5. How I lost my virginity –CHIAMAKA NWOKEUKWU
She is pretty but shy. However, this has not stopped her from interpreting her roles very well as a Nollywood actress. Chiamaka Nwokeukwu is one of those actresses making Nollywood proud. Recently,
she was made the toast of most movie producers when she played a lead role in Chinelo The Shy Virgin which gave her the Afrifimo Award in America. In this interview with CHRISTIAN AGADIBE, she
spoke about her career, the award and life generally. Excerpts:
How did you become an instant hit?
Whenever I’m given a movie role, I take my time to study it. I just pull off Chiamaka Nwokeukwu, and wear the character; I always read my script in and out –every time, like it’s my last day. I really study
my character well. I want to bring out the best in the character I’m wearing so that when people watch it, they will know I’m the best in what I’m doing.
You received an award called Afrifimo Award recently from the US; what has the award changed in you?
The award made people (critics) to look at me in another dimension and say that I’m good. I actually went to US, I was nominated, and I won an award. People no longer look at me the way they did before.
What was your experience in the US?
Wow! On the day of the award, it was something else; the way they were talking about African movies, Nollywood is actually going places. They are very realistic, and they do true life stories. Americans
Which of the actors is your favourite?
I have so many favourite stars, most of them encourage me and most of them discourage me.
At the moment, who is your biggest actor?
Monelisa Chinda; I love her acting, I love her charisma, I love her carriage. Whenever you do a scene with her, she tells you that you are good, she encourages you. Most of them will look at you with jealousy,
and the industry is full of jealousy. But she was just there; like she is really good. I love Annie Idibia a lot; she is a very strong woman. Both of them are my mentors.
What is the average time you take to internalize your script?
I love being given a script like two weeks or three weeks before the shooting. Most of them give you a script three days before shooting, it’s not right. Normally, you’re supposed to read a script like two
or three times- then study your character and get used to the character. For example, I’m acting a mad woman. Most of my scene there I was a mad woman, and I did a lot of research on this mad character. I
also acted a shy virgin; where I was a naïve small girl; looking like a 16-year-old.
Was that the story?
Were you a virgin there? And were you are virgin when you featured in the movie?
I’m not a virgin. But for real when you’re a virgin, you’re very shy.
Give us a retrospect of your experience when you were a virgin?
I remember when I was a virgin; my boyfriend was always saying, you’re a virgin so you can’t go and talk with any other guy”. But I got deflowered not long ago.
Did you get deflowered when you entered Nollywood?
No, it was before I entered Nollywood.
At what age?
You said you are a very shy person but I have not seen a shy person?
I’m a very shy person. I’m learning, if you noticed when you just came I was looking at you, but I couldn’t look at your eyes till I get used to you because I’m just seeing you for the first time.
How did you overcome it especially when you are in front of the camera?
When I got into the industry, I wasn’t that good. I was so shy; I couldn’t look at the camera. I was just lucky when I got to the audition; I had the skin colour depicting the character they needed. That was
how I got that role. I got used to the character; I got determined and overcame it. I took the form of characters, like when I acted as a virgin- people really got convinced as if it was real.
What other things do you do to be a professional in this field? Did you undergo other trainings?
I never went to school for acting. I had an i-Pad; I just do a selfie with the video. When I was coming up I act in front of my i-pad, I do a lot of nasty things. I act as if I’m talking to someone, I replay it. If I’m
angry, I know how to act, do a selfie on my i-pad. I didn’t go for any training; I’m still in school studying Accountancy online at the National Open University. I’m in my 200 level.
So, how do you juggle it with school?
It’s not easy. When I have exam, I take permission from my producer. It’s not really easy but I believe in God; He brought me this far. He has something ahead for me.
Why did you choose Accounting instead of acting?
It is because I wanted to be a banker. Right from when my daddy was alive, he wanted me to work in the bank. My daddy didn’t want me to act. If he was alive, I wouldn’t be acting.
Are you switching to banking after graduation?
No way! When I get married, if my husband doesn’t want me to be acting, I’m not going force him. I will quit and maybe go into banking.
Have you started having suitors?
Yes, they’ve started wooing me but I have not seen the man of my dream.
Do they come because you are in the spotlight?
No, most of them say that I’m a wife material-that they don’t know why I’m into acting. They also say I’m down-to-earth, I look small, I don’t look wild like actresses do. That is what most of them say. But
when I get married, I’d beg my husband to let me take good roles. I’m not going to leave my husband, and he is not going to leave me because he loves me.
What really attracts you to a man?
A man should be God-fearing, cute, good looking, loving and caring. He should not have “akalaaka” meaning he should not be stingy.
You are not saying the truth because most of Nigerian actresses are not getting married. Are you waiting for Prince Don who has so much money?
No, I didn’t say you should have so much money, you should be giving. Nobody wants to marry a poor man, no way. My mummy can’t even allow it- from frying pan to fire; so the man should have those
qualities I mentioned earlier.
Have you really been turned on when acting with an actor?
I’m very professional, I cannot be turned on maybe when I’m doing a sex scene and I like him and all that. Whenever I get into a character, I should like a guy very well, we get used to ourselves before acting
the sex role.
Have you been in any romance scene?
How was your first kiss in a movie?
The first person I kissed in the movie was Frank Atus; we didn’t smooch. We just kissed professionally because it was important in the script. We were quarrelling in the movie; he was in a dream and we
kissed. But when he woke up, we were still quarrelling. To kiss is very necessary.
You have begun to act like a mother in a movie, yet you aren’t married?
Yes, I can marry then give birth to a child and become a mum. Like a movie I did with Monelisa Chinda, we were both married, and got pregnant for my step-father.
Do you feel you could have done better in a particular movie you have done before especially when you are viewing it?
Yes. In my Unborn Son- the one I got HIV. Oge Okoye was my madam and I was the housegirl. It brought me into limelight. I was also crying in the movie, most times I’d be very emotional. And I will say, I
was supposed to cry like this or act like this. But people will love it so much but within me and the way I act now; when I sit down I look at it- I’d say this is wrong, this is not professional but they still love
Is there anything they do in the industry that you don’t like?
You know in the industry, they are so jealous. They come to your face and smile at you but when you hear what they say in your absence, you would discover that they don’t like anybody’s progress. They
don’t want you to more successful than they are. It doesn’t happen like this in America.