Home Interviews An Interview With The Beautiful And Talented Chinenye Emekesiri

An Interview With The Beautiful And Talented Chinenye Emekesiri

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An Interview With The Beautiful And Talented Chinenye Emekesiri
45th Edition

A NOLLYWOOD ACTRESS…

She is one of the most beautiful and brilliant Nigerian actresses. Well known in Nollywood as Chinenye Emekesiri. She is a Mother, Actress, Film Producer, Script Writer, Entrepreneur, Paralegal, Law Office Manager, Legal Assistant, Estate Agent, and Philanthropist running an NGO called EVERGLOW FOUNDATION.

In an industry that can often make or break you as a person, it is nice to see such an amazing humble actress like Chinenye handle the highs and lows of the entertainment industry in such a positive way -while at the same time, still making time for herself and others. In this interview, we asked her about her very first acting job, as well as some of her inspirations growing up.                                                                                   A-CHOICES: Please give a concise autobiography of yourself.

CHINENYE: My name is Chinenye Emekesiri formerly known as Chinenye Okoye, popularly known as Snow-white. On Instagram at nenye_whyte and Facebook as Chinenye Emekesiri, born into the family of Mr Sunday and Mrs Juliana Okoye from Nnobi in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State. I attended my Nursery, Primary and Secondary Education in Anambra State. I graduated from African Thinkers College of Education in 2012 with a Nigerian Certificate in Education (NCE). I was admitted to the Enugu State University of Science and Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree (B.Sc Honours) in Guidance and Counselling in 2015. During and after my NYSC, I worked briefly as a teacher. 

I am married to a UK-based Lawyer and Estate Surveyor & Valuer, Barrister Dr Emeka Emekesiri from Amucha Njaba Local Government Area Orlu Imo State. He practises law in both Nigeria and the United Kingdom. 

I have worked in different establishments while maintaining the dream of becoming an actress. I started acting in drama from a tender age in my Primary School days. I have been acting in drama all my life, and anyone who is familiar with Chinenye will know that I love acting. I journeyed to the big screen (Nollywood) in 2015 with a movie called “Williams Jewel”, that was the first time I acted with some top Actors and Actresses. My love for acting increased each day with strong passion. Though life wasn’t easy, full of ups and downs, I never gave up on that dream of becoming an actress. Today I have been featured in many Nollywood films such as Couples Trauma, Festival of Love, Jane Ordeal, Doses of Karma, Land of Gold, Crack, The Contest, Borrowed Success, Double Secret, Nghara Mara (Had I Known), Williams Jewel, Before the Sunset, amongst others. I have written and produced many films such as Behind My Tears, Married at First Sight, Gratitude, Negligence, Treasure What You Have, Double Secret, Reward of Hard Work, Guardian Sisters etc. The Journey has just begun, and there are many miles to attain, and by the grace of God, I shall get there. The sky is my starting point.

A-CHOICES: What do you remember the most about your first serious acting job? Was it nerve-wracking?

CHINENYE: I enjoy acting and have so much passion for it. So, I never had a nerve-wracking moment, not even the first time I stood before a camera.  Whenever I’m faced with a more demanding role, first I read the script and get myself in the character. Getting oneself into the character he or she will act is the major challenge in acting. You must get yourself into the character so that the acting will be real, and the message and lessons will be well understood by the audience. That helps me to deliver whatever script I am given.

A-CHOICES: Can you describe what influenced you to pursue a career as an actress? 

CHINENYE: I will say that this passion for acting is inbuilt and natural. When I was in the High School, whenever one asked me what I wanted to be in the future, I would say that I wanted to be an ACTRESS. As of then, we didn’t even have a television in our house, I saw films only when we visited a neighbour or family member that had a Television. Yet, the passion of becoming an actress was so strong, that was the only thing I thought of becoming. My mother would usually tell me to pick a more professional career like a Doctor or Teacher, but I would say the only thing I wanted to do was acting. I studied Guidance and Counselling at the University to become a Counsellor, but after school, I left it to go back to acting.

A-CHOICES: How would you describe acting and what do you enjoy most about acting? 

CHINENYE:  I would describe Acting to be an act of performance by which we use movement, gesture, and emotions to realize a fictional character and pass a message or lessons to society. What I enjoy most about Acting is being able to be who you are not in real life. Acting will help you to uncover that part of you that you didn’t realize you had. Another thing I like about Acting is the ability to touch lives through acting. A lot is told, and a lot is learnt through acting. Through acting I visit places I never thought of visiting ordinarily. Filmmaking takes me out of my comfort zone to other states and countries, and I enjoy it so much because I love adventure.

