I dont expose my vitals –Chioma Akpotha (nee Chukwuka).
One actress that has been consistent in getting roles in the Nigerian movie industry is Chioma Akpotha (nee Chukwuka). A graduate of banking and finance, the actress who is known for avoiding the press, recently spoke with Senior Reporter, Ovwe Medeme, on her life as an actress among other issues
How did your acting journey start?
While growing up, I had always dreamt of being on TV so when I went for my first audition in 1998, it further confirmed my desire to be in the field of arts. I played little skit and minor roles until I played first major role in 2000 in the movie The Apple directed by Lancelot Oduwa-Imasuen and produced by Theodore Anyanji. After my first audition in 1998, I didn't do much because I didn't know anyone and how to go about anything in the sense that I didn't know where and what time to get to the audition grounds but I was determined to make it on my own, with or without any help from those who were already there. So, on a fateful day, on my way to school, a producer called me for an audition and I did my first major role and there has been no stopping since then.
When you took acting as a career, did you receive any form of resistance from your parents?
Of course I did. My parents didn't take it lightly that is was opting for the movies. My mother, for instance, was of the opinion that young girls who are in the field are regarded as loose and never seen as being able to settle down in a home. In the course of events, my parents somehow came to accept my choice because I had promised not to let them down. That is not to say that I will not do anything wrong or that I am not capable of failing.
Looking back to where you are coming from, would you say the acting profession has been rewarding?
In all truth, I must confess that the industry has been very rewarding. I can afford a lifestyle I ordinarily wouldn't have been able to. Huge rewards have come my way that I cannot even begin to mention them. I do other things alongside being an actress but I don't want to disclose them.
In terms of content and production, how would you rate Nigerian movie?
Nollywood has come a very long way. It is an industry that sprang from absolutely nothing. Today, it is a great industry that has been rated third largest in the world. This goes to show that the Nigerian movie industry has come to stay and when the necessary support comes, it will be explosive. In the same vein, I would say that we still have a lot of work to do. In terms of content, technical knowhow, production, detailing and professionalism, we still have a lot to do.
In your opinion, what must be done to curb piracy?
When it comes to the movie industry, piracy is a very sensitive issue. In my opinion, there has to be a proper structure before the government can even help through copyright protection and structure investment in the entertainment industry. This will in turn boost the economy of our country. Nigeria's entertainment industry with particular reference to Nollywood is the future of this nation's economic stability and the sooner the government and even the private sectors help out the better for all of us.
Do you have any production of your own?
I haven't produced any movie of mine yet but works are in the pipeline so you will be hearing from me soon.
Of all the roles you have done, which would you regard as the most challenging?
As an actress, I can't say one particular job is more challenging than the other because virtually all the roles I have taken are challenging.
You are known to act mostly good girl roles, why is that so?
I am a very versatile actress. I do not know why I am given mostly those kinds of roles but I think that is because I started off with them. In the industry today, when directors find out that you are good in a particular role you get boxed in. I will give you an example. The evergreen Patience Ozorkwor, who started playing very emotional role and was very good at it but when she played the role of a bad mother in-law she got boxed in because she did it well and it has continued like that. There are other cases but since I would soon produce my own movies, I intend to do little skits of different characters.
In the industry today, who do you regard as your role models?
Certain people inspire me in the industry. I particularly like Kate Henshaw-Nuttall for her dedication to the profession. She is one person I regard as a disciplined actor. She is very focused and hardworking. I am also a fan of aunty Joke Silva and Ramsey Nouah.
Would you say being an actress has affected your life in any way?
Being an actress, like I said, has lifted me in many ways and to crown it by being appointed as a brand ambassador for Africa 's fastest growing telecommunication company, Globacom, has been very rewarding. I have also been blessed by my efforts in the industry being crowned with awards. There's a long list of them and the very one that readily comes to my mind is winning the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) best actress of the year 2007 and the African Film Awards, UK for best actress in English language 2010.
What dictates your fashion sense?
My mood determines my fashion sense but I am a very conservative dresser. I don't expose my vitals. I wear what makes me feel good and comfortable. From contemporary to African, I wear them all. I don't wear a particular designer. I just love what looks good.
How do you combine being an actress with running your home?
My marriage doesn't infringe on my job in anyway. I make sure I take care of the home front before I leave for work especially if it's outside town. Like I have always said, I am from a good Christian family.
What can you not be found doing?
I can never be caught stealing. I detest stealing. It is an ugly trait to me.
In a few words, how would you describe yourself?
I am Chioma Akpotha, a wife, a mother, actress and most importantly a Christian. I grew up in a very large family and although we were not rich, my siblings and I were very content with what our parents had to offer. My growing up years were pretty normal. As a child, I did what other children did. I read my books, did my homework, ran errands and did my chores properly and on time too. I also played hard like other kids of my age did.
Let us into your educational background
I had my primary education at Onward Nursery and Primary School. From there, I moved on to Federal Government Girls College Onitsha for my secondary school levels and later graduated from Lagos State Universit, where I studied Banking and Finance.