Connect with us

Career

Move Back To Nigeria: “I Adapted Quite Quickly” Read Brycee Adiah Bassey’s Move Back Experience

Published

 on

Move Back to Nigeria is a series on BellaNaija which aims to encourage young and not-so-young professionals in the diaspora who are trying to make the decision of whether to move back to Nigeria. In collaboration with the brilliant team at MoveBackToNigeria.com, we hope to bring you a weekly interview with individuals who have successfully made the leap, considering the leap, as well as those who have tried it and realized it is not for them. MoveBacktoNigeria.com’s mission is to showcase stories of Nigerians abroad who have moved back home and are taking giant strides, often against all odds and to serve as inspiration to others.This, however, does not preclude us from sharing stories of the people who have moved back and are facing various challenges.

This week’s interview is a truly special edition! We caught up with Brycee Adiah Bassey this week. She moved back to Nigeria from the US to launch her Nollywood career and has made some great progress in the past year and a half. It has not been plain sailing though. Read on to find out what challenges she faced as she navigated the Nollywood landscape, and how she finally caught her big break. ‘

Please note that Move Back to Nigeria has its career and networking event in London on the 26th of September. {Click here to find out more}

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us who you are?
My name is Brycee Adiah Bassey. I am an actress here in Nigeria and also a professional violinist and proficient Spanish speaker.

Please briefly walk us through your educational background?
I studied Modern and Classical Literature in Spanish, which includes Spanish, French and Portuguese, but I mastered the Spanish language. I also studied Political Science, which was at Wichita State University in Kansas, USA, graduating in 2012.

Did you do all your growing up in the US?
Yes I grew up in the US. I spent all of my life there and had never visited Nigeria up until the time I moved here.

You graduated in 2012. What came after that?
After graduating, I stayed in the US for about another 6 months, and then I moved to Nigeria; in March 2013 to be precise. I actually went to Ghana first, and did some work for a hair care company I was a brand ambassador for. I also spent some time helping out at an orphanage, and then eventually I came to Nigeria.

What influenced the timing of your move back to Nigeria?
I knew that after graduation, I would move to Nigeria. That was already determined. My dad knew that, my sisters knew that; it had been planned for a while. I always had the intentions of launching my career in Nigeria. Bear in mind that while I had never visited, I wasn’t exactly disconnected from Nigeria. I knew what was going on in the country and kept up to date. I have a lot of family in Nigeria. When it was time for me to move, I got up and bought a one way ticket back home.

What was the initial experience like being in Nigeria?
Interesting! I went to Ibadan first, staying with my cousins (and aunt) for a few weeks and then moved to Lagos and have been here ever since.

I knew what I was going to Nigeria to do. I had done some networking in the US and went to places in Atlanta and North Carolina, places I knew that had a Nollywood interest, so I had some connections in place before I left. However despite the plans I had when I was coming in, things kind of worked out a bit different. The truth is, people ended up disappointing me completely; despite all my networking, I was literally almost starting from the scratch.

What did you plan on doing in Nigeria?
I knew the whole point of moving to Nigeria was to launch my Film (Nollywood) career. I was open to shooting films, acting in films and other related roles. I also wanted to capitalise on my language skills and teach Spanish, and that went pretty well because people here want to learn international languages. But yes the whole idea was to launch my acting career, and that’s what I did. Right from the age of 3 years old, I have always wanted to be an actress and actually did theatre in the US.

The first 6 months of moving back were terrible. Initially I had a script I was working on with someone for a movie, and at the end of the day, after all the time and work spent, nothing happened. I got another role in another film, which I was very excited about, but yet again nothing happened, despite a lot of time and money spent going back and forth. It was a frustrating period. There were other scripts I got, where I didn’t like the storyline and I simply chose not to go ahead with the movie because those roles did not fit within the type of actress I am trying to be, as in the stories lacked depth, the characters weren’t developed. I wasn’t going to do any mediocre films that didn’t display that Nigerians can produce great films. Not to sound stuck up but when you are passionate about something, you take this seriously.