A-CHOICES: What is the most memorable screen character you have played?

CHINENYE: The Memorable screen character I’ve played Sasha on the set of Gratitude, a movie produced by me, which is showing on MOBIN TV on the YouTube channel. Sasha is a teenager who has rich parents. She lacks nothing, her parents provide her with everything she needs, but she lacks gratitude and has no contentment. Her parents made her work in a restaurant that feeds the poor and homeless, just to make her see the need to appreciate what she has and to learn patience and contentment. The film has a good lesson. It was fun having the feeling of being a teenager once again, so it was quite memorable for me.

A-CHOICES: Looking back, what has been the greatest challenge in your career so far?

CHINENYE: In my humble opinion, the movie Industry is a tough one, only tougher people succeed. Well, every profession has its challenges, my biggest challenge when I started acting was to work myself up the Ladder to become a Star in Nollywood. Most times producers prefer popular faces (Actors /Actresses) to talented actors/actresses. So, it’s a challenge to those of us who were not so quite popular then. As a Producer the challenge is usually the Finance, Support, and Collaboration of producing quality films that are of Cinema standard, and the TV stations or Channels that know the worth of the Film and can buy it.

A-CHOICES: What do you want from a director during a production? 

CHINENYE: I love working with a Director who loves his work understands the job so well, and can guide me towards achieving a good result because filmmaking is a teamwork. I like working with Directors who are patient and understanding because acting requires A LOT of Patience and understanding. 

A-CHOICES: Is there a film director with whom you felt the most at ease?

CHINENYE: Yes

A-CHOICES: Nollywood is top 3 in the world. Hollywood, Bollywood, and Nollywood. How does it feel to be a member of this elite club? 

CHINENYE: I feel honoured and glad to be a member of Nollywood. I see it as an opportunity to touch lives through drama, and to make an impact in society. It requires a lot of hard work to be there. It’s indeed an achievement to be a member of Nollywood, it’s not easy to be up there and still maintain being up there. A lot of people look up to you, and automatically you will become a role model to so many people. 

A-CHOICES: Do you think Nigerian producers should release the DVD of their movies after it stop showing in cinemas?

CHINENYE: Well, people don’t care about DVDs anymore. All we need is a click away from our fingertip which is our Mobile Phones. If a Producer realises the money, he/she spent producing a film and also makes some profit, it will be good to let the public have a glimpse of the film either by uploading it to a YouTube channel or by selling it to TV stations where it can be seen by everyone who cares to watch. 

A-CHOICES: Do you have a mentor or role model who is helping you along the way in your acting career? 

CHINENYE: I don’t have a mentor. I don’t have a role model. I am self-motivated. I am my role model. I’m constantly building myself, trying to be better than who I was yesterday.

However, I have a producer who I love and respect so well due to what she does, which is recognising and valuing talents instead of looking for already made famous faces to sell her films, I feel like, if other producers can do what she is doing, the industry will be more valued and celebrated. Her name is Ruth Kadiri, she is known for picking up young and upcoming actors and actresses and giving them a platform to showcase their talents and be among the top actors and actresses in Nollywood.

A-CHOICES: Would you encourage your children to go into acting?

CHINENYE: Yes. Any of my children who have the talent and passion will be allowed. My daughter is already acting. She started at the age of 6 months and has been featured in different films as a baby Actress such as in Jane Ordeal, and Doses of Karma amongst others. 

A-CHOICES: Do you get recognised much in public and what sort of reaction do you normally get from people? 

CHINENYE: Yes. Most times when people see me in public they stare at me, wondering where they know me from. Some of them usually find the courage to approach me to ask if I’m an actress as my face seems familiar from their TV screens. Some of them usually come to ask for a photograph with me. 

A-CHOICES: You are also a Law Office Manager and Legal Assistant, tell me more about it.

CHINENYE: Okay. My husband is a highly experienced Barrister and Solicitor with PhD in Law. He practises in both the UK and Nigeria. When it became a challenge to manage his Law Chambers in Nigeria, he trained me in Paralegal Studies and Law Office Management. I am trained in all aspects of law practice, both civil and criminal law. The difference is that I am not called to Bar.

A-CHOICES: Tell our readers more about the EVERGLOW foundation. 

