How My Mum Supported My Acting Career Despite My Shyness – Jim Iyke

Jim Iyke, the Nigerian filmmaker, says his mother’s belief in him shaped him into the man he is today.

The movie star spoke about his introverted childhood and the support he got from his late mum when he was featured on the ‘Is This Seat Taken’ podcast.

The 46-year-old actor said when he told his parents that he wanted to become an actor — as a teenager — his father was against it, arguing that he “was excruciatingly shy”.

Iyke said his mother, however, believed in him, adding that her support helped him become “a great actor”.

The actor said he is trying to pass the kind of friendship he shared with his mother to his children.

“I had a really unique mum. We were not that close in the beginning. She was the disciplinarian, my dad was the cool parent,” he said.

“But as I got older and she found out that I had a certain forge and notion as to how I wanted to live my life. Like if I’m fixated on a goal, there is nothing anyone can tell me until I achieve it.

“She tried to change her parenting process into really being my friend. She wanted to know my interests, wanted to know my person and the kind of man I was budding into from boyhood to manhood.

“So we developed a really special relationship even up until when I started making money, we fast became business partners as well.

“She has passed now. My mum passed about eight years ago. And the vacuum that was left was probably something that was insurmountable. I have not been able to fill that almost throughout my life so far.

“So I think that was what shaped me. I was a straight-A student and Igbo parents decide your life before you are born. I was about 18 and a half when I finished my first degree. The idea was to get my MBA.

“And I came home one day and said, I think I really want to be an actor. My dad’s argument then was that I am excruciatingly shy. Now how can you come out as a well-known introvert to say that you want to be an actor?

“Call it female intuition or whatever but my mum just believed. I had a simple conviction but she believed before I did, and I think that is what makes mothers as unique as they are.

“She started supporting me. It became unbearable to stay at home because my dad said there cannot be two captains on this ship. And so I left and that was it.

“What she instilled in me all through that time — staying with her, learning from her, directing me, and guiding me — is what pretty much shaped the man I became and how I pursued my goals, and what I eventually became today.

“Our relationship was friendship. I think that is what is missing now. That is what I am trying to be to my kids right now. I am trying to be just friends. Being friends, you will discover an individuality, a flair to them that they don’t expose to anyone, not in their circle and space.”

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