How did you go about landing your first role after all the challenges?
Someone gave a recommendation to the director of a TV series for Ebony Life TV called ‘Deadline’. I went in and did my screen testing and did a reading and eventually, I got the part. Before this I was in a short film which I thought was a good idea because I’m aware short films go into film festivals and all that, however up until this day, I do not know where that film is or whatever happened to it (laughs). It just didn’t get released. I persisted and just kept networking. I think it was a bit more difficult for me as someone with an American accent. Sometimes it has worked out as a disadvantage in the Nollywood industry. I was actually discouraged by someone in the industry that said because of my accent, I won’t get any job…. Well, that definitely isn’t true. When I heard that, I honestly wanted to give up, but something told me to keep pushing, and I am glad I did.

Thanks for that. Please tell us more about the role you initially got.
I played a character called Isabel Bowsan and she was the daughter of a Nigerian journalist, who owned a newspaper company. However the company ran into trouble and then she came back from the US to help out and took over the company to help turn it around. I was a lead character and I was grateful for getting that role. This opened other opportunities for me, and after that, I landed TV/newspaper interviews and a TV show where I have a fitness segment every morning on Rave TV.

I recently wrapped up my first major film as the lead, Better Than the Beginning, directed by Kingsley Omoefe, starring alongside Seun Akindele, Bimbo Manuel, Akin Lewis, Ronnie Dikko, Yvonne Jegede, Tony Akposheri (Zacky); Runs, a docudrama, alongside Stephanie Linus-Okereke, Onyeka Owenu to name a couple, and about three more films pending. So now in addition to acting, I also do a bit of hosting and public speaking events.

There is a lot of criticism of the Nollywood industry, in particular in terms of the quality of the final production. How do you respond to that?
I agree the production work is not great but things are getting better. It has to do with everyone, the pre-production, the post-production, the Director, the Artists etc; it all boils down to quality at the end of the day. The way I feel is even if a film is a low budget film, it does not have to feel, sound or look low budget. A lot of these things get rushed, by trying to shoot movies as quickly as possible to save as much money as possible and that leads to poorer quality. What’s ironic is that a lot of productions that do that end up spending more money trying to correct mistakes later. But like I said, the industry is getting a lot better. People like Kunle Afolayan, Emem Isong, Omoni Oboli who recently released her first major production as a director, Lancelot Imasuen, Kingsley Omoefe who I just had the pleasure of working with; these are just some of the emerging filmmakers who are doing great work which is helping to increase the quality, standard, and demand of Nollywood films. There are people popping up and doing a really good job to get rid of the stereotypical nonsense about Nollywood – bad audio, over dramatic acting, mediocre story lines, bad soundtracks, etc. Also some people think Nollywood movies are home videos only! That’s not true! Nollywood is the entire film industry as a whole, but most times when people here Nollywood, they groan and say things like, ‘Ugh, not those home videos’. Proper cinema featured films are still Nollywood. For example, ‘Half a Yellow Sun’ technically is a Nollywood movie.

Remember, our movie industry is very young. Hollywood has been around for a long time, as in, a good 100 years. Nollywood I would say is about 10 years old and it’s getting better at an impeccable rate. There are a lot of creative and talented people here and with time we will eradicate the mediocrity that can sometimes be associated with our industry.

What about the problem of piracy? How does that impact your career as an actress?
We really can’t battle piracy too much without the help of government regulations. They are the ones to really enforce these laws. You see people on the road, hawking and selling copies of ‘Half a Yellow Sun’. Kunle Afolayan tweeted some time back and saw this, and actually took copies of the pirated DVDs and broke them. It’s not even his movie, but that just shows the frustration he’s feeling for the filmmakers. Everybody knows ‘Half a Yellow Sun’ is still technically in the cinema, so the film maker is losing money. Illegal hawking is wrong, but unfortunately there is next to no enforcement of the law on that front. Having said this, we actually do a better job at monetising our movies. We now have more cinemas, and more being built, where you can go and pay to watch movies, so that is helping quite a bit. There are many other legit mobile movie platforms that are available too. It’s all about getting people through the door and Nigerians need to support our movies and give our films a chance. I mentioned earlier about the production quality issues. At the end of the day it’s the investment coming out of movie sales that can be poured back into production to make things better. For example, for a movie to go into the cinema the sound has to be right, the quality has to be right, so that improves quality. We should encourage our own to support our films. Also in terms of promotion we need to do more. Our movies are not promoted enough. The promotion of the movie needs to be wrapped into the budget of the movie to ensure we get it out there and people know about it. If people know about the movie, they will come out and watch it.

