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Young, Famous & African star Annie Macaulay-Idibia opens up about her marriage, family, career, and more

Our former GLAMOUR cover star Annie Macaulay Idibia was a a breakout star in Netflix’s reality series, Young, Famous & African, now in it’s second season. Her relationship and family life is a focal point in the show. Here, she opens up about her experience on YFA, her marriage, career, family, and more.

Actress, model and businesswoman Annie Macaulay Idibia is a star – I notice that as soon as she arrives on set. With her entourage trailing behind her, she may appear nonchalant, but she’s watching and observing everything and everyone.

The set is a hive of activity at this out-of-the-ordinary Glamour cover shoot. Several camera crews are gathering diff erent mediums of content. It’s organised chaos, and all eyes are on Annie.

We’re shooting two productions simultaneously, our March 2022 cover and an insert for Netflix SA’s Young, Famous & African (YFA), the streaming service’s first Pan-African reality series.

Featuring some of Africa’s top entertainers, it’ll be an instant hit. Nigeria-based Annie has been in Joburg for a few weeks filming the project, and it’s been an emotional rollercoaster for her – she misses her husband, music veteran 2baba Idibia,and two children.

I watch her transform with each outfit she puts on. We’ve brought wigs, hats and all manner of props for her. Our styling is deliberate, the colour green featuring in most of the clothing to represent the Nigerian flag.

Annie goes with the flow, moving to the upbeat music playing in the background. A large crew and numerous cameras don’t faze her.

She preps me for my on-screen debut, an interview with her to be aired as part of the reality show. It’s during the interview we bond over our shared experience of being working moms.

Glamour: When did you start acting and what attracted you to it?

Annie Macaulay Idibia: I started acting when I was a little girl, around four or five years old. I’d wear my mom’s jewellery, clothes and makeup, stare at my reflection in a small mirror at home and act as I imagined a British woman would.

I started acting professionally in 2001 after I landed my first role in a family sitcom, The first family in Nigeria. There were to how far I could push it because I was still in school and couldn’t attend auditions.

When I was finishing my second degree in Theatre Arts at the University of Lagos, I received a call from casting directors looking for a fresh new face to play a lead role alongside the Nigerian A-List actor Ramsey Nouah.

I was so excited that I missed my lectures that day to arrive early at the National Theater in Lagos. I waited for my turn, but the audition didn’t start until four hours later than scheduled.

I gave my best performance, but I didn’t think I’d impressed the judges. I experienced severe anxiety after that audition; I’d jump at every unknown number that appeared on my phone, hoping it was someone from the audition calling to tell me I’d got the part. Days went by, and I heard nothing. I gave up. Exactly three weeks after my audition, I received a text from an unknown number saying, “Ms Annie Macaulay Idibia. You got the lead role in our new movie Different World, and you’ll be acting alongside Ramsey Nouah as your love interest, Onyeka Onwenu will play your mother, and Dickson Iroegbu will direct it”. I was over the moon. Nothing could’ve made me happier.

YFA is Netflix’s first-ever African reality series. This is huge and is bound to take your career to the global stage. What do the role and the opportunity mean to you? And what are you hoping to achieve by fulfilling it?

I feel humbled and grateful. Nigeria is vast and blessed with many talented people, so it’s a big deal they chose me over every other female celebrity in the country. That alone is huge for me, and I see it as a life-changing opportunity to sell myself not just in Nigeria or Africa but internationally.

I’m optimistic that being a part of YFA is a step in the right direction for me as an actor who’s been trying to break into the international scene. The world gets an opportunity to see me for who I am: a strong African queen, mother, actress and entertainer.

Reality TV is fast gaining popularity in Africa, and YFA is your first reality TV gig. Was it strange to have cameras follow you around? Describe that experience.

Honestly, yes, it was weirder than I thought it’d be, and I must confess there were days I’d wake up in the morning, and I wouldn’t feel like looking pretty or having cameras follow me everywhere. On other days, I loved that. The saddest part of the experience was not seeing my kids. That hurt. Some nights I’d return to my penthouse, and I’d stand in my living room looking at the beautiful view of Sandton, and I’d cry.

Read the full interview in Glamour’s 2022 Entertainment Issue, now available in-stores and online, here.

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