By Nkechi Obinna
One of Nollywood’s most favourite actors, Stephen Damian has attributed his rise to stardom to his fans, both male and female, saying they are the reason for his success in the movie industry.
A former model who in 2014, made it to the top 10 of Mr. Nigeria Pageant in 2014, Damian also said that only God can change the tide of one’s destiny, the way his life transformed.
In an exclusive interview he granted African Community News (ACN), the University of Benin graduate of Mathematics and Statistics revealed the challenges of growing up, life as a model, his relationship with women, coping as a movie star and how the industry can move forward, among others issues.
He said- “My journey to Nollywood was a miracle. After contesting for Mr. Nigeria, I went for a few auditions but I never landed myself any role. So, while I was about to give up, my friend introduced me to Emeka Duru. The first day I called him, he gave me a role in a movie titled, Little White Lie, produced by Iroko TV.”
The actor attributed his initial exposure and contact with important people to his days as a model and described as great experience, adding that Bolanle Ninalowo was his greatest inspiration
“Bolanle Ninalowo was my greatest inspiration. He is a great actor and someone who was there for me when I was coming up. He encouraged and supported me,” he said.
According to him, being a model and Mr. Nigeria Pageant contestant were fun and memories he would always cherish.
“I had so much fun and it improved my confidence and level of discipline. I made it to the top 10 in Mr. Nigeria 2014. It was indeed fun, educating but tasking,” he stated.
Speaking out his journey so far in the movie industry, the actor said- “I have played a lot of challenging roles but my character in a yet-to-be-released project, TUG, was very challenging because I acted like a nerd. So, it took a lot of practice for me to act that, because that’s not me. I’m not a nerd; I don’t even use reading glasses.”
Continuing, he said– “I can’t remember all the movies that I have featured in. But let’s just say that I have featured in blockbuster movies and series including Tatu, Wedding Party, Disguise, Mad About You, Washerman, Tailor Papi, Powder Dry, Papa Gone Mad, and Sabotage among others.”
On his favourite roles as an actor, he said- “I like all the roles that I have played in movies. But I really enjoyed playing Lekan in Papa Gone Mad, which is currently showing on IROKOTV, because the character is deep and intense. I also enjoyed playing Tasco Champion in The Student, which is currently showing on Netflix.”
Stephen Damian said handling women admirers or those who crush on him is not a big deal as it comes to one thing, which is that fans are people that love you and therefore want you to succeed.
“It’s not bad to have girls crushing on me. I can’t be disrespectful to them though, I’m already used to it.”
The popular actor said there was nothing wrong with an actor dating an actress in the same industry, saying however that he has no interest in such.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong with dating an actress. However, I’m not dating one and I don’t intend to,” he said, adding that he intends to keep his love life as a private affair for now.
He sees loyalty as the greatest attribute a woman should have, even as he said he admires many other virtues in the opposite gender.
Going back memory lane, Stephen Damian said he was a rapper and model but had passion for acting, from the beginning.
“I’ve always had passion for acting from when I was young; I stared acting from my primary school days,” he said and recalled that it was Emeka Duru that have him his first acting job.
He said his first outing on set. “I was very nervous on my first day on set, but I was lucky to have a director who was patient and helped me with my confidence.
“I have always believed that anyone can achieve anything with hard work, prayers, humility and perseverance. So, I knew if I keep working hard with my talent, I would succeed against all odds,” he said.
On his plans for the future, the actor said he is looking up to contributing positively to the movie industry in Nigeria, among other things.
He said- “My vision and priority as an actor is to contribute to the betterment of Nigerian film industry, and also continue to better my craft as an actor, because there is always room for improvement.”