Monday, 14 July 2014
Secret Omotola Shared With Me – Nollywood Actress, Nkechi Emanuel
As her four wheel drive cruised into the National Stadium, Surulere in Lagos, I raised my right hand to signal my location and when the car rolled to a stop where I stood, I got in and she drove to the part of the stadium where O’Jez Restaurant was situated.
When she eventually killed the engine of the car, I looked into her pretty face and we talked about the weather, the traffic and a couple of other things before we settled into this my interview with this young and gifted Nollywood actress, Nkechi Emmanuel where she talked about her passion for acting, her exploits in Ghana, a secret fellow actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde once shared with her and other interesting issues.
What have you been doing in the last 6 months?
The last 6 months in 2014 has been all about shooting movie and moving from one location to another.
Can you be a bit more specific?
Okay. I have been working within and outside Lagos. I have also been working outside Nigeria for some time now. I just got back from a set in Accra in Ghana. That marked my second time shooting in Ghana. It was really fun working there and we had a working title for the movie; ‘The Wedding Night.’ We might use it eventually but like I said, right now, it’s still a working title. In the movie, I worked with Jackie Appiah, Prince David Ossai and other Ghanaian actors.
You mentioned earlier that it was a very exciting experience for you. What exactly made it interesting? Was it just the cast or something else?
My colleagues and the people there actually made it very easy and interesting. Aside working together, they took me out and I really had fun working in Accra. When it was time to leave, I was reluctant to go and they didn’t want me to go either but I just had to return to my country. Not long after that, I had my birthday bash and I had to give back to the society in the little way I could. I visited the motherless baby’s home in Surulere. I visited two places; one was a school for the blind and partially sighted students. I really felt for those kids because they couldn’t see the person they were celebrating with. They could only hear me and feel y presence. They sang for me, celebrated with me and it was really fun. I cried because it was really touching. I also had a little get together with my friends later that night.
Nkechi, you appear to have added some weight compared to the last time I saw you. What’s responsible for this?
I go through less stress now with my work compared to the past. Those days, the hustle was really hard and brutal. Right now, God is blessing me and I’m much happier than I used to be.
Now tell me, why would you wake up one day and suddenly decide you want to change your name from Naomi to Nkechi? Were you visited in a dream by your grandparents or ancestors?
(Laughs) Nothing happened. I just thought bearing a foreign name was not something I really wanted for myself. Naomi is still my name but I just want to push my indigenous name up front. That would tell people more about who I am and where I’m from. It’s African and I’m proud of my roots.
Last time I spoke to you, which was a long time ago, you were single. So, has anything changed?
Can you see any ring on my finger?
It could be in your purse or in a bag sitting in the back seat of your car?
(Laughs) It’s not something I would hide if I had one. It is something I would really love to flaunt.
So you’re still single?
Are you still searching?
Who are you dating right now?
Can you tell us who he is?
But is he a Nigerian?
Yes and I’m happy in the relationship.
Does he have all the qualities you want in that special man?
By God’s grace, yes!
Besides acting, have you been doing any other thing lately?
Well, I just graduated from school so I’m a full diplomat now. I studied History and International Relations at Lagos State University (LASU).
I don’t think you’ve shot any movie of your own. Is this something you’re planning to do?
It is something I have always had in mind because sometimes, on set, I get really interested in the director’s work and even go ahead and suggest a few ideas on how to do things differently. I really look forward to produce and direct my own film. I intend to study film-making soon to acquire more knowledge in this direction.
What’s the most embarrassing or awkward thing that has ever happened to you?
This happened during the period when we had the fuel scarcity. Moving around was really tight as I couldn’t fuel my car or my sister’s car yet I had places I was supposed to go that day. I decided to disguise and go out using public transport. That was how I boarded a tricycle and I was praying no one would recognize me. Suddenly, I found myself in a little traffic while sitting close to the door when someone I wasn’t expecting to see me spotted me and waved at me. I just pretended as if it wasn’t me. I just looked away and luckily for me, the traffic eased up and the tricycle left that spot.
Nkechi, I’m sure you can see the madness that has been going on within the country lately; over 200 schoolgirls getting kidnapped and bombs going off and killing innocent people every now and then. What’s your reaction to all of these?
It’s painful and really sad. A lot of people have died and the people getting killed are not citizens of the country who can barely defend themselves including children and women. I feel really bad and disheartened. It’s not something to be proud of and it’s really painful because a lot of my friends in other countries call me to get information. They want to know what my President is doing about the situation. I have Nigerian friends who do not want to return to the country. I try to talk them out of such a decision but their consistent reference to Boko Haram leaves us all frustrated. But in all situations, we should thank God. God sees everything and He knows best. I believe that someday, this would come to an end. I pray about this every day.
