to love, taught me not to give up and it taught me to cherish family.
As a BBN ex-housemate, how has it helped you evolve?
Before BBN, I wasn’t the most confident and expressive. On going into the house I had to be. Ranging from the task and being confined in a space with people I had never met before, a lot needed to change in me. I needed to learn how to control my anger and actually talk about the things that bothered me. Other than character building, being an ex-housemate of the show put me on an entertainment pedestal that may have taken me longer to attain if I hadn’t been on the show. I am still evolving into the best creative and poetic version of myself post-show. The world is my oyster and there is so much evolving and becoming left for me to do.
You are a budding actress, and spoken word artist and content creator. How are you able to hone your skills?
You know what they say, practice makes perfect. Being a budding actress I watch a-lot of movies and I study specific actors I find interest in, from how they convey their emotions. I’ve recently started going for auditions so as to equip myself as much as possible. As a spoken word artist and content creator, I just keep trying out new ways to modify my craft. We never stopped learning. Hence I will never stop trying to become better at what I do.
Since leaving the BBN house, how well are you in tune with touching base here since you have a business in Cotonou? Are you looking at setting up here in Nigeria?
I’ve already made up my mind to relocate to Lagos and start up this new life of mine. With regard to my business in Cotonou, I am looking up to setting it up in Nigeria and gradually spread out across the country.
What new project will you be embarking on, what should we expect from Daniella in the New Year?
From 2023, just expect a lot. I am not just fixated at poetry, I am an actress, writer, host, model and an entrepreneur. I will be exploring most of these areas of interest and I hope you all enjoy every bit of it. My podcast and YouTube channels are the first few things you should be expecting to see start up this first quarter of the year. I will also be resuming my master’s degree programme in Community Psychology; it is my dream to get a PhD as well, all before I am 28. I want to eventually have my own foundation for kids and child development. Psychology is something I am passionate about.
What drives and motivates you?
My family, future family and life drive and motivate me. My parents worked so hard to provide and teach my siblings and I the best they could. Whatever I become is a sign of gratitude to them. My future family deserves a mother and spouse who is an inspiration. That is my goal, to inspire my family and the world that it doesn’t matter where you come from, if you dare to dream you can achieve way more than you imagine. The fact that I wake up every morning tells me that I have a purpose that needs to be met.
How easy or challenging would you say it has been navigating the industry?
It hasn’t been easy navigating the industry. To be honest, I am still finding my way. When I eventually do, I’m sure it will be evident.
What does fashion mean to you?
I used to say that I wasn’t the most fashionable person but I’ve come to realise that I was judging myself based on other people’s definition of fashion. So, for me, fashion is art and art is life. I believe fashion is used to express feelings at a particular time and also to express one’s craft. For me, fashion is an outlet of feelings that words just cannot be used to explain.
What is your favourite fashion piece?
My favourite fashion piece would be anything from ÀSÒ
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are writing, exercising, watching movies, listening and writing music.
What is your favourite local dish?
Groundnut soup and garri
What is your life mantra?
My life’s mantra is, ‘I can achieve anything I put my mind to.’