I PREFER TO STAY IN NOLLYWOOD... CHIDI MOKEME
Chidi Mokeme, the handsome and stylish two-time host of Guilder Ultimate search is a force to reckon with in acting and to some extent, in fashion because of his high dress sense and of course his label, GQ.
On a good day, the amiable actor could pass for a model out of the GQ magazine because of his nice physique and fashion sense.
Interestingly, he doesn't just enjoy adorning good fashion apparels and accessories but also all that associate with good quality life, such as luxury apartment, exotic cars, classy babes and what have you?
And if you're still wondering how all this are possible, No be today O! The hardworking actor has come a long way in the industry. Not many would believe that when he started, he used to trek all the way from home to attend audition. He'd start like someone taking a strole to the nearest aboki selling sweets and cigarettes, and it'd continue like that until he gets to his destination, sweating profusely like a Christmas goat.
That has surely become part of history because Chidi is now on top of his career. And he has also been involved in other things aside his fashion business, one of which is the charity work he has been involved in with Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, who is the Special Adviser to Mr. President on National Assembly Matters, called, Children of Bakassi.
As regards his experience on the Guilder Ultimate Search I & II, the Igodo actor says, “the first Ultimate Search, like I always say, was the first for everybody. It was the first for me as a presenter on TV. It was the first for me presenting the first reality show for the organizers because it was the first time they were dabbling into that. It was the first time for the viewership because they had never seen anything like that come out of Nigerian telly. So, it was the first for everybody. It was very tasking and it took quite a lot out of us to put it together. By the second time, we were more grounded on the project, we'd taken care of most of the mistakes that we had made the first time.
Hollywood is the dream of all actors the world over but GQ, as he's fondly called, prefers to stay in Nollywood. He explains, “we aspire to be like them. The financial gains from Hollywood is what everybody should dream of, even, if one is not an actor.
Having said that, I maintain too that Nollywood is home-grown. Nollywood is proudly Nigerian, why would I go out of Nollywood to go and hustle for a job in Hollywood? When I can take Nollywood to the peak where it should be. And that gets Hollywood looking into Nollywood and say, who are these guys? You know, that's a formula that I think works. Whereas we all dream to be in Hollywood or do big pictures that appears to be like Hollywood pictures. We're not going to abandon what we've started and go and hustle on the streets of Hollywood because there are millions of people on the streets of Hollywood wanting to be superstars and celebrities.
That's okay. Why don't you stay here, put down everything that you have and make sure Nollywood attain a respectable level. The world is looking at Nollywood, and once you're a big fish in your pond, Hollywood would come and say, “we want these people who are doing this thing here”. I'm sure, very soon there's going to be some partnerships, collaborations and co-productions between Nollywood and Hollywood.
On the issue of banning actors for certain deeds or misdeeds, he reacts this way, “I don't appreciate the idea of banning because acting is intellectual property. The man is walking around with his talent in his head, so if you ban him, you really don't deprive him of anything other than maybe his pay, because he still walks around with his talent. And instead, you deprive us of his talent.
If you're wondering how he feel being romantically linked with his female colleagues and celebrities, he says, “In the industry, people are always linked one way or another to themselves (laughs). I wouldn't say I'm not surprised. That happens all the time, and there are reasons artistes and colleagues seem to meet with themselves. You may see me and someone come out of the restaurant after a lunch break, but you'll probably not see me and any of these people come out of my house at midnight. So with the sighting that have been done at one public place or another, it's very easy for people to draw conclusion and I'm not going to start trying to help them to settle their minds, because there are so many reasons in the world why people are seen together. And there are so many connections and partnerships that are being made that are not necessarily romantic.
Chidi has a role model but none among the numerous veterans in the industry. He rounds off like this, “Yes, I have a role model, I have a mentor. God is my role model. He is also my mentor because He brings out everything. And most of the thing you do, you don't know that you're capable of, until you push yourself to do it, and you achieve and overcome them. If you sit back and think really, why is it that you didn't know that you're capable of doing it? God has put these things inside you, just waiting for you to tell yourself, okay let me go and do this. All my strength come from God, there's hardly anybody I'm looking up to career wise, that I'd say I want to be like.