With a career spanning over a decade, actress Annabel David could be said to have paid her dues in Nollywood.
Having called it quit a lucrative banking job, David took a decisive step into acting, and it paid off when she secured prominent roles in blockbuster films like Invasion 1879, Alice, My First Lady and popular TV series, The Johnson’s.
Here, she opens up on the journey so far. Enjoy it.
Why did you choose acting?
I started acting before I found Nollywood. As a National Youth Service Corps member, I was a member of a dance/drama group. Back then, Chinedu Ikedieze aka Aki and I were in the same camp. At a point, someone working in NTA Enugu would come around and watch us while rehearsing. He was always impressed with my acting; he made me the group leader. We later came up with a play and I remember playing a major role in it. Everybody was impressed and the manager took me to Enugu and handed me over to the late veteran actor, Pete Eneh, saying that it would be sad if Nollywood should miss a talent like me. That was how Pete Eneh took me under his wings and registered me with the Actors Guild of Nigeria. I remember my first movie was Alice, My First Lady.
Then, I wasn’t so keen about the money because acting has always been my passion. When I graduated from school, I got a job in a bank, but at a point, my spirit told me ‘you are an entertainer, you can’t remain in this air-conditioned office’. So, I left the banking job.
What movie shot you into the limelight?
Alice, My First Lady did. It was an old movie but it aired in almost all the television stations in the country. Chinny Chukwu Ahaneku directed the movie and it features Telma Chukwu, Patience Ozokwo, Nkiru Sylvanus, Joseph Okechukwu and the late Sam Loco Efe. I also did an advert with Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo and Saka (Afeez Oyetoro). After the advert, people started calling me ‘Customer Dada’ because of my role.
Aside acting, what other things do you do?
I have an NGO, Annabel David Foundation. We mentor the youths and help them discover their talent. We try to let them know that their mothers went to different mountains and altars before bringing them to life, so they shouldn’t bring tears to their mother’s eyes. In our upcoming programme, we plan to meet with a lot of youths because rape is rampant and should be looked into. We will have some actors join us to do the sensitisation. Aside that, I am also an MC, I anchor events. Another thing is that I sing a lot. Some people have asked me ‘when are you going into the studio?’ I have not really pushed that part of me and when I eventually do, a lot of people are going to be amazed!
To make it big in the industry you have to be daring. How daring are you and would you act nude?
Oh no, I wouldn’t act nude because as an African lady, our culture frowns at such. However, it depends on the kind of nudity you are talking about. If it’s stark naked acting, it’s a no for me, but if it is semi-nude, it could be accepted depending on what I will wear.
What do you consider as your selling point?
My face, my swag and personality are my selling points, not my boobs or backside.
What challenges have you faced so far in your acting career?
Personally, when I am asked to do a movie and I am asked to wear earrings; that’s a challenge for me. It’s because I don’t wear earrings and I am not used to it.
Does it have anything to do with your religious belief?
Not really, it’s just my kind of person. When I was growing up, whenever I was asked to wear earrings, I would wear do but missed everything up. So, they stopped buying me earrings and that’s how I grew up. If I wear earrings now, it will be like I am trying to learn how to eat with my left hand at old age.
Is Annabel David married or single?
I am not married and I am not searching.
Could you describe your ideal man?
It’s a man that has the fear of God in him. That sums it all up.
What is your take on sex-for-role?
It is in every industry and not just Nollywood. However, I don’t want to believe that it is the reason some people have left the industry, because people keep saying that some people left the industry because of sex-for-role palaver. Nobody will force you to sleep with anybody in Nollywood. It is a matter of you saying yes or no. You know what you want, what you can do and what you cannot do.
Over a decade in Nollywood, would you say you have paid your dues and happy at what you have achieved so far?
Yes, I have paid my dues directly and indirectly, and I am happy with the level of my success so far.