Nollywood hunk and model, Daniel Kanayo Daniel, aka DKD, is fast becoming one of the most sought after male faces in Nollywood. And as a testament to his acting prowess, he recently clinched the award for Best Upcoming Actor at City People Entertainment Awards 2014.
Today, his movie credits include Ladies Men, Under, Ivie, The Visitor, Paint My Life, Tempest, Lions of 76, Jujuwood and  Body of The King to mention a few. In this interview with NKECHI CHIMA, DKD bares his mind on actress Tontoh Dike, his modelling career and why he loves hanging out with intelligent and attractive women.

Recently, you won the City People’s Best Upcoming Actor. How do you feel with this recognition?
I feel honoured and proud to be awarded the Best Upcoming Actor 2014. I want to use this opportunity to thank the organisers. For me it is a call to hard work and dedication.

How has the award transformed your career?
I didn’t envisage winning in that category. Sincerely, winning the award is a milestone for me. This year has been my most productive. I have not rested for two weeks at a stretch.  I am very grateful to God and my fans for believing in me.

How did your foray into Nollywood begin?
I started as a model because originally, I never wanted to become an actor. And I was not a fan of Nigerian movies either because most of the movies produced back then were occult and fetish and I found them terrifying. In fact, my dream had always been to become a pilot because three of my uncles including my grandfather were pilots. But I was diagnosed with short sightedness and that prevented me from achieving my dream. My foray into Nollywood started on the day I playfully visited a movie director with friends of mine, Steiner Eunice Opara and Tilla Ben. It was an audition but I wasn’t interested in acting. Back in Enugu, my father liked what Nollywood was doing and he always permitted them to use our family house for film locations and I wasn’t happy because it was disturbing my relaxation. However, I never knew that someday, I would be part of Nollywood. Anyway, on that day the director called me to read a script when I stood up to leave and I collected it reluctantly. He was attracted by my looks and use of English and requested my involvement in the shooting of the movie and today, the rest is history.

Tell us about your family?
My mother, Mrs. Kande Daniel, worked with NTA, Radio Nigeria, and presently, she is Special Adviser to the Minister of Power on Media Matters. She and my siblings live in Abuja. One of my brothers is schooling abroad and my dad is late.

When did you lose your dad?
My dad died 10 years ago, 2004 to be precise. I was still in school studying at Nnadi Azikwe University, Awka, Anambra State, when he died.  I was preparing to write my exams when my father had the accident. I had travelled to Enugu from Akwa for my sister’s birthday and our parents wedding anniversary. Mum had also traveled down to Enugu from Abuja. Dad was supposed to come in from Port Harcourt but he never showed up. We were worried and called his office but were informed he wasn’t in the office. My uncle, mum and I went to our village to check on him, hoping he had stopped by to inspect his building under construction but we didn’t see him there. As we were driving along Port Harcourt Expressway, we got information about an accident along Okigwe Road. That was where I saw my father’s passport and drivers’ licence identifying him on the road at the scene of the accident; dad was burnt beyond recognition. In fact, I got the greatest shock of my life the day my father died.

How did your father’s death affect you?
As the first child in a family of four children, I had to grow up quickly because of my siblings. My father’s death devastated me. I have only cried twice as an adult; the first was when I saw my daddy’s corpse and the second was on the day he was buried. My father’s death changed my life forever; it left a big vacuum. My dad was a loving father and a friend. He was the first to call me by my initials, DKD.

You were still in school. How did it affect you educationally?
Honestly, it was my worst semester. I failed over four courses but later wrote them as carry over and to the glory of God, I graduated from the university. I miss everything about my dad. He was the best father ever. Dad always engaged me in whatever he was doing. Little did I know he was preparing me for the tasks ahead.

Did your mum support your dream of becoming an actor?
Her concern was for my happiness. She asked if I was comfortable with it and I said yes. She came to set on my first day on set. Later, I called her up to share my experience and mum prayed and wished me the best.
What were your challenges ab-initio?
I was once hit with a hammer and I lost my tooth in the process. I was also once knocked down by a car on a road scene; it’s hard work but it enjoyable.

Who is your ideal woman?
I like smart and intelligent women. I like a woman I can have intelligent conversations with, and she must have a good sense of humour. My ideal woman should have a nice fashion sense. I am a freak for neatness so she has to be a neat fellow and also a God fearing person for mum to appreciate her.

Have you ever played a romantic movie scene before?
I have done some romantic movies that I am very proud of. I have a very good connection with my female colleagues on set and that is because we agree on the scene before going on set. But earlier in my career, I had a misunderstanding with Tonto Dike but we later became friends after playing alongside her in over four movies. Honestly, Tonto Dike is one of the actresses I have body chemistry with when it comes to playing romantic roles. When we do, it’s so real people applaud us. But we were able to achieve these because we had a conversation and understanding before going on set.