The Wedding Party: Deardre Winston’s Danielle Down

Hello Everyone!! It’s been quite a minute!

A lot and i mean A WHOLE LOT has been going on…good things, mostly! I’d get to them at some point- the right time.

I’m not writing about life lessons or none of all that fun jazz today! I’m writing about someone-no, not a boyfriend. Lol!

I’m sure a lot of us have watched the famous movie, “The Wedding Party”, maybe more than once too, I don’t blame you oh! That movie was EVERYTHING!!! And I bet everyone has a favorite character, one they can relate to, or see themselves in. So do I. I definitely saw myself in one of the characters- a story/series for another day. This is about my favorite character!!!

She is none other than Deardre Winston, one of the bridesmaids, played by Daniella Down.
I’d like to know someone else who was intrigued by her asides me.

Daniella Down aka Deardre Winston

What was it about her, you ask?

First, this isn’t the first time I’d see a foreign actor play a role in a Nigerian movie, or a white one for that matter. The difference this time is that Daniella’s acting was ORGANIC!
I live in the midwestern part of the US, where I would usually find myself as the only black person in a class, work, store, restaurants, etc. Also, I’ve had to invite a few of my caucasian friends or even other races over for lunch at my house, birthday parties, and the likes, where they end up being the only one of that race in the midst of my “very African” friends and I. Why am I going into these details?
There is a high level of curiosity, sense of wanting to belong and a type of “hunger” for knowledge about our culture a lot of these friends of mine possess. It’s conspicuous, yet obscure at the same time. That is what I saw in Daniella, the whole time she was Deardre Winston. I absolutely loved her! I hope she actually ends up with Nonso Onwuka, the groom’s brother, played by the absolutely gorgeous Enyinna Nwigwe! LOL! *day dreams for a bit*

Daniella Down as Deardre Winston in The Wedding Party

Okay I’m back! Her acting skills and my curiosity about her made me reach out to her, and guess what?! We’re meeting up for coffee whenever we do meet! Lol! My dreams are valid, you guys!!!!!!!
Anyway, she replied me, and I conducted a little virtual interview. She answered the questions some of us might have in mind for her. I’m not going to bore you with the nitty gritty details of all the questions, so below is a summarized version.

I asked Daniella about her growing up and background. She said: “I have had a rather unusual upbringing”. She spent most of her life growing up in Hong Kong, China, even though she is British originally. Daniella did end up moving to London for a few years, but it wasn’t the city for her. Therefore, she has been living in Amsterdam for the past 2 years and loves it there!

I further asked her about her upbringing. Her school growing up was a big melting pot of different cultures. She said “I grew up surrounded by cultures and friends who came from different countries…I learned from a very young age about beautiful cultures and how easy it can be to live in harmony with and in a foreign culture”. This obviously has a big impact on the way she sees the world.

Then we went on to the “elephant in the room”- HOW ON EARTH DID YOU END UP ON THE WEDDING PARTY MOVIE??? It was a pretty simple answer! Apparently, it wasn’t her first Nigerian movie. Daniella had featured in a movie called Mum, Dad, Meet Sam with Joseph Benjamin, I guess her skill spoke for her, as she was invited for an audition for The Wedding Party. Although she started her career in theatre in the UK, Daniella has starred in other international projects (Chinese, Hong Kong, etc.), commercials (advertisements), cartoons and a few others.

Deardre Winston and Joseph Benjamin in Mum, Dad, Meet Sam

Although, we all know that Nollywood has been on a constant rise in the last decade, I still further asked her about the difference(s) between shooting Nigerian movies and others she has featured in. She says: “There are challenges shooting something as complex as a feature film, which can be out of productions control – like generators or Lagos traffic. Needless to say, I’m back for my third time, so I have a definite soft spot for Nigeria.” And we have a softer spot for you, Danielle! She also went on the buttress my point that Nollywood is growing at a very rapid rate, making references to movies like Fifty, 93 Days and Taxi Driver: Oko Asewo. She says “Film’s like The Wedding Party 2 can act as a lens for the west to gain insight into Nigerian culture and for Nigerian film to expand to the west.”

Danielle’s first time in Nigeria was in 2013, therefore my final question was about her preconceived notions about Nigeria were, if and how they have changed. She said ” I’m glad to say that Nigeria is my first insight into Africa; Nigerian culture, the food, the people.. the Music!! The longer I spend here, the more I learn about Nigerian culture, especially the arts here…Knowing Nigeria makes me want to explore more of Africa, there are so many more adventures to be had”. She further explained that the people in Nigeria and the rich culture keep drawing her back to Nigeria.

One of her advice to people looking to break into the Nollywood scene is that everyone’s experience and career path are different. But generally, to work hard, be dedicated to constantly develop both your Business and Acting skills, and network!! She chipped in that “You don’t have to get caught up in social media celebrity, the most valuable thing is to stay true you and honor your own happiness – do what makes you happy. My personal mantra is to be open to new opportunities and find pleasure everything I do.”

Even with all these, she says she is still at the beginning of her career.

You can check her out on her website at Danielladown.com