This generation’s personification of Black Girl Magic, Erica Nlewedim.
The Award winning actress is ready for the year and the future. Like the true gem that she is, Erica has remained one of the most daring stars in the African entertainment sky, there is no denying that she is on her way to greatness.
What’s the most exciting thing about being Erica right now?
The most exciting thing is the fact that I am getting all the work I have always wanted and the fame is making people see all the work I have done before, and recognise my face from previous works.
What are the experiences that shaped who you are today?
Being an only child and growing up alone, and reading books about different things helped me shape my way of thinking. Also, having to be independent from a young age, some rejections and losses in my career also helped me take out time to develop myself to be the best in different areas of my life so that when the fame came, I was ready all round; in my skills as an actor, work ethics, level of experience, carriage and packaging.
What are some of the highlights of your career and some of your least memorable moments?
First ever billboard, lead role in a commercial, winning the award of Miss Photogenic in Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant, getting my first acting role, being a brand ambassador to a leading makeup and cosmetic brand in Nigeria, landing my first ever role in a cinema movie, going to film school and coming out of the big brother house with everyone knowing my name, and since then becoming brand ambassador of top international brands and landing major roles in big budget movies.
Who inspires you in terms of what you do. Who do you look up to and why?
Beyoncé. Even though she is majorly in the music industry she inspires me with her hardwork and how she sets her mind to something and achieves it. She has been working from childhood and she has grown to become the biggest and most respected entertainer in the world. She has literally achieved everything she set her mind to and what got her this far is her drive, working smartly, being disciplined and hardworking. I feel like I can be the biggest in my own field because if she can do it, then I can do it.
Social media has allowed you to have a wider footprint outside of Nigeria, what do you think your impact is on the African continent?
I know that I have fans in other African countries because I have been to Sierra Leone and Ghana and I have seen the reception, also my South African people have been telling me they can’t wait to see me (I’ll visit soon) Hopefully I have been able to inspire women and girls to be independent and go getters with their own identity.
As someone that’s always been very open with their lives to their fans, how do you negotiate what to share and what stays private?
I have just decided not to share things that are personal to me because I realized that when you come out of a show where everyone watched you 24/7 for a few months, they feel they know you and there are a lot of opinions about things that should be personal, so I have learnt to keep my personal life private.
You’ve experienced being put on a pedestal by the media and later dragged by it. How do you plan on navigating those highs and lows in the future?
The worst level of public bashing has happened and I am still here, although, it might get to me because obviously I am human, so I simply will not listen or read whatever anyone says about me and I will not overshare beyond what is necessary.
What’s your advice to people that are afraid of being true to who they are?
It is when you are yourself you will be able to get the highest level you can attain, so why would you want to be averagely acceptable when you can stand out and achieve greatness level in whatever field you are.
What’s the one thing you have learnt that you feel your fans should know?
I have learnt that nobody is going to make your life exactly how you want it to be, it is in your hands so you better make your life the life of your dreams, even if it takes years.
What were some of the moments from your childhood that have shaped who you are today?
Watching celebrities on magazine covers and on Television, seeing models on packs of releaxer as a child and day dreaming about becoming like them.
What are your pearls of wisdom to those unable to completely be themselves because of their surroundings?
Any surrounding that doesn’t allow you completely be yourself, let your next goal be to get out of there. Your mental health, mindset and growth are really important, so you have to be in an environment that enables you to be yourself
What is next for Erica?
More and more movies and series, establishing my business, you know what? Just watch this space.
Styled by: @swankyjerry
Make up: @bibyonce
Hair by: @kukushair