In Conversation With The Cast Of Netflix Nigeria’s Young Adult Series: Far From Home.
Bside sat with some of the cast of Netflix’s first Nigerian original Young Adult Series ‘Far From Home’ for an exclusive interview
●22nd December 2022
Authentic, refreshing and tense, Netflix’s first Nigerian original Young Adult Series Far From Home is exactly the kind of storytelling young Nigerian audiences have been clamoring for. The young adult series — just like some of the recent Nigerian Netflix productions — represents the potential for Nigerian storytelling to go global.
The show follows the story of Ishaya Bello (Mike Afolarin), a charismatic teenager and talented artist from a poor family, whose dreams suddenly appear within reach when he is awarded a prestigious scholarship to the most exclusive school in the country, Wilmer Academy, propelling him into the affluent world of Nigeria’s elite.
Bside sat down with three of the cast members: Elma Mbadiwe, Genoveva Umeh and Tomi Ojo to chat about their different characters and what it means to be cast on Netflix Nigeria’s first young adult series.
BSIDE: Please introduce yourself and the character you played in Far From Home.
UMEH: My name is Genoveva Umeh and I play the character Zina in Far From Home.
MBADIWE: I am Elma Mbadiwe and I play Carmen in Far From Home
OJO: Hello, my name is Tomi Ojo and I play Rahila in Netflix’s Far From Home.
BSIDE: When you got the call that you’ve been cast as an actor in Netflix Nigeria’s first young adult series, how did that feel for you?
UMEH: It was incredible because it was a role that I’ve missed in the past and then a year later, I am getting that opportunity. They spoke to me in person and they told me that you got this opportunity. So yeah, I got very excited and it was an answered prayer.
OJO: It was a dream come true, I remember crying because I had lost the role before and I was like wow God, so you listen to me. It was really exciting.
MBADIWE: Mine is interesting because I didn’t even know it was for Netflix. I was just auditioning for a job as an actor. Tons of auditions later, I come into a room and there’s Netflix all over it with balloons. But then, it was such a sweet feeling. I can’t explain it, I feel blessed to be part of these amazing people doing this.
BSIDE: Let’s talk about the character Carmen, as the queen B of the school, what was the first thing you could relate to in terms of the character Carmen when you got the script?
MBADIWE: I think that a lot of Nigerian young adults can relate to parents being overbearing for starters. I started feeling bad for Carmen at first because of everything she’s been through and is going through but at the end of the day, feeling bad for her would not cut it. So I just had to be her and put in place what the character demanded of me. I guess I did make it work.
BSIDE: Rahila, your character experienced life in Isale Eko, what was it like shooting in Isale Eko?
OJO: It was fun because we had security, everybody was around, and everywhere was busy but it was an experience and I loved it.
BSIDE: When you were navigating that character, what were the things you had to do to ensure you brought the best out of it?
OJO: I think I channeled myself, my personal experience in all those things. As a young person that feels like you carry the weight of your family on your shoulder, you feel you are responsible for your family moving forward. It was a lot and I think I can relate to it. So yes, I channeled my personal experience into the character.
BSIDE: The character Zina is the absolute life of the party, how does it feel like to be the one putting everybody together, just ensuring everybody is having fun and just being Zina?
UMEH: The Gen Z in Zina right, it was incredible, I could relate the most to that in my personal life so it was good that I could bring that energy to Zina, and everyday coming to set, I knew I had to be in the best head space and I was always in my best head space because of Zina. So yeah, she lit my soul on fire
BSIDE: Far From Home premieres on Netflix on the 16th of December, when people watch it, what’s the one thing you want people to take out of the project?
MBADIWE: I want them to have fun, as much fun as we had to film the project, I wish the audience can see it, I wish that it reflects through the screens. And I want them to change certain perceptions, this classicism, trenches vibes, there’s no need for that and they see that just as Ishaya is able to change his world in a minute, anybody can, regardless of where you are coming from. To be honest, I don’t really fault Ishaya for most of his choices because he wants to be better, and to be honest, he didn’t kill anybody, so I am really rooting for Ishaya
UMEH: I want the audience to know that their dreams are valid looking at Ishaya’s perspective and everyone else’s. I also want them to find themselves and also globally for the world to experience Nigeria. Experience young Nigerians, Nigerians within the show, and our culture, and I am really excited and looking forward to opinions on that.
OJO: I want them to enjoy it more than anything and be able to relate to or remind them of who they are and what they can be
BSIDE: What character did you think needed spanking the most in the series? If you were watching as an audience, who do you think deserves spanking the most?
UMEH: I think mine is Denrele, that boy needs to sit down, he is an entitled spoiled brat and I am just so annoyed that his father is rich.
MBADIWE: Asides from Zina, I feel every character at some point deserved a spanking. Carmen, sometimes I am like sis, you need to sit down now and chill. So every character aside from Zina just having their moment, Ishaya overdoing it, Rahila was a little too naive, but then, that’s what makes us humans. Everybody has flaws, strengths, and weaknesses so, you know, combining them is just magic
OJO: For me, everybody had different experiences, but for me, it was Ishaya. He was a thorn in my flesh. So definitely he needed the spanking
BSIDE: How do you feel knowing that the world will be experiencing Nigeria in a new light with this kind of project?
OJO: I am super grateful and excited. It still feels so Surreal. I want people to like the show, like Rahila as well.
UMEH: Honestly, I want people to experience Nigerian and Nigerian talents globally. I am so grateful to be a part of this. The buzz has been amazing and I can’t wait to see how far it goes.
MBADIWE: I am grateful. Very grateful that’s all I am just filled with gratitude.