Budding actor cum model, Daniel K. Daniel tells Saturday Beats why he got into the movie industry
Last year, you won two awards including Best of Nollywood award in the Revelation of the Year category, how do you feel that you are being recognised in the industry so early?
I was surprised and shocked when I was given the awards. Recognition means that people are watching you. I am not the only one who just came into the industry. But the fact that I was singled out and was even nominated was great. I didn’t expect it. I was even in a category that had other actors who were more popular than I am. I felt good.
People before you are still making waves; do you think you would one day get to their level let alone surpass them?
I have always believed that the sky is big enough for all the stars to shine. We don’t have half as many movie stars that we have in Hollywood and all of them manage to shine and make their money and make an impact. I believe we can make our contributions. Who said the person there would need to give way for Daniel. K. Daniel? Who said I would not come up and join the stars? There is no reason we all can’t celebrate.
Was it by choice or accident that you got into Nollywood?
It was by accident. I am not one of the persons that would tell you that I have been acting since my mother conceived me. I had never acted before I joined Nollywood. I had no interest in acting when I was growing up. I was not one of the avid watchers of Nollywood movies. When I was growing up, it was the era of horror Nollywood movies when people were used as rituals and stuff like that. I couldn’t deal with such because anytime I finished watching the movie, I would be scared and I wouldn’t be able to sleep with the lights off. I wouldn’t be able to go to the bathroom by myself, so I had to avoid watching such movies entirely.
So you didn’t know much about Nollywood?
Not really. My dad allowed people to shoot their movies in our house in Enugu. I would have joined Nollywood then if I had wanted but I wasn’t interested. I was even upset they were using our house because I felt they were occupying my space each time I wanted to watch TV or cartoon. My dad passed away in an accident later and I went to the university and I studied Biochemistry.
So when did acting start?
It was when I went for my national youth service in Abuja. I saw a friend and she asked me to give her a ride so she could see a director friend of hers. When we got there, there was a movie casting. We were at the back when the director saw me, he asked me to come. He said he liked my hairdo and he asked me to read a script. I told him I wasn’t there to act but he said it didn’t matter as long as I was there already. He said he liked the way I speak. So I read the script and he commended me. He said I should act what I read. I still told him I couldn’t act but he insisted and I did. After, he clapped and he said I did well. He asked me my name and I told him. He said that I couldn’t be serious to say I wasn’t an actor bearing a showbiz name. I told him Daniel. K. Daniel was my real name and I had to bring out my driving licence before he believed me. Thereafter, when I decided to make this my chosen profession, I had to work extra hard to be an actor. I got registered with the guild and I started going for auditions. And thereafter, producers started calling me for one movie and the other.
So are you comfortable with the profession now?
I am okay with it. It is demanding but not bad. My mother even asked me if I was okay and I told her I belong here and I am okay.
What was your childhood dream?
I wanted to be a pilot. I had three uncles that were fighter pilots and I wanted to be like them. But I was diagnosed with myopia when I was in secondary school. I am short- sighted and I was told I would end up as an instructor if I actually went to a flying school. It hampered my dream, so I had to study Biochemistry in the university. I am not doing anything with my Biochemistry certificate at the moment because being an actor is a full time work and it affords me no space.
So why not take a break?
The stage I am at the moment is very sensitive. My other established colleagues can decide to take a break when they want to but I cannot do that. It may look as if I am arrogant, I answer every call because I am still growing. I cannot afford to take a break.
Do you enjoy your celebrity status?
I didn’t plan to be a celeb; I didn’t think about the fame when I started. It started gradually and it hit me that people would see me and recognise me. It took me by surprise the first time somebody recognised me. It was exciting and I felt cool. Right now, I wear fez caps so that people would not recognise me. At times, I would want to go somewhere and get out without anybody recognising me.
Do you still model?
My days of modelling are not over. But I have to divide my time so that I can keep up with that part of my life. It is also rewarding and it was the first part of entertainment that I got into. It is just that acting is taking most of my time.
Most people believe that male models get into homosexuality…
I was very young when I got into modelling and I didn’t know that part of life. I hear about it now. I even hear gossip about myself. Some say I am becoming too successful and I may have joined the growing list of gay actors who got into it to become successful. I just laugh when I hear this and I ignore such talk.
Do you get offers?
I get it all the time. I get from those in the industry and those outside the industry and my answer is still the same, I am not gay. I am very straight and I love women.
What happened to the beauty queen you were dating sometime ago?
We had a good relationship and probably the longest relationship I have ever had. We dated for two years. It didn’t work out. We had unsettled differences. There were things I would have loved to change but they weren’t changing and I guess she must have had that same feeling about me. But we are still very close and we talk all the time. We decided it would be best if we don’t have a relationship.
So who are you currently dating?
I am not in a relationship. How can I still be in a relationship and be very close with my ex? The girl would ‘kill’ my ex. I want to take my time now. I just don’t want to date for dating sake.
So many people believe you are very arrogant…
I wouldn’t tell you that I am not arrogant; every human being has a tiny bit of arrogance and pride in him. But I know when to put on the arrogance cloak. Some people mistake my self confidence for arrogance. I am not arrogant and you wouldn’t know unless you come close to me.