Nollywood actress, Nse Ikpe-Etim, talks to Ademola Olonilua about her style
You mostly rock your natural hair. Why?
It’s really simple, I love my hair and I enjoy styling it in different ways. It has become some sort of adventure and I am thankful that I can. It would appear that finding the state of mind to embrace the hair you were born with would be the easiest thing in the world. However, this is often the opposite in our environment. Sometimes, it is a bit of a challenge finding people who can handle natural hair, because the focus here is on weaves and extensions. The good news is that there are very extensive self-help tips online for anyone trying to manage natural hair.
Do you patronise Nigerian designers at all?
Oh yes I do. I am an ardent fan of our very skilled and creative designers. The Nigerian fashion industry is one embedded with so much talent and their designs are embraced by people beyond the shores of Nigeria. Nine out of 10 times, I always wear a Nigerian designer on the red carpet. Besides, because they are Nigerians, they understand our style and express it beautifully.
What influences your fashion style?
Hmmmmm…. My style of fashion is influenced by my personality and personalities are developed over the years through upbringing. I have a boyish yet girlish style and I am not influenced by fashion trends. My look to any event will always depend on the occasion and my role in it. For instance, you would not wear a ball gown to go shopping now, would you? My stylist understands and works within this premise.
What is that fashion item you can’t leave home without and how did you come about it?
Oh wow! This is a hard one because I love diverse fashion items that are a lot of times mood-dependent. But I think my most regular accessories are my sunglasses. We often ignore the sun, but overtime your eyes get damaged from regular trips outside without protective eye wear. Also sunglasses are a good way to attempt anonymity.
What’s the most expensive item you own and how much did it cost?
That would have to be either my pair of Versace shoes or Louboutin Flats. I honestly cannot remember how much I paid for either of them but they sure did dig a hole in my purse. The thought of it right now makes me shiver a little bit. I always try to never go down memory lane on this particular topic.
What is your fashion weakness?
I know I have said shoes before but right now, honestly, I could kill for a tank top. They are so comfortable and easy to throw on without airs or fears. Plus the weather makes it so convenient. Tank tops have zero frills, require no elaboration and when paired with the right shorts or pants and accessories, they make for one hot look. And that makes it a winner for me any day.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
This shoe question (laughs). Well I do have enough pairs to start a boutique. I tell myself whenever I go shopping that I do not need any new pairs. But somehow, I seldom seem to be able to resist a good looking pair of heels. Shoes!
Would you say you were fashionable as a kid while growing?
Was anyone in my generation a fashionable child? I highly doubt it. Maybe during our teenage years, but when we got into the university, yes definitely. Growing up, the clothes I wore were bought by my parents and one had little say in such matters. I wore what was given and coming from M&S, they were durable. I think books were more of my fashion indulgence as I could pick whatever books I wanted.
What was growing like for you?
Oh it was very exciting. I thoroughly enjoyed my childhood. There was a lot of travelling around Nigeria as my dad was constantly being transferred. I imbibed a lot of cultures and learned to live with people from different parts of Nigeria. It was an education and has served me well in my adulthood. I also read a lot of books and that is one habit I’ve been unable to shake off, gladly.
Knowing fully well that you love fashion and looking good, do you intend owning a clothing line?
I have worked in retail and it had perks. But right now my focus is on acting and owning a clothing line is the last thing on my mind. The saying goes; never say never, so who knows what the future holds.
Do you ever have days when you feel you don’t look so good, something like a bad hair day?
Certainly! Everyone does, well women do. I don’t know if the men folk get bad hair days or fret about it when they do. It is a common human attribute that we women share. Even the most fashionable women have the odd bad hair day. The good news is that a bad hair day does not define who you are as a person. So it’s best to keep your chin up and rock those days! I like to say, “Don’t let your bad hair day put you down.”
How is married life?
Firstly I am glad that I am married to my best friend. This means I can always be myself. Secondly, it is a progression of a friendship we built as teenagers and finally it is a confirmation that troubled waters do settle. All in all, it has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to a long and joy-filled life with the man I love.
Do you think marriage will affect your work or the roles you play?
The expected answer would be ‘no’. But let’s be realistic and honest, being married should have an influence on what you’re willing to put out. It’s no longer the case of being answerable to no one. You have to be considerate of your partner. It doesn’t require a complete 360, but slight adjustments don’t hurt. Even in life, our everyday experiences influence our future actions and we continue to tweak our outlook based on this. Marriage follows this same principle. I’m still as busy as I was career wise before this new phase of my life. The only difference is a lot more thought goes into the roles I pick and most times, it is a team decision.
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