Nkechi Chima Onyele, Abuja
With an undying passion for acting, Nkiruka Omeili did not think twice before dumping her degree in medicine for the klieg lights.
Popularly known as Kiki, the thespian caressed stardom when she played a remarkable role of Lovette in the television series, ‘Lekki Wives’. Kiki, who has garnered accolades in her stride, narrates her success story in the make belief world of movies. She also gives her impression about love and why she thinks it should be expressed beyond words, while equally revealing her kind of man among other interesting issues. Enjoy it:
Could you tell us about your early life?
I was born in Lagos. My parents are Charles and Maureen Omeili. I’m the second of four children. I’m a native of Nimo, Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State. My father was a General Manager at First Bank of Nigeria Plc. until his retirement some years ago, while my mother was Controller of Prisons, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State. I attended Fountain Nursery and Primary School, Surulere, Lagos before proceeding to Federal Government Girls College, Benin City, Edo State. Thereafter, I bagged a degree from College of medicine, University of Lagos.
What was your childhood like?
My father loves travelling. I have lots of experiences travelling both within and outside Nigeria with my parents. My travelling experiences as a child exposed me to a lot about life. In fact, travelling with my parents exposed me to different cultures, beliefs, languages and delicacies, which was an amazing experience.
How did your journey into acting begin?
My flare for arts started as a child while in primary and even secondary school, where I took part in stage plays. I continued acting in the university as a member of the drama club. While in University of Lagos, I took part in several plays and drama competitions.
In 2006, after graduating from College of Medicine, University of Lagos, I opted for acting since it’s where my destiny lies. Providentially, in 2011, I was auditioned and featured as Debbie in ‘Behind the Smiles’, a TV series. It was my first professional performance.
In 2012, I debuted in a feature film, ‘Married but Living Single’ where I played alongside Funke Akindele Bello, Joseph Benjamin, Femi Brainard and Joke Silva. Since then, I have acted in several television series including ‘The Valley Between’, ‘Nesrea Watch’, ‘Lekki Wives’ and ‘Gidi Culture’. In 2011, I hosted a dance reality TV show, ‘Dance 234’, a Konga Entertainment production. I also anchored the health segment of ‘Balancing Life’, a Saturday morning radio show on Smooth FM.
Aside doing voice-over projects for top brands like LG and MTN, in 2016, I starred in ‘Couples of Days’, in which I depicted the character of Joke. In May of the same year, ‘Iterum’, a short film directed by Stanlee Ohikhuare, starring Paul Utomi and I was premiered at the 69th Cannes Film Festival.
Have you produced any movie of your own?
Actually, on May 31, 2016, I made my debut as a producer with a short film, ‘Unprotected’. It was a true-life experience I observed as a medical student in the university. However, in the movie, I played the lead character alongside Eric Didie, Bimbo Ademoye, Blessing Ambrose and Nathan Kingsley.
How did you find your feet in the movie industry?
Honestly, it wasn’t easy, particularly with my medical background; some filmmakers were reluctant to cast me for roles. Interestingly, God made all things beautiful in His own way. With prayers, hard work, dedication and perseverance, I have carved a place for myself in the motion pictures industry.
How did your parents react to your becoming an actress?
My parents have been very supportive of my decision to be an actress. They gave me their consents since they’re convinced it’s a passion I needed to discover to actualise my destiny.
Who is your role model in the industry?
Veteran actress, Joke Silva is my admirable thespian. She has remained relevant since the inception of her career without being inundated with scandals, and this is awesome.
Which movie actually brought you into limelight?
‘Lekki Wives’ was the flick that particular gave me recognition as an actress.
Do you have any godfather who helped you climb the ladder of success?
(Laughter) Honestly, I don’t know what that means! God has been my pillar of success. In addition, hard work is the root of my success story, and thanks to everyone who believes in my abilities and appreciates my works.
How creative are you when it involves style?
I adore playing with colours on my outfits, with accessories and matching hairdos. As you can see I’m rocking my natural hair without blemish.
What does style mean to you?
Style is an expression of yourself through the things you wear. So, style is comfort for me.
Are you a fashion freak?
I appreciate good look, but I wouldn’t call myself a freak.
Let’s have a clue about the lucky man in your life.
Honestly, I don’t want to talk about my relationship or love life on the pages of newspapers, because it’s my private life and I would prefer it remains sacred.
How would you describe your kind of man?
I respect confident, God fearing, hardworking and intellectually independent man.
Have you found him or you are still searching?
I am not searching but hopefully, he will find me.
As a pretty lady, how do you handle male advances?
Every beautiful creature of God will always be admired. But the ability to live a decent and God-fearing life depends on the ways you handle your admirers. So, I handle men politely, with respect and sensitivity.
What is your definition of love?
Love is very difficult to define with words; but it is a feeling that is best experienced and recognised as love when it is felt.
Who is the love of your life?
I wouldn’t like to make any comment on my love life and I will appreciate it remains private.
Would you say you are fulfilled as an actress?
Definitely, I’m fulfilled doing what I love to do. However, passion has been my driving force.
Could you share the craziest role you ever depicted?
It’s in the movie ‘Sting’ directed by Stanley Ohikhuare, where I was rolling around in a pit with sand on my hair and over my body. And I had to cry helplessly, because I was gagged, which was a tasking role for me.
What are your career prospects?
Definitely, I look forward to be an internationally acclaimed actress, by the grace of God.
How do you think you can make a change in the movie industry?
Hopefully, I will be working on a movie that focuses on creating awareness on health, using it as a platform to educate and entertain viewers on the necessity of living a healthy life.
Any plan of going back to medical practice?
All options are open like I always say, but I actively practice health advocacy and promote health awareness.
How would you advise aspiring actresses, especially young ladies on the best way to success?
The road to success is not usually smooth; there are obstacles you may meet on your way. You need the grace, mercy, love and fear of God to climb the ladder of success. Again, you must embrace hard work and prayer, because nothing good comes easy.