While we live in a time where it’s quite easy to associate a woman’s success, sweat and achievements to gold digging or prostitution, Nancy Isime has not only continued to work and invest in herself but has remained unstoppable over the years trying to change this narrative.
The award-winning TV host, actor and model who has been putting in the work for over a decade now, is making sure that “every gift and talent given to her by God gets exhausted”.
Currently the executive producer and creator of ‘The Nancy Isime Show’, CEO Nip Studio and the host of the much talk about show in Africa, ‘The Voice Nigeria’ amongst others, Nancy is definitely an inspiration.
Thus, we deemed it fit to have a chat with the 29-year-old on her journey so far as well as celebration all she’s accomplished. So, in this interview with us, Nancy talks us through her journey to stardom, her vision for ‘The Nancy Isime Show’, her take on the anti-gay law in Nigeria, how important exercise is to her mental health and why everyone should be enough by themselves amongst others.
Given how much hard work you put into building your career, do you sometimes give yourself a pat in the back for a job well done seeing how hard it is for people to give deserving persons their flowers these days?
Yes for sure. You have to give yourself a pat in the back as often as you can. So, for myself sometimes I take a look back and appreciate how far I have come.
Looking back to how you started, to now having your own show, “Nancy Isime Show”, how does it feel?
It feels amazing! Winning Miss Valentine was no where close to the beginning of my journey but it’s been good to see all the evolution, progress and and all the good things that have been happening and the hard work I continue to put in, it’s a great feeling.
Tell us about your journey to stardom
It’s been a long journey. There have been loads of huddles and struggles but of course, for everyone to get to where they need to be in life there’s always going to be struggle but it’s all about moving past the challenge and keeping your head up.
What’s your vision for “Nancy Isime Show”?
It’s a talk show that’s premium content, premium entertainment and for TV lovers and talk show lovers, it’s a little something for them to enjoy their weekend with. So the vision for it in the long run is to be able to entertain Nigeria as a whole, for Nigerians to know that if you want entertainment, this show is great to watch as well as getting to know your favourite celebrity more and seeing them in a light you’ve probably never seen them before.
What’s your take on the anti-gay law in Nigeria?
I have never really understood the law because we have a lot of things bothering us as a nation. So the law was really something I didn’t understand at the beginning but the government is the government so they must do what’s best for them and they must figure out their own part of the work. But I just feel like people should be allowed to live their lives the best way they deem fit as long as they are not bothering you and they are not hurting you. There are bigger issues to be worried about than who someone prefers to sleep with, that’s my take.
Would you consider yourself a feminist?
In a way yes but that depends on your definition of a feminist because I have realized that a lot of people have different definition of what it means. There’s a water down version and then there’s the very rigid version that many don’t understand. I think people should actually understand the meaning of the word feminist first and then we can talk about it. Because I could talk about it here now and people won’t understand. Until you understand it then you will see that anybody could be a feminist; anybody that wants the best for his sister, daughter, mother or wife, is basically a feminist. Because we live in a country where the law for the longest time is been patriarchal, it’s basically one sided and it’s obvious. So, women coming up now and saying we want to be heard, we want to be listened to, we have feelings, we have rights, majority of us are quite intelligent and we can add more value to the society than just being asked to sit down somewhere or just be certain things. There are some people who feel like feminism is all about dragging positions with the man, for me there’s nothing to drag because as queens we are powerful and are probably more powerful than we think. So if your definition of feminism is dragging position with a man, I feel like as a feminist you can reign supreme on your own name.
Would you advise your married friend to stay married if her husband is a cheat?
I don’t advice people, I tell them to do what’s best for them.
What would you do if you find yourself in that situation?
Till I’m in those shoes I’ll know what to do. For now I’m not so I can’t say.
As for others, I really don’t advice people. People do what’s best for them, even if you advise they still do what’s best for them. Unless you come to me for advice and I feel like it and if I have the right advice for you but if not, as long as I didn’t advise you to get married or to be in that home or even choose the man then I don’t think it’s in place to tell you what to do. You know yourself best, you know the marriage best and you know what’s best for you so just do it.
Are you in a relationship?
Well, I’m not married so that’s what matters. As it stands, when you fill a form anywhere in the world it’s either you are single or married and I’m not married so I’m single.
Are you single and searching?
Not searching. Probably will never search, I don’t search for things.
Things come to you then?
At the right time, under the right circumstances.
Have you been sexually molested before?
