Saturday, March 24, 2018

Hey beautiful people, how has your week been? I hope you have all had an awesome week if you didn't? Don't worry, I can help make it better. I have a fabulous new interview with Nollywood Actor Stephen Damian, he is one of the industries break out stars from the last three years, he's worked with an impressive amount of Nollywood greats and veterans and starred in some of the most successful Nollywood movies in recent years, he is really welcoming and down to earth and I had quite a nice time chatting things up with Stephen and getting him to unravel the different layers of his life, one peel at a time, he tells his inspirational story that spreads the message of resilience and always going for what we want out of life, have a lovely read every one.
DVF: Welcome to the DvfStyleCollective, please tell me about yourself and your background? 

Stephen: My name is Stephen Damian. I'm 6.2 inches tall, I'm an actor, a model, and a voice-over artist. 
I graduated from the University of Benin where I acquired a BS C in mathematics. I'm originally from Anambra state but I grew up in Yaounde Cameroon. I came from a family of four and I'm the second child. I'm a fitness addict, I love to work out and be active.
I enjoy playing basketball, swimming, cooking, and loyalty means everything to me and I hate disloyalty
DVF: What was your childhood like?

Stephen: My childhood was great, I was raised by the most wonderful parents. Even from childhood, I always had dreams of being an entertainer

DVF: What is the most significant impact growing up in Cameroon had on you?

Stephen: The fact that I can speak French is a significant impact

DVF: What do you think drew you to entertainment?
Stephen: The fact that I want to inspire the world with my God-given gift drew me to entertainment

DVF: When did you leave Cameroon for Nigeria?

Stephen: I have been moving back and forth since the age of five with family

DVF: What made you decide to study here in Nigeria and not in Cameroon?

Stephen: My parents made that decision for me so that I could learn more about my country
DVF: Was acting the aspect of entertainment you were always inclined towards?

Stephen: I am talented in other aspects but acting has always been my major point of interest

DVF: What were the steps you took towards getting into the entertainment industry?
Stephen: My first major involvement in the industry was taking part in the twenty fourteen (2014) MR Nigeria contest, where I ended up among the top ten (10) finalists, after that I began to go for movie auditions and in time I began to meet with producers and casting directors

DVF: What was the Mr. Nigeria contest experience like for you?

Stephen: It was an amazing experience, it opened my eyes to a lot of experiences, cultures and it helped give me a confidence boost

DVF: During the competition contestants go through a lot of scrutiny and criticism for selection purposes and to go through most of the phases wearing just underwear and not just for the judges but in front of a large crowd of people also, how did you cope with that?
Stephen : For me, it wasn't an issue because I see it as the part that we get to do with honor, because we are been permitted to show off the result of the countless hours of hard work and discipline that we put in the gym

DVF: I like your whole perspective on that 

Stephen: Yeah, thanks

DVF: Tell me about your first movie role?

Stephen : My first professional movie was "Little white lie" back in 2015, produced by Emem Isong directed by John Njamah, I was so nervous though, I can't really remember the characters name but I was a fake boyfriend for a girl and she named me after her crush John, it was pretty cool for me because I got to work with big stars like Mike Godson and Mbong Amata 

DVF: Did you audition for the role?

Stephen: Actually, no I didn't, I got called in to come play the part by the production manager Emeka Duru

DVF: So when you get a movie role and shooting is basically about to start, asides from the rehearsal that goes into the overall production, how do you personally prepare yourself for the role?

Stephen: I work on understanding the character really well, read the script over and over again until it becomes part of me, for me I've found that it makes my acting performance come out organically 
DVF: Yeah, that's pretty cool. What is it like for you when you get to act with big names in the industry, do you feel pressure to do a good job because of the line up of people, you have to keep up with?

Stephen: It always feels good when I work with Nollywood veterans and those that were thriving in the industry before me, I never feel any pressure because of them, just a general urge to do a really good job

DVF: What is the hardest role you've had to play so far and why was it difficult for you to portray that character?

Stephen : A Tasco champion in the movie Tatu, a Tasco champion is a village tout, I have never done anything like that before in my life and that's nothing close to my real lifestyle, so it was pretty challenging for me but I just gave my best shot and I ended up killing it

DVF: That must have been tough


Stephen: Yeah, it was at first but it turned out to be really fun to play that character

DVF: You have worked with a lot of big names in Nollywood as mentioned earlier but did you get starstruck when you met any of them for the first time?

Stephen: I have never really been star struck before,
I see it as a blessing and a dream come true kind of moment whenever it happens that I get to work with someone really famous 

DVF : Really? Wow! You have worked with someone like Jide Kosoko, who I have seen in movies since I was a kid, I would be so starstruck if I ever get to meet him  

Stephen: It's not like it's ever a normal experience, but I just see it as a privilege and honor rather than it being a freak out moment and being all starstruck (laughs)

DVF: Okay, I get it (smiles ). So who are your mentors or those you look up to, for inspiration as an actor, locally and internationally?

