For United States-based actress, Stella Regis Iro, there is no place like home. After 11 years in America, the 24-year-old diva has returned to premiere My Drug Brother, her new movie.

In this chat with, Stella talks about her humble beginning, her foray into modeling, and above all her steaming romance with an American.

Journey to America
I traveled to the United States of America in 1997, and that was about 11 years ago. It was really not my decision to travel but my parents’. They made all the arrangements; got me the visa and I had no choice but to travel. I was in my JSS 3 then.

In US, I studied Health Administration, graduating with a Bachelors degree.

Getting into movie
I have a passion for movie and it began in my early secondary days back in Nigeria. I was involved in several plays. And while in the university, I got a role in modeling. While doing modeling, I came across several photographers and so many of them actually advised me to get into acting. One of them directed me to a set where they were shooting a Nigerian movie in Houston. He asked me to come in and maybe see if I could develop a real passion for the industry. I went in after they finished auditioning for roles, but early enough to rehearse with them.

Luckily, it worked out and that was how I got into the movie industry and getting my first role. Getting a role was not really easy. The directors actually asked me to do one or two things, which I did and got the role. The truth is that at the time I came on board, they hadn’t assigned roles; so it will be safe to say I had my chances and I used them well enough. That was a little over two years ago. Mind you, I have graduated from college then.

Parental opposition
Well, my parents are not keen about the movie industry, nobody in my family is. So, I’m like the odd one in the set up. I tried to bring them around sometimes to show them some of the things that I’m doing. So the attitude is, if other people are doing the same, it’s okay. They are getting used to what I’m doing right now.

My Drug Brother
The title of my new movie is My Drug Brother. In the film, I played the role of a girlfriend to one of the drug dealers. I guess it was a minor role, but I had a lot of speaking roles in the movie. My Drug Brother is all about two passionate lovers with different upbringing. The guy is an African-American while the girl is an America-born Nigerian.

Despite their cultural differences, they moved in together, unemployed. The question is, do they really love each other or is it just infatuation? Along the line, the past takes over the present. It’s a story about love, tragedy and betrayal. If you watch it, you get your message. People are bound to get different messages from watching the movie for there are so many twists and suspense in the movie. It features Nigerians, Americans, Italians and Hispanics. It’s a mix cultural movie.

The budget
It’s a big budget film. I spent close to a $100,000. Well, by American standard, it’s an okay budget. Hollywood? Yeah, it’s a small budget. I had a partner and we went half on it, and it was from our pockets.

What next?
After this first movie, I hooked up to another agency, which got me a couple of other auditioning and movie roles. And one of the roles I got was in an American directed movie. I was able to act well because I’m very good in memorizing and so it was pretty easy for me. Besides, I had the passion. After my first movie role, I started paying more attention to the profession and less attention to my modeling career. Right now, acting is my passion and I’m giving it my all.

Making the money
I can’t say I’m making the big money because you have to make a lot of sacrifices. But I’m making something. Going through an agency helped me out a lot.

On Nollywood
Well, I think they are getting better. Initially, what we saw over there wasn’t quite tasty. There were a lot of rituals and plenty of mistakes. Sometimes when you are watching, you can see a hand float into the screen, which meant the editor didn’t do his homework well. And the quality was awful, as most were shot with substandard cameras. But the current Nigerian movies are a lot better in terms of quality and the acting kind of similar. Sometimes, there is a mix up between drama and film and that’s why some of them tend to be too dramatic.

Favourite acts
Well, I like Genevieve because she’s very flexible in her role. She can act a little girl; she can also act a bad or a good person. Besides her movie roles, she is into other stuff, like her modeling and the clothing line she’s running. She’s done quite well for herself. Also, Kenneth Okonkwo is my one and only actor. I have never met him, but I love his ways on set.

On relationship
My first boy friend was a US-born Nigerian. We didn’t talk pretty much about Nigeria because he was more like an American. I can’t really compare Nigerian and American guys when it comes to relationship because the Nigerian that I dated was more irresponsible than the American. The American guy that I dated was more responsible than the Nigerian.