By Christian Agadibe
Veteran actress, Eucharia Anunobi assumed that the world would be at her feet growing up in a wealthy family. But she was mistaking. Life taught her a different lesson.
With passion to succeed, the Imo State-born actress never threw in the towel. She forged ahead through modelling and saw her way through. In this exclusive interview with Entertainer, Anunobi opens up on her life as an evangelist and actor.
What has been your experience since you lost your father?
My father died last year. My father’s memorial is in August. When I went to see my father in the mortuary, I saw one of the wonders of God. His beards were still growing. I was like ‘excuse me, you mean that hair doesn’t die?’ That was amazing! The hairs on my father’s head were still growing and they needed to be shaved before the final dressing and lay to rest. We are wonderful creatures.
How do you combine acting and being born again?
Do you know when I started ministering? By the grace of God, I gave my life to God on March 17, 1997, at Holy Ghost Power Ministry Church, Adeniyi Jones, Lagos. The pastor of the church then was Pastor Emma Obasi who is still a father of faith to me. March 17, 2017 will make it 20 years I have been with God. While you are seeing me as a movie legend, all the years you have been seeing ‘act all the actable’. I am still acting because I have not left my talent. This is my own definition of being born again. Born again means you have realised and discovered that you were living a life of sin, but now, you want to live a life that would please God.
As a born again, how do your colleagues relate with you?
I remember years ago when I gave my life to God, my colleagues were laughing at me. ‘Your mates are busy doing aristo, your mates are busy seeing governors, your mates are busy going to the clubs in Victoria Island, Ikeja, and everywhere, you sey na church you wan go’. They used to say that ‘something is wrong with Eucharia’. ‘Can you imagine with all her degrees, and doctorate in waiting, na to go church?’ But today, by the grace of God, where I sit they can’t sit; where I go they can’t go. I sit with governors and presidents not for aristo, and not for someone to take me to a corner of a room to sleep with me. I am not among the superstars they would say, ‘that one get good shape, go corner her for hotel for me’ and they come and meet you only in the night. They don’t need to take me to any corner of the room through Personal Assistant. They call me to the lobby of the governor or president’s chapel to pray and declare the word of God Almighty. And when I am done, they shake my hands and say, ‘lay hands on me’.
Tell us something about Eucharia that the people don’t know.
I paid my way through university. I came from a privileged home. I no be ajepako, I be ajebota (butter girl). My family house was at 5, Musa Yar`adua Street, Victoria Island (in Lagos). I went to St. George’s Primary School, the one at Falomo in Lagos and Army Chidren’s School, Guardian Barrack. I had ‘A’ in most of my subjects in secondary school. The next thing, I supposed to enter university, but my father called the whole family because I am the first-born and says, ‘I don’t have interest in training a girl further after secondary school’. My own father, Chief Ejike Emekache Ezenwa Anunobi, said that! He said he would train only the boys. So, after leaving secondary school with brilliant results, my father said ‘no!’ With all the money wey he get. We get two cars that time, to tell you how rich we were. We dey live for flat with Oyibo people around. Yet, my father abandoned me in the middle of the way. That was how, on my own at age 16, I started to fight for my destiny. But then, good friends helped me.
What kept you going and how did you pull through?
The bible says, ‘show me your friend and I will tell you who you are’. My good friend, Peter Ononiwu knew me back then. He saw my tears as I was crying. He said ‘do you know that you are a very beautiful girl with a fine shape? ‘You can start modelling’. It was Peter that introduced me to modelling. That was how I started modelling. Modelling has gone down; it was at that time that modelling was on. There was no modelling show they did that I was not on the front burner. It was then I discovered that God gave me a good shape. It was then I discovered I had a unique face. You know, people call me ‘the ancient lady’, ‘Philippians lady’ or ‘Chinese lady’ because of my face and small eyes and because I have unique features. So, when any fashion designer saw me, he or she would pick me because of God’s glory upon my life, and because I started seeking God early. It was the denouncement of my father that, he’s not going to send me or any other girl to university or higher institution that made me seek God early. After that, I started modelling. But I was determined in myself that, if my father said a girl can be nothing, then I would prove him wrong. I said to myself ‘I am not a mistake of creation’. ‘There is a reason God made me a female’.
I used to hear him telling some of his friends that Eucharia is too brilliant to be a girl; she should have been a boy. And I would say to myself ‘na me come make myself boy? Why would he be saying that I should have been a boy? On my own, I said a girl must be something and I started digging the bible. By the grace of God, I fought for myself. I paid for my JAMB and then passed. I went to University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and in those four years, I paid my school fees by myself. There is a reason why you are depressed, because if I am not denied of the blessing, I won’t be who I am today. There is a reason my father turned his back on me, because if maybe he left me in the comfort zone or comfort home, I wouldn’t be able to discover who I am.
As an evangelist, do you still accept scripts like Ashawo (Prostitute)?
If they give me the one of Ashawo, I will do. But then, I’m not going to smoke, because I don’t smoke in real life, and I’m not going to drink. I can simulate, for instance, like in drinking, but then, I might not wear clothes that will reveal parts of my body. There is one I did with Mama Patience, we went to rob a bank; there’s a film we went to rob a bank. We were carrying AK-47; the gun is heavy o! The title of the movie is Widow’s Gang.