What do you mean in terms of promotion?
It goes beyond movie posters. It goes beyond getting things out to bloggers and social media. It needs to be more contests/promotions, chance to win tickets, movie premiers, billboards, TV commercials, radio commercials and so on. Promotion is very important to get people hyped up to come out and see the movie. I can only remember in the last year and a half I’ve been here, I’ve seen one movie’s trailer on television during commercial breaks.

Interesting! So how lucrative is it being an actress in Nollywood? How much do they pay you?
The truth is that it’s no secret in Nollywood that we don’t make nearly as much as even a minor character in a Hollywood movie. Nollywood is relatively new compared to Hollywood that is over 100 years old. For example in the movie Saving Private Ryan’, Vin Diesel had a part; it was a minor part. He even dies off in the film, and was only in the first quarter of the movie, and how much did he get paid? $7,000. That was in 1998. That is almost what our very very top actors and actresses make per movie in Nollywood and that is for a MAJOR role in a MAJOR film. So that should put things in perspective.

Having said this, we also get paid via other channels like endorsement deals for brands etc, partnering with telcos and all that. It also depends on how you price (package) yourself. If you sell yourself cheap, then that is what you are going to get. But if you know what you have to offer, you’re confident in your skills and you can deliver and bring something different to the table, and you’re professional, then you can do better.

Moving on… How have you found the experience of living in Nigeria, and the challenges that come with that?
When I came home, people thought I had already been here before. I adapted quite quickly. I had no choice. However, there were some tough times. For example when I was in Ibadan, for the 3 weeks I spent there, we probably had Nepa for less than 24 hours – IN A 3 WEEK PERIOD!!

It was really bad. Then water issues, people not obeying traffic laws; it was a new experience.

Haha! Welcome to Nigeria! So do you see yourself in Nigeria for good or do you think you might one day run away?
I actually see myself in Nigeria for quite some time. I have been living here for about a year and a half now and despite challenges I’ve faced, I’m doing just fine.

Finally what advise would you give people abroad thinking of making the move back?
I’ve learned that there is a factor out here that purposely targets people’s plans and finds a way to destroy them. I advise people to have a plan A, B, C, D, E AT LEAST, and to be logical when you’re working towards your passion. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket at all, and don’t allow anyone bring you down; believe in yourself and never forget God when you’re doing well and when you’re low.

Photo Credit: Instagram | BryceeBassey

MBTN helps Nigerian and African professionals from across the world connect with career and Investment opportunities. We also organise networking events, conferences and workshops that give you the required tools to get ahead in your career in Africa or elsewhere.Find out more at www.mbtnglobal.com. Follow us on Twitter @mbtnglobal and Instagram @mbtnglobal

26 Comments

  1. Mz Socially Awkward...

    September 26, 2014 at 10:17 am

    *Beht… wait oh… So, “Move Back to Nigeria has its career and networking event in London on the 26th of September” and una just dey tell us? You know wetin today’s date be? (abi, was it me that missed the earlier notices?)… Na wa oh.

    I have to say that the MBTN series are starting to grow on me and I’m begining to see the benefits to our country of having the young Nigerians in the diaspora returning home to roost. Certainly no bad thing to encourage people to move back and take advantage of the many burgeoning industries.