Hmm, sexual molestation is actually a big deal in the country right now and around the world. It depends on how you see it. For me, it’s not the kind of experience that comes to me maybe because of the way I am. I respect myself. I can’t be sitting down on my own and you will come and try to sexually harass me. But there could be molestation in all sorts of ways, it might not even be touching, it could be via words. There are so many ways that a lady could be molested but people don’t know it, they are always like if you weren’t touched then you were not molested. So, molestation could happen in a lot of ways, if you make a woman uncomfortable, you could be molesting her. People need to understand that molestation is a very serious case that can’t just be thrown around.
Would you be okay if a fan tattoos your name on their body?
Why not. It’s a tattoo. It’s a decision you make to tattoo someone’s name. The reason or intention behind it is none of my business. It’s like the way people print T-shirts with the names of their favourite celebrities or you go into a room and people have posters of their favourite celebrities on the wall.
So, if you love me enough to want to put my name on your body, then by all means. It’s an honour. Like I said, it’s the motive behind it because I heard some people do that so they can get some money. At the end of the day it’s a personal choice, if you want to do it, go ahead and send me pictures, I would love to see it but I don’t owe you anything.
What’s your take on some women saying they are enough by themselves and don’t need men to complete them?
My answer still goes back to what I have said earlier, letting people do what’s best for them. We all need to get to a point in our lives where we let people do what’s best for them. As long as it doesn’t hurt you, it’s not taking food out of your mouth then it’s not a problem. How many billions of people and some of us haven’t even figured out our lives yet but we are so concerned about what somebody decided to do that’s making them happy and sleep well at night. So, it still balls down to, if someone decides this is what’s best for them, please let them do it. So do what’s best for you. If someone decides what’s best for them, you don’t have to judge them or try to change their minds. It shouldn’t be an issue.
A man or woman should be complete by themselves. It’s not a feminist thing or a woman thing, I think everyone should be able to complete themselves before they are able to be there for somebody else because if you are incomplete and waiting for someone to complete your it might never happen. We have elderly people who are married and have lived their lives but are still incomplete, they are still completely unhappy and feel like there’s a part of them that still needs to be found. So I’m very pleased that in this day and age, with the knowledge, technology, access to materials that can help you better your life, people are waking up and realizing that it’s possible. Because you want to bring religion into it, God is complete in Himself, likewise Christ, he didn’t need a woman to complete Him. There’s no where in the Bible where it’s stated he needed someone to complete Him. So if truly we are Christ-like, then we should be able to be complete ourselves. We can have someone because we choose to, to compliment our lives or beautify it; two complete living lives and bring whole, complete children into the world and not just incomplete people everywhere disturbing others like it’s their job to complete your and when you don’t feel like they complete you, you start bringing the issue of you should have. I don’t think it’s anybody’s job to complete you, that’s your job.
How important is exercise to your mental health and what’s your daily routine like?
Fitness is very important. If you research, you will find out that just sweating it out and exercising everyday, your body releases a chemical called endorphins, which is responsible for good mood. So, endorphins is a chemical in our brains that enhances good mood. It can’t bring happiness into your life but it enhances it.
There are different chemicals that your brain works with to balance up your mood. There are those responsible for sadness, etc.
I’m big on reading, researching and educating myself, I don’t really ask questions but I also know that there’s something called Google.
So when I started learning about mental health, promoting mental wellness and started working out, I realized that aside from the mental side, the physical side, I do a lot. I run a very intense schedule that a lot of people don’t understand how I’m able to run it but by balancing my mood and giving myself one hour in the morning to work out, meditate, helps me carry on and have a better day. So, at the time I started learning about self-love, I had to figure out my self care practices and working out was one of them. So I always tell people, we have 24 hours a day and you sacrificing one hour shouldn’t be so much. You are doing something that promotes your well being. So for me, working out promotes my mental health and physical being because for me to be able to give my best to others, I must first be my best internally. So working out gives me an opportunity to be my best. Pushing even when you are tired, you keep pushing. This also translate into your work life…you get to work and push past certain expectations even when you are tired because your brain is already at that place where it can push past the limit. Now there’s a difference between pushing past for the best and pushing past for mediocrity. Some people just disturb themselves by being so busy but not being productive, so know what’s important and what’s not. It’s a journey you must learn on your own. So working out is important for me. It helped me build my confidence and supported my mental health and hopefully when I’m in my fifties and sixties, I should still be fit like a fiddle. I love being fit.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as that girl who just did her thing, lived her best life, minded her business most of the times, that girl who at the end of the day when she has to stand before God she would say, I used all the talents that you’ve given to me and there’s nothing left. I want to be remembered as that girl who was kind, who was focused, who didn’t bother anybody and didn’t want to be bothered. She tried her best while she was here.