As a model, Stephen Damian made it to the top 10 of Mr Nigeria pageant in 2014. But today, the tide has changed, as he’s making waves in the movie industry as an actor.
In this chat, the University of Benin graduate of Mathematics and Statistics opens up on what he admires most in a woman, and how he handles his female fans among other issues. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Tell us about your background?
I’m from Awkuzu in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State. I was born on September 26, 1992 in Onitsha but I grew up in Yaounde, Cameroon. Later, I came back to Nigeria for my secondary school and I attended Hilltop Model School, Minna, Niger State. Thereafter, I attended St. Charles College, Onitsha where I acquired my WAEC and NECO certificates. I proceeded to University of Benin where I studied Mathematics and Statistics. I graduated in 2014 and then moved to Lagos where I contested for Mr Nigeria and made it to the top 10.
How did your journey into Nollywood begin?
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 IROKOTV.
Which actor inspires you most?
The actor that inspires me most is Bolanle Ninalowo. He is a great actor and he’s someone who was there for me when I was coming up. He encouraged and supported me.
Tell us about your experience in Mr Nigeria pageant?
Mr Nigeria was a great experience that connected me with different people including my fellow contestants. 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.
Which movie would you say challenged you most?
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.
Could you mention the movies you’ve featured in so far?
Honestly, 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.
Which among these movies celebrates you as an actor?
All the movies celebrate me as an actor because they are all good.
How do you handle your female admirers, most especially on social media?
Most of my female admires are my fans and I treat them with the respect every woman deserves. I’m grateful to my fans because they are the reason I shine.
Which is the fondest role you ever played?
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.
How do you handle girls crushing on you?
It’s not bad to have girls crushing on me. I can’t be disrespectful to them though, I’m already used to it.
If you are to date an actress, who would that be?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with dating an actress. However, I’m not dating one and I don’t intend to.
Could you like to tell us about the lady in your life?
I would like to keep her private for now.
What do you admire most in a woman?
I admire a lot of things in a woman, but the most important thing to me is loyalty.
What were you doing before you became an actor?
I was a rapper and model.
At what point did you discover your flare for acting?
I’ve always had passion for acting from when I was young; I stared acting from my primary school days.
Who among Nollywood actors greatly influenced you?
It’s Emeka Duru; he gave me my first acting job.
What was your experience like on your first day 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.
What gave you the conviction that you would become successful as an actor when you started?
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.
What are your vision and priority as an actor?
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.