After more than two decades in fashion, it is starting to become clear that the big break for Nigerian Princess Bridget John, is in the business of making movies. In her latest success, Ms. John who has been in other award-winning movies such as Adora was the lead actress in the romantic comedy Marrying a Campbell.
The Nollywood movie, though not yet released to the public, is already making waves, Marrying a Campbell was nominated for 10 awards at the Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival 2021. Out of those ten nominations, Marrying a Campbell went home with 9 wins including Best Actor, Best Movie Producer (Africa), and Best Actress (African Film).
Marrying a Campbell is also lined up for some of the biggest film festivals in the United States of America where it has made a final selection at the various festivals. It was well-received in Nigeria where the screening rooms were jammed to capacity and overflowing.
Marrying a Campbell was screened at the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), where it made it on the finalists’ list. It had also been screened at the 2021 Cannes International Pan African Film Festival, where Ms. John won the Best Actress award.
“To God’s glory, I won Best Actress at the prestigious Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival 2021. What an honour. I enjoyed playing the lead role of Rachel Campbell in the full-length feature film, Marrying a Campbell. God is awesome. He did it again,” she says.
The actress who has spent 23 years in the fashion industry says she is lucky to have been concurrently part of Nollywood and Hollywood, as she has been able to imbibe knowledge from the two different settings.
“Being part of the two largest movie industries in the world opens me up to more opportunities and I have gained a wealth of experience,” she says, adding that it has been both challenging and rewarding at the same time since what obtains in Nollywood is very different from Hollywood.
The emerging screen goddess says blending these two worlds is both rewarding and challenging. To manage the delicate balancing act, she advises those with ambitions to do as she has done, make sure to train.
“Training is key both in production and as an actress. The good thing for me is I had three years of drama training at the College of Education Special, Oyo in Nigeria and a degree in Theater Arts from the University of North Georgia in the United States,” she tells Timescape Magazine.
Living in both countries has according to the actress given her room to absorb the culture of both worlds, which in turn makes the portrayal of characters in both Nollywood and Hollywood easy.
On why she has been able to win accolades for her role as Rachel Campbell, the family matriarch, Ms. John says the role was intriguing. That intrigue according to her acted as fuel to study the role for about two months. Over this period Ms. John says she imbibed all mannerisms that could be attributed to the character.
“So when I got on set I was Rachel Campbell. It made me realize how parents’ decisions affect the lives of their children and it could be for the better or steer them in a different direction away from what their lives were destined for,” she reveals.
On the effect of Covid-19, she says the entertainment industry was hit hard.
“Production studios halted productions and there wasn’t any work for actors. There are really no in-person auditions anymore,” she regrets.
According to her, it was very expensive to use self-tape services.
“There were times when I had seven auditions in a week and I’d have to pay to get each one self-tapped,” says the actress who is also a member of the powerful Benin Royal Family in Nigeria.
In recent years, the kingdom of Benin has been in the news on account of the Benin bronzes which were stolen from this kingdom in the South of Nigeria and are being held in European museums.
Ms. John who has decided to create her own form through movies and film says she has had to invest in her own equipment to self-tape in these times of Covid-19.
“I can self-tape myself. There are fewer in-person workshops. A lot is done virtually now. It would’ve been better if we could continue to do it in person,” she notes.
She also says that regular testing for Covid-19 is stressful as well, “Regardless of your vaccination status.”