    Brycee, I’m looking forward to seeing you in a movie soon (although, I’d have liked to have read a little more on your acting and theatre background gained in the US, particularly in view of your own statement about taking one’s passions seriously). And I can’t believe someone said that an Americo accent won’t help you get jobs in Nollywood??? Nollywood, where one actor/actress fit use like 5 different accents (none of them Nigerian) in one single scene? Odiegwu.

    Finally, I had to bow for this expose:- “$7,000. That was in 1998. That is almost what our very very top actors and actresses make per movie in Nollywood and that is for a MAJOR role in a MAJOR film. So that should put things in perspective.” Oh gal, see as you don reveal the matter like this, causing many to now start further scrutinizing certain lifestyles… It is what it is, though. 🙂

  2. mimi

    September 26, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Good luck lady thats brave of you. YOu are doing well.

    ps: when i watch my african movies i cant keep focus or concentrate when the actor has anything other than an african accent. Thats just me though. I want my african movies to be african through and through, accenting and slangs turn me completely off it.

    • Ndubuisi

      September 26, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      but you forget that Nigeria and Africa is changing rapidly so is the accent and the culture it self.

  3. Miss Anonymous

    September 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

    At first glance, I thought she was Kelly Rowland.

  4. bruno

    September 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    Madame, pls stop sugar coating, you left abroad to come back to nigeria to start acting mediocre,terrible nollywood movies, clap for ur self, ur parents must be very proud, (I also speak spanish, so I laugh in spanish ghdhjedurfjhdfuirfhjfd) LOL. I pity you. You couldn’t make it in america, because the movie industry over there is tough, to secure a role is so difficult.you have to be the best of the best.as I said earlier, People who move back to nigeria are not successful, that’s why they move back to the land of mediocrity.well good luck to you tho. But just know u can never ever win an oscar acting nollywood films. Bye felicia (bella naija post my comment, cause I speak the truth).

    • Linda

      September 26, 2014 at 12:26 pm

      Chai! It’s peeps like you oooo that will put their own down! Shame on you!!! Did ya even read this throughly?? SMH you sound like a simpleton.

    • Anon

      September 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      Yeahhhhh you totally sound like a typical hater putting someone down behind a computer screen. Take a seat my friend! It souinds like she came right after uni, so I don’t think she even tried Hollywood! Dayum, why you mad at her tho????

    • D

      September 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      can’t believe it that I am about to somewhat agree with the “controversial Bruno”. When I read it too I thought to myself, she came to Nigeria to take the easy way out, i.e pursue acting in Nigeria where the competition does not even come close to what it is in the States. Nevertheless, there is nothing wrong with doing that when we have Nigerians that are born and raised in other countries come to play soccer for Nigeria or other African countries are we not happy??? We hail and praise them for “coming back home” and we know most of the time they don’t do it because their is a patriotic heart beating somewhere, it’s about taking an opportunity and making yourself known and getting paid (no matter how little) and hoping you catch the eye of someone that will help you get to that place where others are today. Whether it’s in acting or corporate world or sports, we are all looking for ways to break through in our individual fields and if it takes starting in a less popular market why not go for it? Who knows it might just be what she needs to horn her skills and at least she is not sitting down waiting for the next big thing to come to her or whining.
      She is doing something and for that I say kudos…Go Gurl!!! We know it is not yams to make it TO Hollywood not to mention making it IN Hollywood.

    • NaijaPikin

      September 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Even if what you say is the case, what is wrong with her taking advantage of the situation?

      In this life, one has to be strategic to progress. If things aren’t working out for you in one country, one company, one career path, then change. why must you die on top the stagnant matter when you can change and progress.

      Kudos to the babe jare. She looks so much like Kelly Rowland

    • paulmirabilis

      September 26, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      This mofo/dumba** doesn’t like Nigeria and he keeps dropping comments on every post on bellanaija. What an irony! I know peeps like you; I know it’s your dream to travel out of Nigeria one day. Don’t worry, it will come to past and when it does, you would have a first-hand experience of living abroad and why home is always home!

