You are currently viewing Regina Askia-Williams: Separation, Living in DV Shelter as Undocumented Immigrant was My Lowest Point
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Her days, notably on television, as an actress still evoke memories of prowess whenever it pops up. Graceful in appearance, iconic, and remarkably charming, she effortlessly held sway. That’s Regina Askia, a former beauty Queen and one of Nigeria’s most admired movie stars. She takes Ferdinand Ekechukwu through some of her moments in the spotlight, disclosed the reason she left the industry (over two decades ago), and touched on her life and thriving medical practice in the U.S

Your name evokes memories of your days on screen, such that your fans would love to see you again. What do you think?

(Laughs)! We thank God for his grace. The children and fans of those days are all grown now and I keep running into them across countries in the world. The popular refrain is “thank you for making childhood a joy”. That’s just cute and that’s also a reminder of how far we have come, and how many years in- between.

There have been reports of you making a comeback to Nollywood in a movie Web, what’s been happening?

Oh! I did a cameo on Web; a small appearance in a movie that features Ramsey Nouah, produced by Wole Ogundare and his crew. It features couples at different stages of relationships and the issues they face. It has its share of lies and deceit. A web of broken trusts and family dysfunction.

Despite the fame and fortune, you seemed to enjoy in Nigeria, why did you relocate to the United States?


The fame and fortune was great for me at that age and time. As life evolves you have to make choices to guarantee a solid future. So, for a young girl coming up, fame and fortune was good. For the present as a mother of three amazing kids and a partner, being a Nurse Practitioner with my own medical practice is the best. 

What about the present Nollywood fascinates you?


The fact that our authenticity holds true; we are telling our stories without “apeing” the foreign, with no apologies, as in this is who we are. 

Can you recall some of your memorable acting and modeling moments?


They were many back then. I produced and sold a series on Insurance and a short soap that earned me heavy income from way back. I was one lucky girl.

Of all the roles you played, which one was your favourite?

I liked MOST WANTED, when I was doing it. It’s funny to see it today feeling “baaaddd” with our bibi guns. But back then?! Ha! We had finished work o! It’s fantastic to see how Nollywood has evolved. Did you see the movie where Chidi Mokeme was Scar?! Well played! Well done!

What does it feel being among those talents – men and women – that birthed what we today call Nollywood?


I love it. I consider myself a pathfinder on many fronts, Nollywood being a major one. There are many trends I birthed and folks make me smile when they talk about it.

Which female actress at the moment would you reckon with the Regina Askia class and style?


None! Everyone has their own special flavour. I just brought mine earlier and was in the lime light earlier than most. 

What would you say is your greatest achievement?

Lennox Mall

To have accomplished so much on so many fronts – Education/Career/Family/Lime light all in one lifetime. And the fact that my life is a testimony to the fact that hard work pays. A dream, a plan, a smart strategy and you are a winner. Leave the stage when the ovation is loudest and continuously reinvent yourself. 

What do you consider the greatest influence in your life?


May God continue to bless my parents who made sure they gave me an education and positioned me to recognise and utilise opportunities. My mother has truly been the wind beneath my wings. My forever champion… With a woman like my mother, her quiet strength and spiritual prowess, you will conquer. 

Growing up did you have the flair for acting, singing or dancing?  


Yes! My mother enrolled us in the Saturday Play House Program and the African Club Programs years back in Old Calabar. We enacted stage plays, sang and danced for our parents’ family and the public.

What’s a typical day like for you?

Buuuusssy!!! From the hospital unit, to my clinic, to the home, then school, finding time to attend social events, etc. Out here time is money. Every hour must be accounted for by the dollar or by social capital. 

How do you unwind?


That’s a sore point. I forgot to unwind. Matter of fact I had neglected myself chasing the dollar until a health scare held up my mortality to my face. Now, I take time out to breath, to spa, to travel, cruise to relax. High blood pressure untreated will lead to a stroke. Remember God gave you that body which houses your spirit, take good care of it. You would often hear arguments that ‘Regina is an ER Nurse, no she is a Nurse Practitioner in a nursing home, no she is my Primary Care provider I saw her just last Saturday’. They are all correct. At some point I would go to my nine to five as an NP in a nursing home, finish my rounds and head off to the Emergency room as an ER Nurse and on the weekends I would see patients booked at my clinic. When do I sleep, good question.  It was not sustainable and my body told me – hey! Find time to unwind and enjoy your blessings. 

What’s your view about Nigeria’s situation?

A hopeless tail spin, an intractable free fall. I feel that hopeless. I used to hold an internet program “Office of the Citizen” where we discussed Nigerian politics, society and civic responsibility. We would build a blueprint to success, a plan we would want to see unfold in Nigeria. Then then travesty (my opinion) of an election happened. Since then, I have been mute. Wetin I wan talk again? I taya for Nigeria matter.

What would you say are your low and high moments in life?

Lowest moment was a family situation where I separated from my husband, had to live in a DV shelter as an undocumented immigrant. It was a comfortable unit all to my kids and me but it wasn’t home. To have come from that, restart my life as it were, to become the owner of a thriving medical practice (primary care and medical aesthetics) is possible only in America and only by God’s grace. That’s definitely a high point. 

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