by Rachel Ogbu
British-Nigerian actress, Nikki Amuka-Bird, 41, nominated in the BAFTA Television Awards 2017 Best Actress category for her role as Natalie in the BBC adaptation of Zadie’ Smith’s bestselling book, NW has been talking about landing the role and setting her eyes on bigger projects.
Nikki Amuka-Bird who has been acting since the early turn of the millennium was nominated for an Ian Charleson Award in 2004 for playing Viola in Twelfth Night. Since then she has appeared in a lot of TV series including Luther, Small Island and Five Days. “I had a teacher called Mike Friend… You know everyone has that one teacher who inspires them and he was mine,” she tells SoulCulture about her early days in acting. “He saw some spark and said that I should try out for Drama College. At that point, I didn’t really know much about acting and it’s really because of his advice that I tried out. It’s when I got to Drama College that I discovered how much I loved acting.”
Her upbringing was split between Britain and Antigua. Her mother was a magazine editor in Nigeria who moved to London as a single parent. “She is an incredible woman. A complete project of her own imagination,” she says. Her father has remained in Delta State but in an interview in 2010 she spoke about reconnecting with him. “Just recently in my life I’ve started to get to know my African family and to them I’ve noticed that the attitudes to being an actor are not that open-minded. My father coming to this play would be the first one he’s seen me in.”