Fast rising Nollywood actress, Beverly Naya, is known for turning heads at red carpet events. She tells Ademola Olonilua about her fashion style… see full interview after cut
What were your early days like?
Both my parents are British; my mother was actually born there. I was born and raised in London. Growing up was fun for me. I am an only child, so it was relatively quiet. It was not really boring for me because I have a lot of cousins, they are more than 20. I cannot even count. I always found myself hanging out with them because a lot of them live in London and in America, so there is always something to do.
Why did you decide to come to Nigeria?
I came to Nigeria because I love acting and the country has a thriving industry, Nollywood. It provides me with the opportunity to act as often as possible. That is the main reason.
Have you ever faced sexual harassment in the industry?
There was no sexual harassment for me, not at all. I have not experienced it and I do not think I ever will. My experience since getting into Nollywood has been a positive one. I was fortunate enough to work with veteran actors and directors as well. I think I have had a good experience and it can only get better. I like to have a good rapport with everybody I’m working with. I like to be professional to the core. Most of the directors and producers I have worked with have a really good relationship with my mother. She is my manager. So, that helped the situation a great deal. They all respect my mother and we all have a family type of relationship, so to them, I am like a little sister.
How is it working with your mother?
It is fun working with her. Sometimes, it feels like I am on my toes because I just don’t want to disappoint my mother or parents in anyway. Because I am an adult and I have my way of doing things, then maternal instinct and mummy would be like ‘no I don’t think this is appropriate’, so that could clash with what I have to do. I don’t pay her, but I spoil my mother. She wants a holiday, massage, anything she wants she gets. So far as I can get it for her, it is hers. I appreciate her a lot. I am a mummy’s girl.
How do you come up with outfits for an event?
I like to stand out. I like to look nice; I always say I don’t just want to turn heads, I want to break necks. With that in mind, whatever I wear has to look nice. It has to be captivating and attract people in the right way. That is basically how I come up with my looks. I also work with some fashion designers who are always ready to style me and make sure I look my best at any event. The glittering dresses I wore were April by Kunbi. That is her signature. Whenever you see me wearing something that is slightly glittery or something like that, it is most likely an April by Kunbi gown.
How long does it take you to dress up?
Well, I think of the dress I’ll wear for an event two weeks before the date. I have to know what I am wearing like two weeks before. If I include taking my bath, getting dressed and doing make-up, I’ll say that takes me about two hours. I am not vain but it is necessary to look good. Looking at the mirror to asses myself takes about two minutes.
Did you see yourself as a beautiful person while growing up?
I got bullied a lot as a kid. I was an ugly duckling. I never thought I was pretty, I never felt pretty. I got bullied around during that time. I blossomed when I was 17 years old. All of a sudden, I had this attention coming from the opposite sex like I had never received before, like boys having crushes on me. It is a contrast coming from the fact that when you are young, nobody really appreciates you. It has made me become who I am today. Maybe that is why I am so confident when I step out on the red carpet or why I am so fashion conscious today. You know what it is to be bullied for most of your formative years. It is not easy. I think that is probably why I love kids so much; sometimes, they do not say what they are thinking. There are kids out there that are being bullied and I love kids to open up to me, teenagers and kids alike. We can be friends and I’ll always be there for them. I can be a mentor to them, in that regards I am there for kids.
Who was the first guy you had a crush on?
It was when I was in college. He was really handsome, tall dark skinned and had the most beautiful eyes. I am blushing by just remembering him. He was very very handsome. That was my first real crush. We talked and ended up being in a relationship, so it worked out just fine. My first celebrity crush however was Sisquo. I had the biggest crush on Sisquo when I was young. The crush is dead now. When I think about it, I want to throw up. There is no crush for him now; I don’t feel anything at all. Before, it was really bad. I had about 300 posters of him. It was really bad. I don’t even know how my crush got that crazy.
How do you cope with advances from men?
It is always flattering just to be appreciated for your looks or your talent but I don’t let it get to my head at all. It bugs me when the man is too persistent. I have had some experiences, situations where the man would ask for my number, I would say I wasn’t unavailable. They say please I would really like to get to know you and I say I have a boyfriend and they say ‘you do, but can I get to know you anyway?’ Men need to understand that ‘no’ means ‘no.’ I am not trying to be disrespectful; it is just me trying to move on with my life without you, nothing personal.
What is your fashion weakness?
I love shoes. I have a pair of shoes that just came out; I saw them on Rihanna and I just had to have them. That is about my most expensive pair of shoes, it was made by Louboutin. It has a bright electric blue colour and they cost over £1,000. I have never worn them. I doubt if I’ll ever wear them because they are so hard to wear. They are bright blue, electric blue and it it’ll be difficult to pair that with an outfit. So, I have never worn them for that reason. You may call it a waste of money; at least I know Rihanna has it.
What are the fashion errors that irk you?
I hate camel toes. I hate when a girl wears leggings and they are too tight and then you see a camel toe. That is really an eyesore and I don’t like it. Especially when the leggings are really bright, that makes it worse.
Did you and Uti ever date?
We are not dating. Uti and I are nothing more than just friends. My boyfriend did not like the rumours. He did not find it funny. You cannot just be in a relationship and your lover is reading things like that about you with somebody else. Jealousy will definitely set in because he is romantically linked with you and nobody would appreciate that. You really have to prove that really there is nobody else except that person you are with.
Describe your dream man
My dream man should be basically tall, handsome, ambitious, God-fearing and knows how to treat a woman.
What is your selling point?
If it is physically, I do not know but I get compliments on my eyes and my lips a lot. So, I’ll say maybe that is what it is, but I don’t know. I’m a very good kisser though.