Talented actress Chrystabel Goddy, a Geophysicist turned artist for her passion touches on sundry issues as it affects her career and the future in this interview with Ekocity Magazine.
Was your choice of Geophysics by accident?
No, it wasn’t by accident at all. I won’t use the word accident as my earlier intention was to study Medicine but you know the challenges we encounter with JAMB as well as school denying you admission for one reason or the other and all of that. My uncle who is a Professor of Geophysics questioned the reason why we all want to study medicine and coaxed me to enroll for Geophysics as he believes that I have all it takes to excel in that discipline. Frankly, I’ve always been an enthusiastic individual and the idea of staying at home for another one year is not in the picture, so, I took up the challenge and registered for the course. But deep down, I knew that one way or the other I’ll end up in the Arts but wanted to do it for the sake of the family. I enjoyed the course as it was very interesting being in the midst of a male dominated environment. Upon graduation, I used the certificate a few times as I worked with a couple of companies before I resigned to follow my passion in acting.
In switching from being a Scientist to an Artist, was there opposition from family members? Interestingly, there was none. Ordinarily, one would have thought that my mum being a very conservative person would oppose the idea, but she didn’t, rather she supported the move. I strongly believe that I delved into acting at the due time in that I was more matured in my thoughts and my actions hence the wide acceptance by all. My mum gave me her support knowing full well that my time has come.
Was there any challenge adjusting from being a Scientist to acting?
I’ll want you to realize that every meaningful venture comes with its peculiar challenges even being a Scientist comes with its own challenges also. I won’t say there were challenges in trying to adjust because while I was in school, I was involved with a lot of auditions, though not for movie. But I was involved in several fashion shows and beauty pageants. The only challenge is that I can recall is that I’m a very shy person, you know, coming from an introverted background. So, meeting a lot of people at the auditions proved a little challenging but overtime I developed myself and built my confidence for the global challenge ahead.
Having featured in a couple of movies, how did you break into the mainstream of acting? It is a crazy story and maybe, one day I’m going to make a movie out of it. I’ll get information for auditions knowing nobody and sometimes the crowd might be intimidating. But despite all this, I was getting call backs. My very first audition was for Jenifa’s diary and it was very tedious as they have several stages but I continued to get call backs till it got to the negotiation level. My first job was “Green White Green”. The film has been everywhere around the world including Russia, New York, and Toronto. In fact it is one of the Nigerian films that featured in the Toronto International Film Festival and it has been currently nominated for an award at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). Those experiences really helped me in building my confidence and I’m better for it.
Any regrets toeing the career path?
To the glory of God, there has not been any regret whatsoever. However, I’ve gotten into trouble once and it is really regrettable but I’m here to stay. It is important to let people know that the moment you realize that no path is easy, you tend to persevere as consistency pays. There’s no need hopping around the moment you realize the purpose why you are in a particular vocation as the realization will help build your perseverance and consistency.
What makes you different in the industry?
I believe that my brand is a work in progress but I believe in my passion. It is only passion that will make you leave your comfort zone and take the risk to a place you do not know anybody. Apart from the ugly experience I had last year, I got special traits in terms of my size and my natural hair and I intend to maintain my size so that it doesn’t affect the roles i can take on. The most important factor for success in this industry is to be teachable as well as having a listening skill. It’s also important to adhere to instructions and be ready. I strongly believe these qualities will help me get far in the industry.
What’s your take on stories of sex for roles in the industry?
People keep asking me this same question. Honestly there’s sexual harassment in any industry you can think of but I don’t know why the entertainment industry seems to be blown out of proportion. I know that people go through that experience as we speak but I’ve had no such experience. Like I said earlier, I go for my auditions and network as much as I can. For example, I was at the Lagos @ 50 concerts and I was opportune to meet a lot of people that can influence my career positively. I try to be as professional as possible and I do my beat and leave the rest to God. I’ve not had that experience and I pray not to because it is a very ugly and unpleasant experience.
In the next couple of years:
Oh my God, I’m very ambitious and can only hope. There is an adage that says when there’s life, there’s hope and I can only hope for the best, in terms of more movies and awards locally as well as internationally. So far, two of my works have gotten accolades and I think the next step is to look up to personal awards. Every ambitious person looks up to the moment he/she will be recognized for their efforts. I equally hope to produce my own movies as I have a couple of stories. I also intend to get more training in acting to get better for the global challenge ahead.
What is your perception of Lagos?
Lagos is in a class of its own. To digress a bit, I saw a video clip where a woman said she was leaving Ondo for Nigeria when in actual fact, she was going to Lagos. The city is the entertainment as well as the business hub of Africa, so people look up to coming to Lagos and sincerely, when they come, they don’t get disappointed. Lagos is a bigger market if you know what you are doing because you can achieve anything in Lagos. If you don’t have focus in Lagos, you’ll be easily swayed. Lagos has everything, the good, the bad and the ugly and I’ve had my fair share of it.
Is Lagos worth celebrating @ 50?
Definitely, I think it’s worth celebrating. I don’t know about other Governors but the leadership in Lagos state has being a bit selfless. They care more about the wellbeing of the people and it is very impressive. I wake up every day to see new developments in the state to improve the living standards of the people. In simple words, there’s hope for Lagos as it challenges you to be better.