When Anita James started performing in front of a mirror at home, she never thought that she would rub shoulders with some of the finest in Nollywood.
The 24-year-old started out with comedy skits, Tik Tok videos and eventually landed some roles in a number of movies — including Yawa skits which has over 1.4 million followers cumulatively across the various social media platforms.
Speaking with TheCable Lifestyle, the dietician whose acting career has so far spanned two years, said she has gotten most of her roles through referrals in the industry she described as “tough.”
“Growing up I love watching movies a lot and often I see myself re-acting most scenes I watched in front of my mirror but I saw it as nothing until a movie audition was held close to my house and my sister insisted I go and try it out,” Anita said, adding that, “My sister said ‘you can’t be acting for your mirror every day, please go out there let’s find out how good you are at it.”
After two years into professional acting, Anita is still seeking to conquer new grounds.
Who is Anita James?
Anita James is a 24-year-old girl from Enugu state, a graduate of Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike. Last child from the family of four. I’m an actor and a nutritionist. Most of you probably know me as Queen Kali of Yawa.
How did you start acting?
So I did… I met Yul Edochie and I’m like, ‘is this for real? (laughter).
I got auditioned and he applauded me… at that moment I knew nothing could stop me from pursuing this dream. Well just like every other industry is not a child’s play, it’s been tough. Good days and bad days and even frustrating days but because it’s something I enjoy doing I always tend to remember the good days only.
How many projects have you been on?
I have done a few projects, I can’t put a number to it. It’s been officially two years in the industry.
You have worked with some known acts in Nollywood, who are they, and what were your experiences?
I’ve been privileged to be on set with so many amazing actors like Kalu Ikeagwu, Clem Ohameze, Mary Lazarus, Junior Pope, Patience Ozokwor, Rita Alum, Nonso Diobi and so much more.
The experiences have mostly been amazing. I have learned a thing or two from them. Especially acting with a legend like Daddy Clem Ohameze, he literally put me through acting and life lessons which I will never forget.
Seeing that the YAWA series, ‘Trapped’, has made you a bit popular, do you consider focusing on comedy or you want to do other genres of acting?
I’m a method actor so I love the challenges of taking up any role. I never saw myself good at comedy before the TRAPPED series in Yawa skits, yet here we are, so I’m definitely going to do other genres of acting.
Do you think Nollywood is a fair industry? What has been your experience like getting roles?
Well like I said it’s a tough industry, especially for a lady. You have to prove yourself and your craft worthy before you will be respected. I get roles mostly from referrals because then someone must have seen not just a pretty lady but my craft too.
Aside from referrals getting roles isn’t easy, most times you audition and you get applauded – yet no callback. I just tell myself I’m probably not what they were looking for and keep pushing.
You are a dietician… when did you realise that you were drawn to acting and that is what you want to do?
When I am asked this kind of question it makes it sound like I’m dropping my licence as a dietician, no… I just choose to add acting to my hustle because like I said, acting is my passion, the act of being with so many people and my voice being heard makes me happy. I realised that at my very first audition I mentioned earlier.
Why are you interested in this career?
Being able to tell stories, be with many people at different times, educate and entertain people is just fulfilling for me so.. Yeah it interests me more than anything.
Have you attended acting courses?
No… officially no, I just have a lot of mentors in the field that I learn from and I observe a lot because I feel like if you want to be great in my field you should always observe people’s daily lives around you and how they react to things.. so that has been my study.
What are your goals as an actress?
To get featured in Tyler Perry’s movies. I’m good at what I do but I don’t stop asking questions and learning and I’m prayerful. So I just do my work and leave the rest to God.
What do you hope to accomplish in your acting career?
To not just be celebrated in Nollywood but also Hollywood.
Are you always available for jobs at anytime?
Yes, I’m always available to travel wherever the job calls. I love entertaining people, I love that I could be anybody anytime and tell their story… it’s fun and challenging so it’s just meant for me. I don’t like boring occupations.
Tell us about your most difficult experience on a project?
It was shooting in a thick forest, it was scary and there were a lot of flies but we were assured that we had security. I still wasn’t comfortable. I could not wait to get over with it but now I remember that experience with a smile — because it was adventurous and fun.
A word for your fans?
Wow… it’s amazing how you have accepted and loved me. It’s still new to me so please pardon my mistakes as I’m just human but believe me I love and appreciate all of you.
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