CHINENYE: Everglow Foundation is an NGO established by me. I established this foundation so I can help the needy and less privileged ones in society. I grew up from a poor home and know exactly what it feels like to be on the street, and that is why I want to help the people on the street. The major objectives of my Foundation are:

  1. Padding up the Girl child (distribution of sanitary pads to Females in Prisons and Girls in Schools)
  2. Free medical treatment and Scholarship (Visitation to the hospitals to contribute in paying the bills of the vulnerable people among them, and also supporting their Education with a scholarship)
  3. Hospitality (Donating Foodstuffs to the poor)
  4. Skill acquisition (supporting our youths to learn skills, be established, and be useful to themselves and to society) 

A-CHOICES: The most significant thing that you learned about yourself by working as an actress? 

CHINENYE: I’ve learnt patience, persistence, and consistency. At the beginning of my career, I would be called to a movie location, and on getting to the location they would be focusing on the star actors, and then I would be made to sit and wait the whole day without shooting anything. At the end of the day, I would go home without doing anything and still would come back the following day. I’ve been to a Movie set where I spent two days without shooting anything, and then on the third day, I was asked to do just one scene. In the three days wasted, I just acted in one scene. And at the end of this whole thing, I would not be paid, not even a transport fare. Sometimes I went for a job for 3 or 4 days and would still not be paid. And you can’t complain to avoid being blacklisted. I didn’t let all these encounters discourage me, I knew where I was headed, I applied patience, persistence, and consistency, and by the grace of God, I’m no longer in that same spot. 

A-CHOICES: How do you balance marriage and life in such a hectic industry?

CHINENYE: It’s not easy to be an actress, a mother, and a combination of it all. Sometimes I take a break and do not accept any job. Whenever it’s not convenient I don’t take up a new job. I make time to be with my family. 

A-CHOICES: What are your favourite beauty products? 

CHINENYE: I use different beauty products. I use what works for me.

I use Elaimel beauty products, Carebeau products, and Nivea products.

For my face care, I use products from Premier Cosmetics and Disaar beauty skincare.

For my hair, I use TCB Naturals, ORS Olive, and Mega growth kits.

For my makeup, I use MAC products or LB beauty products

Sometimes I use some good beauty products irrespective of the brand. Beauty product is not about the brand, it’s about what works for you. At times I use big brands and end up getting acne on my face. Everyone’s body type differs, what works for A may not work for B.

A-CHOICES: Who are your favourite fashion designers? 

CHINENYE: I love fashion designers both Nationally and Internationally. We have nice fashion designers in Nigeria, and I love what they are doing with the fashion industry. Designers like Tiana Empire, Stitches by Aisy, Medlin Couture Collection and others. Internationally I love Giorgio Armani, Stella McCartney, Christian Dior and Tom ford.

A-CHOICES: What would you say are your major achievements? 

CHINENYE: There are still many things to be achieved, but in the meantime my major achievements are the establishment of a Foundation (Everglow Foundation) to help the poor and vulnerable ones in society; becoming a Licensed Film Producer; Having the opportunity to produce my own films and to produce films for others. The journey to become a Registered Film Producer is not an easy journey. 

A-CHOICES: For what in your life do you feel most grateful? 

CHINENYE: I’m grateful to God for everything. My life, my family, the air I breathe, my success, and even my failures, because it is in failing, we learn our lessons and get back up. 

A-CHOICES: The piece of advice that has become your mantra?

CHINENYE: Slow and Steady win the race. Consistency is the secret to long term success. No retreat, no surrender. Live and let others live. God over everything. 

A-CHOICES: The best advice for up-and-coming artists?

CHINENYE: If you’re an upcoming artist there are few things to have in mind. 

  1. Be sure to have an unwavering passion for acting.
  2. Be ready to accept corrections, and the challenges that come with acting.
  3. Learn to mind your business and focus on your dream.
  4. Constantly work to improve yourself. 
  5. Don’t expect too much from people in the industry. Film making is not a business of knowing Producers and Directors. It is a matter of demonstrating zeal, talent and hard work.
  6. Learn Patience, Perseverance, and Consistency. 

A-CHOICES: What are you currently working on or have coming up?
CHINENYE: Currently I’m working on releasing my Films of which some are in series. They can be seen on my YouTube channel at MOBIN TV.

Author: Gbenga Teejay Okunlola

London, UK

teejayok@gmail.com

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