Sometimes, I didn’t Get Paid For Job Done Before I Got My Break : Vera Ephraim
Vera Ephraim is dancer and actress. In this interview with nfc, she talks about her journey so far in acting and dancing. Excerpts.
How did you come about acting?
I started acting as a teenager, featuring in many movies, such as Glamour Girls, Ejiro's Fatal on the Design, and I was really fatal in the movie. I also took part in a host of others.
Later, I joined a dance company and had my dance break, touring Europe for three months. Thereafter, I came back to Nigeria and I did the movie, The Switch, Fugitive, and so on. Shortly after that, I decided to move forward in search of excellence. Later I had to stop to pursue my education in England.
Over there while studying, I featured in some films, How Life Happens was one them. Now I'm featuring in some drama soaps which include the South African popular soap, Generations. While I'm back to Nigeria, I also featured in a soap opera, Life Style, featuring on African Magic channel and LTV. So, I'm sort of working home and abroad and all these gave me an international status.
What about dancing?
Dancing was like a habit to me at first which I started as a teenager about 10 years ago with a dance company called African Heritage Ambassadors. It was like a young girl having fun, but I later realised that I was a good dancer. I had my first break in 2000 when I went on a tour with the dance company to Europe for three months. Now I have found my own way as a contemporary dancer.
I had my own dance company, Vera Danse Hauz, an artistic open house to foster original choreography and fresh talent. I got my own style which is being appreciated by my teeming fans. In 2003, I had my first award from AMEN as Best Featured Dancer. This was informed by my uniqueness and versatility in dancing, because I equally teach and do hip-hop, Salsa , modern and African contemporary dance, among others.
Any movie to your credit yet?
No (Laughs). Actually, I studied Performing Arts with script writing and directing in England, but, I'm still working on my own movie. I don't want to give my fans a wishy-washy stuff. However, when I was in the U.K, I directed a few stage productions in which I got very encouraging feedbacks. By and large, I will soon come out with my own movie in the scene.
What is the experience like as an actress and dancer?
Well, the journey has been hard, thrilling, crazy, wild, interesting, emotional, and exciting. It is crazy because sometimes, you don't get paid, what you get is stories all the time. Sometimes, you have to go some extra miles to prove yourself to the “powers that be,” because this is a competitive world, and you have to make your mark in the scene. It is very interesting in terms of the type of people you meet in the process and challenges you face, and you know this is what you like to do best.
When you have a great deal of zeal and passion for what you do, you could endure all the hazzles that you encounter in the process. Generally, it is very exciting, and at the same time emotional. By and so, I'm doing just that for the enjoyment of the appreciative audience out there, and definitely now, I'm getting paid for it.
Your views on Nigerian entertainment sceneWell, it is an interesting industry. Players in the industry such as actors, dancers, directors, etc., love what they are doing, either they make money or not. Dancers are really trying their best because they are independent, and they prove themselves that they are good.
Without funding art in Nigeria we would continue to lag behind in the scene. But, thanks be to God, some of us, who are very passionate about the profession, will leave no stone unturned to take the art to greater heights. I understand that Nollywood is under restructuring now, which I think is a good thing. It is about time we stepped up a bit, and not remain in the circle of shooting film within two weeks and come out with wishy-washy materials.
I watch African Magic channel and everyday it is like the same old songs. I hope with the re-organisation, the Nigeria movie industry could come out with good quality movies. In the music industry, the scene has witnessed a tremendous change with the emergence of Naija hip-hop artistes who have successfully changed Nigerians taste from foreign music to Naija stuff.
It is a great achievement to those guys in the forefront of the revolution. They deserve government appreciation, in terms of moral and financial support, to encourage them to storm the international scene with their beautiful works.
Government should also save both music and movie industry from the activities of piracy in Nigeria. Some conscienceless Nigerians in collaboration with some foreigners are killing creativity of talents in the country and by so doing not helping the economic growth of our industry.
Your desires in life?
To remain truthful to myself, keeping it real! no matter the level I found myself. To fulfill my professional dream. Not to forget my creator in whatever level I may be. To work with international directors like Spike Lee, David Lynch. Working on set with Charliz Theron, Angelina Jolie, Sean Penn, and Harley Berry.
To count myself among top-rated international artiste that Nigerians can beat their chests and say, “that's our own Vera doing us proud out there.” I would love to leave a tremendous legacy behind just like Michael Jackson did.
How do you spend your leisure hours?
As you can see (pointing at the swimming pool), I like to swim, and also go out to dance with good friends. I like to watch TV, movies, creative and inspiring programmes. Everything that I do, even at leisure time, is a plus to my work. If I'm swimming and jogging, which I also love to do, it is also to keep myself fit for my physical mind, work and well being.
Things that put you off
(Laughs) I don't like to be bullied or see people being bullied either. It's not really my style when people, who have money or think they do, are trying to show off it. Also people with complex, who try to put up negative attitude. That totally puts me off.
My favourite colours are pink, white, blue and maybe, Lemon green for my house.
Who is Vera Ephraim?
Vera Ephraim is an international actress and award-wining dancer and a choreographer. A successful hardworking Nigerian, a positive person all the time, no matter the situation.
I'm friendly and very jovial. I like to party. It may surprise many people that I don't drink. I love to do what I do best, and I have passion for what I do. I love to love. I just love to be myself. That's who I am.