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Who can be on three different continents in a matter of two weeks and show no signs of jet lag? For Sophy Aiida this schedule is the norm and she isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The trilingual (she speaks French, English, and is working on her Spanish) Actress, TV Host, Philanthropist arrives to the photo shoot with luggage in hand, “I’m leaving for Boston right after this!” Dressed ‘comfy chic’ in an asymmetrical sweatshirt, leggings, and knee high boots she hands out hugs and kisses to the crew and gets ready for her close up. With a rare opportunity at hand I sit down to chat with the exotic beauty and Unwanted Guest star to dish about the African film industry and her life in the fast lane.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY? I started talking when I was 2 and by the time I turned 3 I was doing one-woman shows for my family! Is it safe to say that’s when I got started then {laughs}. Professionally I started in 2007 in my first American play “Mama’s Kitchen.” YOUR PARENTS ARE FROM CAMEROON, YOU GREW UP IN PARIS, FLORIDA, AND NOW LIVE IN NYC. WHAT DID YOU TAKE FROM THESE DIFFERENT CULTURES TO SHAPE YOUR CAREER? With all the traveling I’ve done in my life it’s made me realize that Africa is where my heart is. Learning about different cultures has shaped me into a very open-minded young woman. I now feel ready to go back home with everything that I’ve learned over the years and apply it to further develop our entertainment industry.

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE SUCCESS OF UNWANTED GUEST [WHICH DEBUTED IN LAGOS NIGERIA LAST SEPTEMBER]. WAS THAT YOUR FIRST FILM? It wasn’t my first feature but it was the first film that I did which came out in theaters. That was very exciting and a dream come true. DID YOU HAVE ANY CHALLENGES IN PREPARING FOR THE ROLE? I’m a French speaker so learning the Nigerian accent with all its intonations and vocabulary was not easy to do in a week! I practiced the accent by playing Genevieve Nnaji films. She’s my favorite Nigerian actress.

WHAT WAS THE ATMOSPHERE LIKE WORKING ALONGSIDE STARS LIKE CHET, LEIGH-ANN, VIVAN ACHOR, AND CARINE EYOUM? ANY DIVAS? Not at all! We were like a big family including the crew, and overall it was a great experience. In fact I’m still in contact with everyone. I speak with Chet and Carine from time to time and Leigh-Ann and I try to hang out whenever we are both in New York. WORKING WITH NOLLYWOOD HEAVY HITTERS LIKE DANIEL ADEMINOKAN AND CHUCK AJOKU [DIRECTOR & PRODUCER] MUST HAVE BEEN AMAZING. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM? I’ve been really blessed to work with such incredibly talented people! I was able to soak in everything about Nigerian cinema and acting techniques from Daniel. He was so easy to work with as a director which was a huge plus for me. From Chuck I learned patience, humbleness, and what it really means to get the opportunity of a lifetime. ARE YOU TRYING TO BREAK INTO ANY OTHER MARKETS BESIDES AFRICAN FILMS? I would like to think that I represent a new generation of African actors who believe in merging cultures. For example, Unwanted Guest takes place in Lagos and New York City, and we had a diverse cast of actors from all over the globe. The same goes for Jeu de Couples a French film I was in. I don’t limit myself in thinking that I play in ‘African films,’ rather films in general telling the stories of people around the world. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS FOR THE PRESENT AND/OR FUTURE OF THE AFRICAN FILM INDUSTRY? It’s definitely on the rise. Actors, including myself, are training to continuously grow in our craft. It isn’t just about doing a movie anymore; it’s about competing against the best in the industry. In the future I think that the overall film industry, in general, will become a huge melting pot of different cultures and stories. I CAN’T HELP BUT MENTION YOUR UNIQUE PERSONAL STYLE, WHICH NON-EXISTENT IN AFRICAN FILMS. IS THAT HELPING OR HURTING YOUR CAREER? My style has nothing to do with my talent. If I need to tone it down for a role it can be done in a matter of 2 hours. I did it for “Ify” in Unwanted Guest. WHO WAS YOUR FAVORITE OR MOST MEMORABLE CELEBRITY TO INTERVIEW? Hands down the great Angelique Kidjo. I grew up listening to her music and I remember always being so captivated by her body language, facial expressions, and hairstyle. Meeting her was a gift from God. She represents the “strong African Woman” by excellence and that’s what I aspire to be.




“I represent the new generation of African actors who believe in merging cultures” SINCE 2009 YOUR PHILANTHROPY THE NAKANDE’S PROJECT HAS HELPED UNDERPRIVILEGED HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS IN NEEDY AFRICAN CITIES. WHAT SPARKED YOU TO CREATE THIS PROJECT? My friend and co-founder Olivia and I have been so blessed to travel and live in well developed parts of the world. One day, we started talking about how we can give back to our sisters back home and allow them to pursue their dreams as well. That’s when we came up with The Nakande’s Project. Every year we organize a three day seminar in a chosen African city. We select 50 girls attending high school in the most needy parts of the city as participants. The girls get to interact with a panel of guest speakers in all different fields ranging from doctors, to artists, to young entrepreneurs. They also participate in workshops on health awareness, self-respect and hygiene.

[ ] Sophy Aiida’s Favorites...

Food? -Ndole Miondo which is a traditional Douala dish

Language to Speak in? -French but English when I’m mad

Film? -Usual Suspects

Performer? -Up and Coming Cameroonian music genius Jovi I was baffled by his work

Thing to do when I’m not working? -Watch TV series

Song? -Akon feat. P-Square ::Chop My Money

Designer? -At the moment is Zed Eye (I love African prints...)

Hang out spot in NYC? -Lina Frey French Bistro

African Blogger? -Mazuba Kapambwe

Color? -HOT PINK!

Vacation Spot? -Victoria Island

African Celebrity? -John Dumelo

HOW ARE YOU JUGGLING ALL THESE DIFFERENT ROLES (NO PUN INTENDED) IN YOUR LIFE? My faith in God allows me to do it. He reminds me every day that I’m capable of doing all that and more.


IF YOU HAD TO PICK ONE CAREER TO PURSUE WHAT WOULD IT BE? If and only if I had to choose, it would be the philanthropist route. It’s a passion to me. Nothing touches my heart more than to witness the development and shine of my beloved “Mama Africa!”

“It isn’t just about doing a movie anymore, it’s about competing against the best in this industry.”

First Quater Issue- V1 I1- Women  

Sophy Aiida talks life in the fast lane Online African street fashion publication