Stephen: Internationally I look up to Idris Elba while locally I get inspired by guys like Richard Mofe Damijo and Bolanle Ninalowo (Nino B)

DVF: So generally, who do you think you would meet and would get starstruck and really like fan out about it ? (laughs)

Stephen: LeBron James, I'm a huge basketball fan

DVF : (Laughs) Yay Stephen Damian also gets starstruck, cause for a second there it was starting to seem like you couldn't just be bothered

Stephen: (Laughs) Yes, that'll really be a fan moment for me and I'm sure meeting international stars in general too

DVF: Okay so... tell me one secret talent you have that people generally don't even know about?

Stephen: I'm also a poet and a rapper

DVF: Really? That's nice. In a way they are both the same thing because to be a good rapper, you'd need to have a really good poetic flow

Stephen: Oh yeah, I've loved rap since I was like thirteen (13)

Stephen: Do you see them as things that you could potentially take up as a serious career path somewhere down the road for you?

Stephen: Maybe in the future, never say never

DVF: Speaking of your career paths, if you weren't currently an actor, what would you be doing?

Stephen: I would be doing music as a rap artist or have my own fitness center

DVF: That's really nice, glad you brought up fitness, from your Instagram, it's obvious that when you're not on set shooting, you're almost always at the gym (laughs). Tell me about your fitness journey and when it started?

Stephen: It began when I was a kid, I used to go running with my dad at least three times a week and I still do it when I can

DVF: Without the influence of your dad, do you think you would still be able to discover fitness and your love for it?

Stephen: Yeah, I believe that I still would have cause apart from the aspect of wanting to be healthy, even from a young age I have always wanted to look good without my shirt on, it's something that I've always admired

DVF: What was the process like for you when you actively went into bodybuilding, at what age did you start weight lifting and did you find it easy ?

Stephen: I started lifting at eighteen (18) years old, honestly it wasn't easy. I recall even falling sick the first day I gave it a try

DVF : How come that didn't scare you off?

Stephen: No, it didn't because I had friends who would often motivate me and they said no pain no gain, so I just kept going at it

DVF: Why did you wait until you were
eighteen (18) before you began?
Stephen : That was when I had access to visit a proper gym. 
Before then I would often work out at home, I remember that I would do a hundred (100) push-ups a day and sit-ups, just stuff like that

DVF : Did you have like a fitness mentor, someone whose physique was an inspiration to you?

Stephen: Yeah, Lazar Angelov he is a Bulgarian fitness model

DVF: So I noticed that a few years back you were a lot more lean, shredded and toned, but now you're a lot more buff and huge. Was this transformation intentional?

Stephen: Yes, I wanted to gain more mass and so I began working towards it and it took me only a couple of months

DVF : Usually I hear stuff like "I took me a year or so" but just a couple of months? That's impressive

Stephen : Oh yes, it's tough for some people to easily gain that much mass especially when you're working out as well, so I understand  (Laughs). I did do some researches on what to do, also found out about dieting and all that, so that helped

DVF : Do you think that you would still be able to focus on fitness as a career in the future, alongside your career as an actor?

Stephen: No, because for me fitness will always be a lifestyle but not a career, even though I enjoy seeing fit people and I'm always willing to help people out at the gym 

DVF : So as an actor, do you think your good looks and physique has influenced the kind of roles you get

Stephen: Partially, cause sometimes there comes a particular role that requires a particular actor with a particular physique, roles like a player, a lover stuff like that
DVF : Do you have limits when it comes to the roles you accept or refuse, are they certain stuff you wouldn't do or certain roles you wouldn't portray in movies for example roles that involve sex scenes or nudity?

Stephen: I don't have a problem interpreting any role in a movie, as long as the story that the character is portraying is going to tell a story that has a meaningful message, if a sex scene is what it's going to take, I wouldn't compromise it
DVF: That's really cool, so you were in one of the most successful movies of all time in Nigerian movie history basically

DVF: Tell me about your role and what that whole experience was like for you, especially being part of an all-star cast?

Stephen: I played a supporting role in the movie, my character was basically a friend of the groom, It was an awesome experience working with veterans and a bunch of amazing Actors
DVF: Did you imagine that the movie would become as successful as it got to be? 

Stephen : Yeah, I wasn't surprised at all, cause I already knew that it was going to be big, sometimes you work on certain projects and even from the early production phases you just begin to feel that's it's going to be a hit

DVF: How cool, so tell me what was it like for you the first time you saw yourself on the TV screen

Stephen: The joy cannot be expressed. One of the best moments in my life, the same feeling I got the first time a friend excitedly called me up to say "I just saw you on TV"

DVF: Are you one of those people who cringe and find it hard to watch themselves on the TV or are you cool with it? 
Stephen: I always like watching my self on TV, especially to see my performance, to learn what I did wrongly and how to get better for future projects

DVF: So far, what's the most fun role you have played?

