INTRODUCTION Beverly Ifunaya Bassey, popularly known as Beverly Naya, is a popular Nigerian actree. Born and bred in London, she has since her childhood days wowed the British audience with her brilliance. Came into spotlight in 2010 after taking a lead role in a Nollywood movie “Living in Exile” she has since then shown in many movies after. She has a couple awards to her name.
EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND
She is a Nigerian born and raised in England. Beverly hails from Delta State, from Ibuzo, the Igbo speaking Delta region. She had her formal education in the UK. She graduated from Roehampton University in London where she studied Script writing and Film making. Prior to that, she had studied Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy for her first degree at Brunel University. She was brought up by a rod-sparing mother who pampers her with the good things of life. She did not encounter any incidence of child rivalry or juvenile inconvenience. She enjoyed all the parental attention because she is the only child, her mum says she is spoilt. Even at that, she has a mother who has always been there and is supportive. “There is this natural flow of communication and understanding between us. We hardly have frictions because we have developed a bond to an extent where we make statements even in our silence mode. The bond is so strong.” She says.
Her mother is her manager, she is her mentor who nudges and urges her on. Her father shuttles between the US and Nigeria while her mum and her are back in Nigeria settling down to embrace what the country has to offer. Due to that, her relationship with her Dad isn’t so strong because they really don’t see much but they communicate as much as they can. The best his Dad can do is support her career and that he does. According to her; “One cannot compare motherly love with paternal because while the former is always more physically available, the latter is out there on the field trying out his hands on different things.”
Her growing up days were wonderful and full of memories that she love to relay all the time. Even though it is impossible for anyone to have a perfect childhood, but she feel hers was quite reasonable because her mum did a great job. She lived in London with her mum and it was a memorable experience for her. She has been coming to Nigeria since 2007 and she love every part of her homecoming. She is more at home in Nigeria now than in the UK even though she has lived better part of her life there. She lived in London from birth till she was six months old when she later relocated to Atlanta, then Chicago and thereafter returned to London when she was eight years.
She believes London is owned by whites and definitely, whites will get jobs faster and easier than blacks. She had in-depth study of Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy. She could have secured a white-collar job in any company of her choice out there but she believes she would not have found peace and satisfaction doing so. But in Nigeria it is different. So she decided to come back to her own country here she knows that she will always be accepted, appreciated and loved. Those are the major reasons why she came back. she love where she grew up, appreciate all the things she’s learnt and willing to apply them in Nigeria.
According to her: When the talents for acting ignited in her, she knew right away that this was what she wanted to do, she has passion for it. Honestly speaking. She came out tops in her college but she believe that it buttresses my deep-seated interest in acting to a large extent. Studying Psychology, Sociology and Philosophy wasn’t with her heart. So she decided to find herself another route and she fell in love with acting and dancing. She love the fact that she could escape from who she was and become someone else. When she got an award for acting in college, she was overwhelmed because she never saw it coming at all. That experience made her believe that she can. She acted in movies and done theatre shows in the U.K. She played a lead role on a Ben TV programme called Dynamite and a documentary titled ˜The American Dreamâ™, which won her the Princeâs Trust Award.
CAREER AND LIFE
She started acting in London when she was 17. Even though she was studying sociology and psychology in school she later switched to drama and scriptwriting. She has always been more of a creative person. In the U.K she did a few short films for the British Broadcasting Corporation and The Metropolitan Police. She acted in a couple of theatre productions including one by Debbie Tucker-Green, called Stoning Mary and then Psychosis and Crave.