    • paulmirabilis

      September 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      This bruno mofo/dumba** doesn’t like Nigeria and he keeps dropping comments on every post on bellanaija. What an irony! I know peeps like you; I know it’s your dream to travel out of Nigeria one day. Don’t worry, it will come to past and when it does, you would have a first-hand experience of living abroad and why home is always home!

    • Tosin

      September 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

      you wrote that why?
      any of it you wish you had written differently though?

    • Ndubuisi

      September 26, 2014 at 6:10 pm

      you did not read the whole because if you do, you should not have made that comment

    • ha

      September 26, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      FACE YOUR LIFE!!!

  5. Laila

    September 26, 2014 at 11:48 am

    So did I! She’s gorgeous!

  6. Bassey

    September 26, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    We share tha same surname weeeee. I actually met her recently at a walk ova the weekend for internatonal peace day and I hv 2 admit, she is one of the most real, down to earth, vibrant people ive ever met. I watched her on Ebony life series (CHOI, she don loss weight oooo, unless the tv make people look big). I believe she has a future and will pray 4 her success!

  7. Victor Akpan

    September 26, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I have to praise her for her being pretty straightforward. I wish they would have ask if she’s single, married…. (don’t mind me), but on a serious note, as an Akwaibomite, I am more than proud. What are her social media handles?? More grease to your elbow.

  8. sele

    September 26, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Bassey is a very humble and loveable person. Haven watched her on ELTv in the series deadline made me see potentials in her. She’s got a focused spirit and with that she can break any grounds in nollywood. Congrats Bassey the best is yet to come.

  9. Miss Keep It Real

    September 26, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    What I really want to know is HOW DID SHE LOSE SO MUCH WEIGHT?? Search her on google and see her b4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Bella Naija plssssss interview her about that!!! On another note, interview was great, people sure do love to hate, and I am pretty sure her being in Nigeria isn’t easy at all, talk less about having a career here. She’s been in the US, has all the basic needs at least all her life, then to come here and stay, HELLLO, give her some credit! Naija no easy place oooooo at allllllll. This one na ajebutter fa real. But this morning on her twitter, I saw somethin like shes going back 2 Yankee. I hope Naija didn’t finish her nau.

  10. Jennifer

    September 26, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Kudos to Brycee for this insighful interview. I agree with ‘Miss Keep it Real’, rather than be faceless gangsters criticising the steps other peope are taking in the right direction, SOME nigerians would rather spend their time criticising each and every little thing they come across. Not all returnees have ‘failed’ as it was earlier put. Some, for example have identified gaps in the Nigerian market where they can sell or promote goods or services, with the aim of making our daily lives easier. With Nigerians ofcourse being the first to enjoy these ‘New ideas from abroad’. For many, returning to Nigeria is a choice rather than a result of having no other option. Trust me, there are many sacrifices being made! I have to commend Brycee, Nigeria is not an easy place and for her to have stuck it out this far is an achievement in itself. I hope she will help pave the way for other people in the diaspora wanting to follow the same career path 🙂

  11. toyin olaleye

    September 26, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    I enjoyed reading this Brycee..Good luck to you in Nigeria! 🙂

  12. Curious George

    September 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Is it tru that she dates Joseph Benjamin?

    • Hmmm

      September 28, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Hmmm BN investigate ooooo if na true story you can’t blame the guy sha. Fine girl fine boy tinz

    • Mama

      October 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm

      How will that put zeros in your account?

  13. Fancy

    October 3, 2014 at 2:12 am

    saw a photo of him on her instagram, but nothin that points that they’re datin, jus workin 2geda, buthe’s divorced now sha, so he’s free 2 date her

  14. Olu

    December 1, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    I just voted for you Brycee! You are just a doll and extremely talented! Loved meeting you, loved watching you on tv. Can’t wait to see your films in 2015. I’m a huge, huge, HUGE fan!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Get The Pan-Atlantic Advantage

A Full Lifestyle & Entertainment Magazine…We COVET Fashion

Visit www.leadtra.com/conference to Register for the Upcoming Conference

Jokes Alone with guests Mr P, CDQ, & Patrick Salvador!

Star Features

Advertisement
css.php