What’s your favourite food?
Plantain in any form it takes – Fried, boiled, roasted or as chips.
Would that make banana your favourite fruit?
No but I love banana because of the potassium in it. My favourite fruit is pineapple.
I suspect you have a sweet tooth?
Yes I do. I like chocolates, sweets, gums and candies.
Are you particular about your perfume?
Yes I am. I love so many of them. I don’t mix them but I take them one at a time. Right now, I’m using Bvlgari.
Are you fashion conscious or do you just wear whatever you feel comfortable in?
I am fashion conscious and I ensure I wear things I feel very comfortable in
So, what’s your fashion style? What works for you?
I want to look smart, attractive and dashing. I want to walk, make heads turn and get loads of compliments.
What’s your favourite colour?
White. It used to be blue but it just switched all of a sudden.
Who is your celebrity crush?
That would be Chris Brown. I like his style, his music. I like the eccentric touch in his style. I like the way he dances as well. I don’t mind his recent run-ins with the law. It’s just part of the mix.
Do you have a pet?
No I don’t
You don’t like pets?
Can you keep a cat?
Why God forbid? What is it with Nigerian ladies and cats?
I don’t like them
But I like them. When I was younger, my Granma used to have one and it would sneak into the duvet at night share my bed. I loved it
‘Ayanma’ (a Nigerian expression that shows disgust). No way. That was the only thing that pissed me off when I was in Accra. They had cats on the streets, around the hotel and in a whole lot of places. I just can’t stand them. I noticed that when the people of Accra discover that you don’t like cats, they begin to dislike you. I was really pissed about that in Accra but every other thing was splendid.
How about dogs?
Dogs are alright. They can come around and play but cats should dare not come anywhere close to me.
Where is your dream vacation spot?
I would love to go to the Bahamas.
Was your mum in support of your acting or did she carry a placard to protest?
My mum was really in support unlike my dad. She would money for my fare and ask me not to mind daddy. I would sneak out and go for auditions but my dad would say no and insist, ‘My daughter is going to be a lawyer.’ Today, all that has changed. When he goes out and his friends tell him they saw his daughter in a movie, he feels proud and even brags about it.
When you’re with your female friends, what part of you do they pick and go on and on about?
They talk about the power of my smile, my sexy dresses or my sexiness. I don’t see these things as much as they do. I like short dresses so I flaunt some of the things God has blessed me with; like my legs.
How did you spend your last Valentine’s Day?
In 2014, I was filming and I was on set. I was in Lagos and was filming somewhere in Satellite Town. Valentine’s Day came while I was working so there was no way I could leave my work and there wasn’t any particular person to spend such a day with except my family.
Look through all Nigerian celebrities, can you pick one out that has reacted impacted on your career?
There are so many of them. When I started, I met Klint Da Drunk. He’s a comedian and actor. He was someone who drew me closer, sat me down and advised me and I leant a lot from him. I learnt to be humble from him. He taught me a whole lot and till date, everything he taught me has been working. Whenever he sees me, he tells me he’s happy for me. I really appreciate what he did for me.
How any kids would you like to have? How about 9?
What! No way! I don’t really know but I was a twin. I would like a set of twins and then two other children.
What is one thing that you cannot leave home without? If you’re already out of the house and you remember, you would go back for it. What is that item?
That would be my mobile phone. I can’t leave it because everything I do on a daily basis is attached to it.
For young ladies who have dreams of becoming what you have become today but are still green horns, what would you tell them? What do they have to do? Is there any secret formula?
When I was starting off as an actress, I met Aunt Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde and she advised that if you are still in school, make sure you finish so I would still love to give that same tip to young ladies who want to become successful actresses. If you’re still in school, take your time with it. It is just four important years of your life. Study hard and finish your education. If you want to further more with your Masters Degree, do go ahead and then you’re going to have more time to pursue this career. One thing they must understand is that this career has nowhere to go. Acting will always be there for you. Whether you are old or young, you will still have a role to play. The important thing is that you have talent and you’re passionate about it. Always put your education first. Mixing both can become extremely distracting. You’ll end up losing one of them. It’s hard to concentrate in school when you have your mind set outside the lecture halls. Whatever you’re doing, just be steadfast to God. Always put God first
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By: SAMOD BIOBAKU