Echoes, the popular series on Galaxy TV, may have brought Nancy Isime to limelight but the Edo State-born and Lagos State trained model, actor and TV presenter, deigns past glories.Two years after winning Miss Valentine International 2009, Nancy appeared on TV in a new series. Few years afterwards, she transited from television to feature films, and to TV presenting replacing Toke Makinwa as the presenter of the popular show, Trending on HipTV. Isime has starred in movies such as Road to Yesterday, A Trip to Jamaica , Yes I Don’t, Hire a Man; in TV series such as Daddy’s girl, On the real, Mute, Gidi Blues, Royal club, Tinsel, among others. The 2018 Maya Award Best Actress of the Year winner among other insightful thoughts shared with Newton-Ray Ukwuoma how hard work and practice gave her the edge in the entertainment industry.
I am an Esan, Edo State born. I lost my mother at early age. I was raised by a disciplinarian father, who basically taught me to behave, to work hard and to respect people. I grew up in Lagos and in Benin (Edo State).I had my primary school education in Lagos and secondary school education in Benin, Edo State. I have a Diploma in Social Works at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
Ushering and Modelling
I started off as an usher. I went to a couple of events, did some ushering jobs. I modelled as well. I was on the runway.I worked for the likes of Zizi Cardow, Adebayo Jones, Shakara Couture, House of Marie, among others. I won the Miss Valentine International beauty pageant in 2009. I finished second in The Miss Telecoms Nigerian beauty contest; and then acting and presenting came along.
At the time, I was just a young girl that liked adventure, that want to explore. I am still that girl.Initially, I was doing what I was doing to make ends meet, to make some money to support myself while I was rounding off my OND in UNILAG, until acting found me. It has become my passion. I didn’t have any initial training before I joined. I get working on it, until I got better. Whatever you see today is a product of years of practice and perseverance. There are girls more talented and gifted than me in the industry, but my persistence and the grace of God is the reason I am still here.
I was on the runway one day when a producer walked up to me about an acting offer. He told me he was auditioning for new actors and asked if I would try. I went for the audition. That was how I landed a role in Echoes and the rest is history.
I would say that all the roles I have gotten so far have been very challenging. Like I said earlier, I didn’t start out with much training.This is why I will give it to all the directors and the actors that I worked with. They brought the best out of me. Also, the kind words from viewers, producers and people in general, who like what I do and who feel I am good at what I do, have inspired me to stay on.
It wasn’t a sign of maturity or coming of age in the industry. I wanted to style my hair and I saw this somewhere. I tried it and liked and I decided to keep it.
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I wanted to try something new. I attended a screen test, did my thing and left. Someone called me after some days to record some episodes for about a week, which I did. I was told a representative of a telecommunication firm watched it and liked it and that was how I got the job.
Some people wonder how I am able to handle TV presenting, TV series and the movies. It is simple. Hard work. I am hardworking. When I am committed to a task I see to its end, even when I am tired or exhausted or stressed, I hardly complain. I stay on it. So, I manage. After hosting the DSTV Good Time to Get Together Launch I will be dashing off to a movie location and on and on.
I am playing a ghost in the new movie. That’s all I can say for now.
I don’t see myself as someone that embraces fashion trends. If you see me on what is trending it is probably because I love it. If I go to a store and see what I like, I buy it. What influences my style is basically me being comfortable and wearing something comfortable. I don’t go out of my way to buy what I cannot afford. I don’t go out of my way to follow the trend. I never break the bank to look good.
You know, because you are on TV, you have quite a number of following. You also assume the status of a role model for younger ones and sometimes for older people. Some may put you on a higher than life pedestal, you might be stripped of your humanness, people might expect you to be happy all the time, but this is the trick: you don’t have to be conscious of what you do.
While there is the pressure, I wouldn’t say I hate it. I do not live my life based on how people see me. I live my life free. I live the way that I want to anyway. I go to places I want to go. I walk on the streets when I have to. Yes, sometimes I have to be more careful but I never wake up and hit the road thinking about my celebrity status. I really don’t even think about myself as a celebrity. I still do regular things and stay oblivious to the celebrity status. Sometimes I am forced to snap back, like when I am on the roadside in the middle of the night trying to buy something and someone calls my full name. Generally, I really do not live my life every day wondering how people see me. I am a very free person. So, while I am honoured to be in a position where I am considered a role model, I do not want to be bothered by it.
Achievements in 2018
I am blessed beyond my expectations. I did more acting, more hosting this year. There were some personal achievements I recorded this year as well. I won the Maya Awards for Best Actress of the Year 2018 and there are more to come. It has been a blissful and fulfilling year. I can’t be any less grateful to God.
Expectation for 2019
We are going to push harder, work harder and expect to have more successes.