“Ladybrille’s 15 Questions with . . .” is a feature that salutes some of the most important names in the fashion and entertainment industries around the globe, with a particular emphasis on Africa. We hope you are as inspired as we are with the brilliant men and women in these industries that make the world go round.
Our feature today shines the spotlight on the very unique Susan Peters. Only a freshman in Nollywood’s film industry (2nd largest movie producing industry in the world) and to acting, she has nonetheless made a compelling impression on Nollywood fans and industry mates alike which has earned her a slow but steady accumulation of awards, magazine features, recognition and growing notoriety.
Ladybrillemag.com: Describe your career. What exactly do you do?
Susan Peters: I have the best job in the world. I’m an actress. I work mainly in the wonderful, vibrant, unique Nollywood movie industry, that’s the Nigerian movie industry. Our movies are watched all over the world: the US, the UK, Caribbean and of course everywhere in Africa.
Ladybrillemag.com: How did you end up in your chosen career?
Susan Peters: The truth is, I didn’t “end up” here. We grew up watching Nollywood and Ghanawood (Gollywood) movies and before I even finished school, I knew that my destination was up there on that screen. I made sure that I got a decent education because I knew that I needed to understand how this world works in terms of business and communications and the internet and everything so I could manage my career. After my general education I studied Computer Science then I went to drama school. I attended Video Waves TV and Film School in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria. During this time, my parents really supported me in my education, they were two strong people committed to helping me make a success of whatever I chose to do. I owe my parents everything.
My first actual movie break came when I read about a general audition for a movie on the notice board at the National Theatre (in Nigeria). I auditioned with hundreds of other people. I was nervous because I (realized) my dream could (finally) take off. In the end, I was shortlisted and finally got the part.
Ladybrillemag.com: (You have such enthusiasm and passion for what you do). What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in getting to where you are?
Susan Peters: The toughest challenge is always the project you are on. I can honestly say that my last film was a big challenge. It was a powerful story with so many unexpected twists and turns and the director . . .you know, he’s always good but this film must be one of his most striking and must-see movies. This added up to a lot of pressure on me to do something equally engaging. . .
Ladybrillemag.com: How do you define success?
Susan Peters: My idea of success keeps changing. Back in the days, I just wanted to be in the movie industry, to be a player. But as soon as I got there, I wanted to get challenging roles, to do more and more difficult things. Right now, I would like very much to break through into the mainstream (global), ideally with a Nollywood movie. When I see Slum Dog Millionaire, or Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon get on general release I think, “one day, it will be us, a Nollywood movie” our time will come. I want to be loyal to my industry.
Ladybrillemag.com: What do you love most about being an actress?
Susan Peters: I love everything about it: my people, the directors, the actors, the film crews. We all work together to entertain Nigeria and the world. Everyday, we are progressing. We have better scripts, better equipment, better technical expertise, better budgets. The story of our industry is being written now, and my career is running alongside, here I am right in the middle, growing too. I love that. . .
Ladybrillemag.com: What do you dislike most about your job as an actress?
Susan Peters: Well, there’s a lot of waiting around. When you watch a film it’s all over in less than two hours but this film has been in the making for months. Not all of that time is spent shooting. In fact, most of that time is spent waiting for all the elements to come together. I wish I could carry an office around with me so that I could get some other kind of work done while the (film) crew (works) on the lighting and set. Either that, or I could work on two or three movies at the same time. That would be nice.
Ladybrillemag.com: (Laughs) What is your vision for Nollywood?
Susan Peters: Well, like I’ve already said, we’re going all the way. Even now, when you (travel) from London to New York on Virgin Atlantic, you can watch . . . a Nollywood movie. That’s the trend. . .
Ladybrillemag.com: What keeps you awake at night?
Susan Peters: Apart from the Nollywood parties, nothing. I sleep like a baby. I generally do a lot everyday so when I hit the pillow, I’m out like a light. . .
Ladybrillemag.com: What drives you?
Susan Peters: (It’s the fact that) I’ve come a long way but I still have a long way to go. . .
Ladybrillemag.com: What inspires you?
Susan Peters: Hey, people like (Ladybrille’s) Uduak (Oduok). I’ve seen (Uduak’s) work, (her) online presence for nearly five years now and I admire (her) energy and ideas, huge network and consistency. Some people look around and see a lot of bad people, but I don’t see them. I see a lot of great people like (Uduak). . .
Ladybrillemag.com: What are the daily principles you live by?
Susan Peters: Well I believe you’ve got to create your own opportunities. You may think that this successful person or that successful person has a great manager or agent or get great parts or great publicity. But, you can be that successful person who worked hard to get that great agent or part or publicity. You have to do it for yourself in this world.
Ladybrillemag.com: When was the last time you danced to some great music?
Susan Peters: Just last month City People Magazine (one of the larger soft sell magazines in Nigeria) threw a huge party for me when I won the ‘Best Supporting Actress NAFCA Awards in North Carolina. They put on an amazing party. Every detail was perfect: the food, the mix of guests, and the music. I danced and danced was almost the last one to leave.
Ladybrillemag.com: When all is said and done, what is the legacy you want to leave in the entertainment industry?
Susan Peters: (To) create an award for acting (for future creative talents) that is named after me.
Ladybrillemag.com: Who is your favorite African musician?
Susan Peters: Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Ladybrillemag.com: What is hottest event you ever attended where you turned heads, when you walked into the room? (Laughs) Don’t be modest, please.
Susan Peters: It has to be the event I went to last night (almost a month since that event). It was the African Voice Newspaper Afro-Hollywood Awards in London. I was awarded the ‘Best Actress’ in an English speaking movie. My dress was made by Tiannahs place Toyin Lawani. It was a vintage dress and as she’s the best dress designer in the world, I’m sure every woman in the building turned their head and wished they were me wearing that dress. Was that immodest enough? No seriously, I hope I turned a few heads last night, it was certainly one of the best moments in my life.