Lydian John: I let go of some acting jobs because of sexual harassment
Lydian John is an award-winning actor, presenter, event host, MC, voice-over artiste, model and public speaker. She attended Our Lady of Fatima Primary School, Akoka and later Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Yaba in Lagos. She proceeded to Anambra State University and bagged a degree in English and Literary Studies.
Having been exposed to reading and dancing in her early years, she served as the social perfect in her secondary school. While in the university, she became the Head of Socials in the Students Union Government, Departmental Director of Socials (DOS), and National DOS (2013). She was also the National Vice President, National Association of Students of English and Literary Studies in (2012/2013).
The young and beautiful Imo-born and fast-rising actress is widely known for her role as Adura in drama series shown on Africa Magic titled Hush. She recently authored her debut book, Get That Acting Job, to help other aspiring actors. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her passion for acting and lifestyle.
What influenced your passion for acting?
I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but I had an active childhood filled with lots of moments when we shared stories for the sheer joy of it. I watched that popular NTA programme, Tales by Moonlight, and was fascinated by cartoons. My primary school also engaged the students weekly with beautiful foreign storybooks like Snow White, Rapunzel, Lion King, Gulliver’s Travel and Robinson Crusoe as well as some other fun games we played with our game master (Mr. Ajayi) during Physical Education class at the playground. I also joined professional theatre before I was ten years old. I wrote full storybooks as a child and I guess I was immersed in the world of art before I became self-aware that I was fully made for this.
You recently wrote a book on acting. What informed the decision?
The book, Get That Acting Job, was written due to my desire to help actors who are struggling through their acting journey. I coach actors and I am familiar with their struggles. A lot of people have the passion to act, but they lack the skill, which in turn makes it hard for them to get acting jobs. Some have the skill but lack the knowledge of how to project this skill for casting directors and the relevant production companies to see, for them to get acting jobs. A lot of people have been defrauded because of their ignorance and desperation. I was scammed in the early years of my career due to my ignorance and a lot of people were hoarding the knowledge that would have helped. These things make it easy for an actor to get frustrated and discouraged. Now that I have the knowledge, and it has helped me tremendously, I’m willing to share and help others. I want to be to actor, the kind of person that I strongly needed for help when I began my acting career and the book serves that purpose. It makes actors realise that with their phones, social media and their skill, they can secure acting jobs. This is especially since the outbreak of COVID-19 that encouraged the rise of online casting and monologue submissions. It teaches actors the proper way to record monologues that will fetch them roles in a movie/TV series.
Who should read your book and what lessons should readers look out for?
Actors who want to learn how to audition and get roles in movies. Aspiring actors who are willing to do the work, who are passionate enough to learn what it takes to be in the acting industry and demand nothing but excellence. Actors who are interested in recording monologues that make them stand out from the crowd. Actors that want to improve their acting and overall performance skills. And all those interested in learning how their phones and social media is a tool to project their brilliance to the world. The book is utterly interesting to read, packed with many acting tips and also answers the many questions that actors ask about how to perform monologues and how to act believably. It also features amazing contributions from Eleven Stars in Africa: Ajoke Silva, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Stella Damasus, AY Comedian, Shan George, Broda Shaggi, Ujams Chukwunonso, Peter Armand Boyo, Director/Producer Blessing Egbe, Director Uzodimma Okpechi and Bimbo Ademoye.
What challenges have you faced in the movie industry?
I have been terribly injured several times while filming. I have had to let go of some acting jobs because of sexual harassment. I have also overcome bullies on the job. I remember an incident where an actress tried to bully me into leaving the acting industry during a competition for actors. We were both contestants. She told me: ‘You don’t have breasts and bumbum, how can you make it in this industry? Look for something else to do because this industry is not for you!” Well, a day or two later in the competition, I won the acting competition and she lost me. I have won several other acting competitions after that and I have also gone ahead to become a star in major productions. So, countless victories are how I counter oppositions, I don’t allow challenges to deter me from achieving success.
Who do you consider your role model(s) in the industry?
Some international stars do inspire me. They are Viola Davis, Taraji Henson, Charlize Theron and Angelina Jolie.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion for me is comfort, beauty and elegance.
What is your style?
My style is simple, comfy, exotic and creative.
What is your favourite fashion piece?
What is your favourite local dish?
I’m not sure…maybe white rice and Ofe-akwu or Amala and Ewedu.
What are your hobbies?
I love swimming, dancing, singing, travelling and speaking.
If there’s one thing you are given the opportunity to change in Nigeria, what will it be?
Our leadership culture has to change.
What is your philosophy of life?
Love life to live life!