In the good old days, she was one of the best actresses in Nollywood. Regina Askia was damn good and this explained why she got featured in very many movies. That was in the 90s before she relocated to the US to live. That was over 18 years ago. A lot has changed about Regina. She is married with kids. And she is no longer acting actively like before.
She has changed her career. She is now a Registered Nurse. She studied Family Health Nursing at Wagner College. She lives in New York.
"I am now a family nurse practitioner," she told City People Online Fashion and Beauty Magazine. How easy was it transiting from acting to nursing? "It wasn't difficult. My first degree was in Biology. But working on the unit was a challenge though. It’s a whole new world.
But God’s grace guides us. Doesn't she miss the active world of acting? Not too much was her reply. Did her new job as a nurse change her dressing in any way? Did it make her become conservative in her dressing? She explained. She is still her stylish self. But she says there are restrictions." You can't wear earrings. Wigs can't go beyond your shoulders. You can pack it in a bun but you need to come up cute."
What has changed about Regina? A lot. "I have grown now. I am now extremely patient. No more like quicksilver. No more loud angry bouts. My patients and my children have taught me life lessons in Patience.
How young was she at the time she went into acting?
"I was about 19/20 as a model. Then l began to take part in the competition. Then came the movies."
Which movie defined her career? "Most people are torn between Full Moon and Most Wanted. But I love Festival of Fire.”
Regina Askia has an interesting story. Her life is an open story book.
Regina Askia-Williams (born Imaobong Regina Askia Usoro, Lagos, 1967) is a Nigerian-born, American-based family nurse practitioner (FNP), healthcare and educational activist, television producer, writer, and public speaker, who found fame as an actress and model.
In 1988, Askia-Williams – a former Medical student who had transferred from the University of Calabar to the University of Lagos – was crowned Miss Unilag. That same year, she competed in the MBGN 1988 contest. Though she was the crowd’s favourite contestant as well as the outgoing Miss Intercontinental, Joan Maynard, she placed second. However, she became titleholder the following year when winner Bianca Onoh resigned. In 1990, Askia-Williams represented Nigeria at Miss Charm International held in Leningrad, Russia, and came second. She also made history by becoming the first Nigerian at Miss International in Japan, where she made an impact with the most outstanding traditional costume.
After gaining public recognition in Nigeria as a beauty pageant winner, Askia-Williams began a modelling career. As a model, Askia-Williams appeared in several Nigerian print and television commercials including Kessingsheen Hair Care, boutique chain Collectibles, and most famously, Visine. She also worked on several runway shows. In 2007, she modelled for the 2000-N-Six face cleansing range alongside her daughter, model Stephanie Hornecker. In 2005 she hosted a fashion show at the Nigerian Embassy in New York City to raise awareness for the plight of children's social amenities in Nigeria, and in 2006, she hosted a charity fashion show at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York, which displayed the creations of top African designers and her own label Regine Fashions.
Askia-Williams' acting break came in 1993, when she played gold-digger Tokunbo Johnson in Nigerian soap Fortunes (later Mega Fortunes) on NTA Network, a role which earned her critical acclaim and roles in Nollywood movies. She has received several awards for her performances – including one for "Best Actress in Nigeria" by Afro Hollywood London in 2000 – and has produced several television shows and films.
Askia-Williams starred in several "Nollywood" films during the 1990s and early 2000s, most of which were filmed to be released directly to video, reaching a wide audience in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa such as Tanzania and Ghana. She became one of Nigeria's biggest acting celebrities. Askia-Williams' films, and other Nollywood films are regularly broadcast by Nigerian television networks, including ITV, StarTV, and the state broadcaster TVT. Askia-Williams was compared to Elizabeth Taylor for her fame, and was paid around N300,000 for a starring role, on par with other top Nigerian actresses.
Askia-Williams also maintained an active interest in supporting medical outreach in Nigeria. In one interview, she described a project she participated in: The project is an Afro-American project titled Renaissance Network Africa which involves three respectable African doctors on board ... our aim is to bring back Africa's glory by paving way for the black Americans that believe Africa is their root to have good relationships with Africans in the Diaspora. This avenue will pave way for Africans and Americans of African origin to have good business relationships. It will also make it easy for investments, as this is the only way we can help rebuild the image of the Nigerian home-front.
A graduate of the University of Lagos with a degree in Biology, she recently became a registered nurse, after earning her nurse practitioner degree at Wagner College in the United States.
Askia-Williams still works on promoting greater collaboration between Africa and its diaspora with her fashion shows as well as medical missions to Africa. She co-hosts an Internet broadcast discussion program, African Health Dialogues. The program covers such topics as the effectiveness of mobile medical clinics in Africa. Her written articles have also appeared online, and in the "Saturday Clinic" series in the Nigerian newspaper This Day
Askia-Williams is married to American Rudolph 'Rudy' Williams, nephew of Ron Everette and grandson of Fess Williams; together the couple have two children – daughter Teesa Olympia and son Rudolph Junior. Askia-Williams' other daughter, model Stephanie Hornecker, is from a previous relationship. She currently lives in America with her family, and is now a family nurse practitioner practising in New York City.
Askia-Williams survived the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. She escaped from the building, where she worked at the time, only three months after relocating to New York City with her family.
In 2007, Askia-Williams was among several African women given an award by the Celebrating African Motherhood Organization (CAM) at a gala event in Washington, D.C