Many people want to know more about Nina Sosanya. It’s hard to learn much about her. Nina Sosanya is either elusive or not interested in fame. Whatever her reasons for being shy about seeking the spotlight, information on her is hard to find.
I wrote to her manager and asked if I could interview her by email. No answer.
I decided to put together anything I could find about her in a compilation of information. I hope the information answers some of your questions, but it certainly didn’t answer all of mine.
Nina Sosanya was born in 1969, so she’s about 47 years old. She was born in England. She’s worked in theater, film and TV since 1992, according to IMDB. Since IMDB only lists TV and film credits and not earlier theater credits, it’s safe to say that she’s been a working actress for even longer than the years since 1992.
Her father is Nigerian – a true fact that crept into her character description in Last Tango in Halifax. She trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance in England.
After college, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. One of her first breaks came when she got a part in Anthony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre.
She’s done a lot of theater work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including Love’s Labour’s Lost as Rosaline.
She was in Teachers with Andrew Lincoln on TV. Later she was in Love, Actually, where Andrew Lincoln also had a part before he came to the US and started chasing after The Walking Dead.
Nina recently worked opposite David Tennant in a short film called 96 Ways to Say I Love You and will be in a TV movie called The Vote as well as a new mini-series called Asylum.
What We Don’t Know
There’s so much we don’t know. She has no web site, no Twitter account, no Facebook page. We don’t know if she’s married, if she lives in London, if she has 3 dogs and a cockatiel running about her house or if she has a family. We don’t know if she lives on a farm and breeds Icelandic ponies in her spare time. We don’t know one personal thing about her. [Ed.: Thanks to a commenter, we now know she lives in London with a long-term boyfriend.]
In this day and age, it’s amazing that she manages to maintain such a level of privacy.
Crossing the Pond
Nina Sosanya has a rather amazing list of credits as an English actress. I became aware of her in a big way when I fell madly in love with Last Tango in Halifax. She’s apparently affected other Americans in the same way since that particular show has crossed the pond and engaged American audiences. If you look at YouTube, that seems to be what has Americans excited.
There are few interviews with her on YouTube, although there are plenty of fan videos of her kissing Sarah Lancashire in Last Tango in Halifax. When Sarah Lancashire accepted a BAFTA for her role in Last Tango in Halifax, she said, “If you ever get a chance to kiss Nina Sosanya, do it. You won’t be sorry.” I think Nina Sosanya might say the same thing about Sarah Lancashire.
After Nina’s character, Kate, was eliminated on Last Tango in Halifax, I wrote this post: Another Dead Lesbian and the Question of Representation. It might interest you.
@HG’mom on Twitter put me on to this Sunday Brunch program on YouTube with an interview with Nina Sosanya about half way through. She talks about finally buying a house and why she had to stop dancing.
Updates and Quotes
In an interview with The Guardian on Nina’s performance in Young Chekhov, Nina made several quotable remarks. When asked about being recognized and approached on the street, Nina said, “With Last Tango, the most incredibly different people – young, old, white, black, men, women – would want to talk to me, and there was something enchanting about how it seemed to speak to everyone.”
In response to a comment that the biggest moment in her career happened off screen – her death in Last Tango in Halifax, Nina said, “The producer gave me a call before the scripts arrived and warned me what was coming. I wasn’t shocked, I was just sad. I knew that in a third series you need stuff to occur, but I was sad because I thought there was more to do with her. And, let’s be honest, as the actor you’re going: er, I haven’t got a job now. So it was upsetting.”
The Chekhov plays with Nina Sosanya are not normally roles for women of color, which prompted some questions about race. Nina commented, “I’ve always referred to myself as ‘mixed race’, but apparently that’s not correct any more. But to call myself ‘black’ would be to deny my mother. There are so many boxes you can put yourself in and the part of the Venn diagram where they overlap is probably who you are.” Even in her own family, Nina considered herself an outsider. “I was always the minority in the room, even in my own immediate family, who were all white.”
If you can’t make it to the London theater to watch Chekhov, Nina is currently on American Netflix in the noir mystery Marcella, where she plays a police detective.
Nina mentions here on Old Ain’t Dead
Don’t forget that I’ve talked about Nina many times on this blog. Look at all these posts.
Nina, if you’re reading this, we are very curious about you and would love to hear more about you as a person. Talk to us.
Images from The BBC & Love Actually and The National Theatre