She was a lead actress in Lancelot Imasuen’s “Living in Exile” acted alongside star actor Desmond Elliot in the movie which her mother produced. It was an incentive for her to come back because before then, She was not too willing to come to Nigeria but her mother bankrolled it to encourage her. Obviously, after shooting that film, it was a great experience and she felt motivated to work more in Nigeria. “They made me feel at home and I was able to discharge my roles flawlessly. It was one experience I will live to cherish for a long time. Also, it was an opportunity I grabbed with my two hands. It was wonderful working under the direction of one of the industryâ€™s best hands, Lancelot.” Speaking On Erotic scenes in her movie role and coping with the industry: It was all pure acting. The roles must be delivered according to mood of the scenes. It must be seen by the audience to be real. Personally, I did not get involved but professionally, Julie was seen doing all those things she did in the movie. Let me emphasize here that Nigerians are sophisticated and conscious enough to know the difference between reality and make-believe. I donâ€™t really think issues arise from kissing or playing romantic scenes in films. Artistes encounter challenges when they find it difficult to detach themselves from roles they are often seen playing. There are artistes who get stuck to particular roles and as a result, become stereotyped as the very characters they play.Â Julie had to act as if she was actually in a relationship with Dave(Desmond Elliot).Â And she did just that. My career revolves around professionalism. I am careful about the way I carry myself. I wouldnâ€™t want to be in the predicament of losing a contract because someone lacks professionalism. I handle myself with dignity. I know Iâ€™m a beautiful woman and men would always make advances even outside the industry but I try as much as possible to be polite in turning them down. Relationship
Are you going to write any movie scripts for the Nigerian movie industry any time soon? “Definitely, I do intend to write scripts in Nigeria. When I’m at home, I write scripts and I have quite a few of them stored on my laptop. One day I’ll turn them on to people in film.”
Have you been fulfilled with the roles you’ve been playing since you started acting in Nigeria? “I think they are really interesting. The ones I’ve been fortunate to be a part of, I love them all. There is always something unique about the character, the way that it is portrayed. I think they are really good, they are improving and I only have good things to say about it.”
Do you have any plans to act in a movie outside Nigeria? “I do want to act outside of Nigeria. I’m very passionate about this industry. My Mum has raised me to believe that charity begins at home but I would definitely love to work internationally. I actually have two projects that I’d be working on in the near future in Atlanta and New York so I’m looking forward to that.”
She has shown in a lot of movies leading roles in them since she debuted in Nollywood, she’s also got a couple awards and many nominations to her name. A few popular movies she has shown in are mentioned below:
Death Waters (2012),Tinsel, Home in Exile, Alan Poz ,Forgetting June, Up Creek Without a Paddle,Stripped ,Weekend Getaway,When Love Happens (2014, Brother’s Keeper (2014) Before 30 (2015-) ,Oasis (2015), (Make A Move 2015) And more…
She cited Ramsey Nouah and Genevieve Nnaji and Joke Silva as mentors.
Her advice to people really keen to enter the movie industry: It is extremely important that you pray and have faith in God and yourself then you must be patient, bearing in mind the fact that nothing comes easy. Give your best in everything that you do and let God do the rest. Stay blessed 🙂 Speaking On Marriage: Fortunately as an only child, nobody is breathing down my neck. Of course, I am looking forward to the day I will get married but God’s time is the best. First, he has to be a man, he has to be God-fearing, eloquent and brilliant. I like it when a guy knows how to treat a woman. I do not like conceited men. I just like a guy that is down-to-earth and knows how to make a woman feel special.
Naya, expectedly, has been linked to a number of young and single men in the Nigerian entertainment industry; like pop singer, Flavour and TV show host, Uti Nwachukwu. On Flavour, she maintained a well publicised comment that she had never met him in person and being linked to him was laughable. For Uti, she explained that they had been good friends and being seen together at an event led to the rumours, as fans assumed that there was more to their casual relationship. Speaking about her several handsome co-actors on Tinsel, she said, “I’m not really looking for a husband on Tinsel” despite her on-screen romance with Tinsel star, Gideon Okeke, whom she refereed to as a good friend.
AWARDS AND ENDORSEMENTS She won the Most Promising Talent category at the 2010 Best Of Nollywood Awards. She also won the award for Fast Rising Actress at the 2011 City People Entertainment Awards.