If you ever need proof that hard work does pays, look no further than Susan Peters aka The Duchess of Idoma, whose ancestral family home is in Agila, Ado Local Government Area of Benue State.
Susan Otsanya Peters, who is arguably the most successful actress from North Central Nigeria, was born on 31st May 1978 into a military family. Peters completed her secondary education in the mid-1990s from Federal Government Girls College, Wuse-Abuja which she followed with a Diploma in Computer Science in 1998.
Peters dream was to be an Air Hostess but after a job offer with Chanchangi Airlines fell through, she did not let the disappointment of missing out on her childhood dream to crush her and instead Peters went into business, opening a fashion outlet in Kaduna. Her foray into the world of business was no surprise considering that her mum was a small-scale businesswoman who always ran a store in Mammy Markets of the different barracks her Air Force husband was deployed to.
Like most girls who went through their formative years in the 1990s, Peters was big on the then nascent Nollywood movies and the soap opera, Checkmate with Ego Boyo as her favourite actress. But little did young Peters know that her path was going to be intertwined with Nollywood when she agreed to her business premises being used as the location for a scene in a local Kaduna TV drama in 2001. During this drama shoot, Peters became an impromptu cast member, filling in for an indisposed actress. Surprisingly, she impressed the director who advised her to take up acting and to her credit; Peters heeded his advice and enrolled at a film school in Kaduna, graduating top of her class in 2002.
Following on from film school, Peters decided to give Nollywood a crack and relocated to Lagos and girl did she succeed. Through the dint of hard work and tenacity, she got her break in the 2002 Andy Amanechi’s movie Wasted Effort where she starred alongside names like Ramsey Nouah and like the cliché goes, the rest is history with Peters having starred in over fifty movies and counting.
Peters’ background has helped sustain her in Nollywood; the well-grounded upbringing she received from her military family has enabled her to focus on her career goals; her ability to speak the three major languages (Ibo, Hausa and Yoruba) in addition to English and her mother tongue Idoma, has also helped Peters to easily slip into roles where she is required to play a character from one of the major tribes in Nigeria.
Peters who counts legendary actor, Olu Jacobs as a mentor, has achieved industry wide recognition for her acting skills with multiple awards plagues on display on her mantelpiece at home. Some of the notable awards include the 2011 Nollywood and African Films Critics’ Awards (NAFCA) Best Actress in a Support Role for playing Ibiere in the movie Bursting Out. Aside from the prestigious NAFCA award, Peters has also won Best of Nollywood (BON) Best Supporting Actress and the Afro Hollywood Best Actress. In the words of Arinze Nwokolo, the founder and editor of Zen, the arts and culture magazine,
Susan Peters is a remarkable and an incredible talent in the movie industry. Her dedication to her art is unmistakable.
Over the years as Peters became a regular on cinema screens with many sterling performances to boot, her status as an A-List celebrity was confirmed. She was notably one of the judges in the 2011 Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant and her eloquence which is admired in Nollywood has seen her host award shows and event launches.
Conscious of her privileged position in the society, Peters is one who tries to live up to her social responsibilities. In 2012, she set up the Susan Peters Foundation also known as Benue Pikin, a charity organisation whose goal is to raise awareness about Asthma and Diabetes in children. As someone who suffered from Asthma as a child and with a dad who had Diabetes, Peters is well placed to use her personal experiences to fight the corner of the less privilege children in the society who are suffering from these two ailments as she clearly demonstrated by adopting a baby girl from an orphanage.
Aside from her foundation, Peters also supports other worthy causes. She is a goodwill ambassador for the African Community Bridge Foundation (ACBF), a women led organisation that tackles poverty and Our Voice: Nigeria, an organisation that fosters volunteering and leadership skills in secondary school children. Peters also provides mentorship and guidance to young girls, especially of Idoma descent who want to become actresses.
Susan Peters is a very proud daughter of Idoma Land who openly flaunts her beautiful Idoma outfits on her social media and is vocal in her support for girl child education in Benue State.
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- ACBF Goodwill Ambassadors, ACBF Goodwill Ambassadors. Available from https://www.africancbf.org/index.php/about4-us/ [Accessed 23 June 2019]
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- Front-Line Actress Susan Peters and Her Group of 5 Plans Big for Less Privileged Kids, Weekend Blog. Available from http://cerutticlassiconweekend.blogspot.com/2013/12/front-line-actresss… [Accessed 23 June 2019]
- Halima Abubakar, Susan Peters, Saheed Balogun win Afrohollywood Awards, NigeriaFilms.com. Available from https://www.nigeriafilms.com/movie-news/92-nollywood-diaspora/12751-hal… [Accessed 23 June 2019]
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- My dream was to be an Air Hostess - Susan Peters, Modern Ghana. Available from https://www.modernghana.com/movie/17505/67/my-dream-was-to-be-an-air-ho… [Accessed 23 June 2019]