Stephen: All of the characters that I have had to play so far have been quite fun and also fun experiences because I generally enjoy the process of becoming a character 

DVF: What's been your family's reaction to your acting career?
Stephen: They're proud and supportive, they've known of my interest to work as an entertainer from day one 

DVF : What has been a major difference you have experienced since you went from Stephen the everyday guy next door into becoming a movie star?

Stephen: The difference is clear If I was still just Stephen the guy next door. You wouldn't be having this interview with me right now 
DVF : (Laughs) Witty reply, have you had to sacrifice any part of your lifestyle since you became a public figure?

Stephen: Nah man, don't mean to brag but I think I was born for this, so I am able to still live my life and keep things real. Cause I basically suck at being fake

DVF: What about your dating lifestyle, has become famous affected that in any way?
Stephen:  No, it really hasn't because I keep my relationships out of the media and the public eyes and I don't really date that much, I just like to keep things pretty simple and easy-going

DVF: Are you currently dating anyone?

Stephen: Nope, I'm currently single

DVF: So if  I was someone who had never watched any of your movies before and you could only recommend one as a must-watch, which movie will that be and why it?

Stephen: That would be Tatu, I mentioned it earlier, it's produced and directed by Don Omope, as for why? Well because it's a fantastic movie and it is one of it's kind, it's not the type of storyline or movie you watch on the TV every day

DVF : So you also mentioned earlier that you like to watch yourself so that you can critic yourself and know what areas to improve on. The first time you watched yourself in a movie, what were your thoughts, did you think. "Oh I did so well" or were you like "Damn I really need to improve "?

Stephen: Honestly, I never like to get comfortable, I always know that I have to improve cause I hate being comfortable at a certain level for too long, so right from my first-time movie, I have always been critical of myself in order to push myself to get better 

DVF: I like that, what would be your dream role to play?
Stephen: My dream role will be to play a dual character like an identical twin

DVF: Uuhh, that'll be quite interesting to see. 

Stephen: Oh yeah!

DVF : Okay so you used to be like clean-shaven and then you began the build-up of your beards and now you're growing out and maintaining a full-on beard, what inspired this transition? (laughs)
Stephen: I just fell in love with it, I think beards are the new six-packs (laughs)

DVF: But you have a six-pack and then a beard, so that means you got double the packs (laughs)

Stephen: Oh yeah! 😉 

DVF : Who are your all-time favorite music artists that you listen to their music always?

Stephen: Locally my favorite artistes are MI (Mr. Incredible) and Charass while internationally I love to listen to J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar 
DVF : (Laughs) basically you listen to Rap, okay what about when you want to take some time out to really relax, breathe and have some "you" time... what do you do?

Stephen: I listen to Rap music still, Rap is actually a music for those that really are music listeners and for me, I have found that it helps me to relax and I'm sure it does the same for many more others out there, so my go-to escape mood is to chill at home and listen to Rap music
DVF: So if you ever got called up for it, would you consider acting on stage plays, cause in recent years it's  become a big deal in the Nigerian entertainment industry and big names in the industry are delving into it ?

Stephen: Oh yeah, I will for sure

DVF : Do you think you would eventually venture into aspects of the movie industry like producing or directing movies or are you fine just playing the characters?

Stephen : Actually, I do have plans for that, I would love to make movies that tell stories about African culture (especially Nigerian). The world still has a lot to learn about us

DVF: So true, I like that ... okay, so I have a few fun, random questions to ask. First off, what are you craving the most right now?

Stephen: Success

DVF : (Laughs) smart. Okay.... chocolate or Ice cream? 🍦

Stephen: Chocolate, 🍫 for sure
DVF: Where is your current dream holidaying /vacation go-to place and why?

Stephen: Jerusalem, because I want to learn a lot of truths about my religion (Christianity)

DVF: Baby Mama or wife?

Stephen: None of that

DVF : (Laughs) Why none though?
Stephen: I'm currently not ready for any of that

DVF: Okay... but it was just a hypothetical question, like if you had to make a choice which would you rather have?

Stephen: Okay, I'd definitely prefer a wife

DVF : If in the future your kids wanted to go into the entertainment industry, especially acting would you support them and if you were going to support them, what advice will you give to them ?
Stephen: Yes, I will support them and I will tell them " don't let nobody tell you what you can't do" 

DVF: That's really cool, so tell me, what's your all-time favorite movie?

Stephen: Titanic 

DVF: That's a really good one, I love it too. What is the major thing you believe Nollywood is lacking and you would like to try and help fix?
Stephen: We're lacking a film village, a place that will be created for film production. That way the creativity of writers and directors will not be limited, cause there's a lot of limitation already like you can't film on major express roads or at certain places but with a film village you can designs any set there and achieve anything

DVF: That's so true. We have sadly come to the end of the interview but before we end, I'd like to know. What impact would you like to have on your generation?

Stephen: My legacy would be changing lives and giving back to society and showing every kid out there that anything is possible and that they can also, become and achieve anything if they put their minds towards it
DVF: That's wonderful, I like that a lot, honestly it has been such a pleasure listening to you, thanks a lot for this lovely interview.

Stephen: It's okay bro, it's also been my pleasure.




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