Despite already producing and starring in an award-winning movie, Bridget John, a student at the University of North Georgia (UNG), has returned to school to study acting after 14 years in fashion design.
John, who was born in Nigeria, explored acting when she was younger. She earned an associate degree in education, but started a fashion design company after graduation, and later decided to try acting again. She moved to the U.S. in 2001.
|John accepts the award for Best Film.|
"I began taking private acting lessons seven years ago, and did some theatre and small films," John said. "I made lots of contacts, but the projects didn't really go anywhere; the quality and marketing was not what I hoped for."
Seeing the shortcomings of various projects, John began saving money and building relationships with people in the film industry that she met and admired. After sharing her ideas for a movie project with Austeen Eboka, a 30-year veteran of the film industry and a well-known name in Nigeria, the two approached Diane Diaz, a screenwriter and friend of John's. The group dove into creating a screenplay for "Adora," and a week later, they were ready to begin casting.
"Adora" is the story of an immigrant woman who loses everything – her marriage, her job, her dignity and freedom. However, she holds tight to her decision to face the future and survive. John is co-producer and plays the lead role in the movie, which was named the Best Film in the Diaspora category at the Nollywood and African Film Critics' Awards held in September in Beverly Hills, California.
"There are many plot twists and the story is very unpredictable," John says. "It's easy to relate to since we all face challenges; there's an Adora in everyone."
"Adora" premiered Aug. 13 at the Dorothy Benson Center in Roswell, and is now showing at various film festivals. Though John has some experience in the theater world, she plans on furthering her knowledge and interest in the subject while attending UNG and as part of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance (GTA).
"I'm staying in school; I should have done it a long time ago. I've studied the path of some actors I admire, such as Samuel L. Jackson and Eddie Murphy, and they have had training and personal coaches, so I'm going for the degree," John said.
John also worked on costumes for the GTA performance of "Oklahoma!" that premiered Nov. 4. She is pursuing an associate degree in theater, but also plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in acting.