PRINCESS CHINEKE: WHY SHE KEEPS COMING BACK TO NOLLYWOOD

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Long before people began to complement her pretty face and the fact that she had a body many men could die for, Nollywood actress, Princess Chineke, had adopted the attitudes of popular artistes from her teenage years. Oladipupo Awojobi engaged the young lady who had been going back and forth in the industry, but returned to pursue her passion, when she decided to take responsibility for her actions

Talented Nollywood actress, Princess Chineke is not only delectable; she evinces joy each time she speaks about the industry she is passionate about. The seasoned thespian revealed recently that she started showing traces of acting right from her secondary days and later metamorphosed into a professional actress several years later.

Princess, who hails from Imo State, is a Computer Science graduate of the University of Benin. According to the dashing actress, “I later went to do some training in the arts. I was at the training school of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and I have also done some business courses. My growing up was fantastic. I was a big fan of television and mimicked some artistes. My mother told me later in life that she knew I would eventually go into entertainment. I copied the attitudes of the popular artistes of the, behaving like a model. Most of my mates in secondary school are not surprised at what I am doing today. They saw the pointer, as I used to sing in my secondary school days, especially gospel songs.”

One would have expected that the seasoned actress would face some resistance from her family based on some negative insinuations about the industry, surprisingly, they were supportive and gave her the necessary motivation.
“My family members supported me all through. I remember, when I wanted to go into modeling, a lady just told me that she liked my smile, and she encouraged me to go into modeling. When I was still in secondary school, each time I went home on holidays, I always did one modeling job or the other.

“Also, when I got to the university, I took part in some beauty pageants, and I won some of them. However, my parents always told me to face my studies. After finishing university, I followed a friend for an audition. I thought it was a modeling job, when I got there, I discovered that it was for acting,” she stated with nostalgia, adding that this was how she started moving from one location to another.
Indeed the sky has been the limit for Princess as she has been part of several Nollywood box office films.

She told this reporter that she started with ‘Tarima,’ a television soap opera in 2007, which was her first job and the beginning of what she sees as a rewarding career.
“I later took part in another film, ‘Strong Men at Work.’ I did a couple of films after which I traveled to South Africa, where I got involved in some modeling jobs and I later went to Germany, London and the United States of America before I came back to Nigeria. I decided that it was better to continue acting,” she said.

Her other works include ‘Last Flight To Abuja,’ ‘Caught In The Middle,’ ‘Side Chics,’ ‘Give It Up,’ ‘Emerald,’ ‘Tomorrow In Now,’ Wale Adenuga Productions, ‘Afriwood,’ ‘Royal Maid,’ Ada Mbano,’ ‘Rainy Season,’ ‘Behind The Smile,’ ‘Everyday People’ amongst several others.
When probed about her experiences in the industry, the make-believe act replied that the industry is big, and that the first thing for anyone to note is that in any industry one finds himself, the person must be determined and have goals on how far he or she wants to go.

She said: “It is just like a river, the same water that can boil an egg is the same water that can still consume, so it depends on what you want out of the water. If you come into the industry and you are not focused, you will get lost, which is where your values come to play.

“You must know what you want to do. Some people could come in as costume persons and they would later say they could do more than that and go into production.”
Princess didn’t really start with acting, she tried her hands on some white collar jobs, and once worked as a sales executive for a magazine, and Lekki Gardens Limited before she capitulated and went back to what she regarded as her first love; acting.

There was no way the beautiful actress would not be questioned about sexual harassment in the industry, and her reaction was as straightforward as they come; “sexual harassment is everywhere, it is not just in the movie industry. If a marriage should break in the banking industry, even if it is up to 50, nobody would complain. But once there is one in Nollywood, people would talk about it.”

She maintained that sexual harassment is not a problem because, according to her, people see an actress on the screen and they want to judge and monitor what she does, and that “the good thing is that you still have to decide what you want. If someone harasses you, you can leave his film and go elsewhere. I have not actually been harassed sexually, not that people would not come to you for a date, one has a choice to say no,” she submitted.

One thing Princess was emphatic on is that kissing on set is not a problem. She also stressed her capacity to take on any role, no matter the challenge. However, she distanced herself from appearing naked, insisting that she could never act nude for a billion dollars.
The young lady had actually left the industry several times, but she always came back to pursue her passion.

“I have had some experiences on location. There was an occasion, when we went for audition for beauty pageant and some people, who were not at the audition came on board, contested and won. That was an embarrassing moment,” she said.

Princess would not tell anyone how much she earns now, but she readily revealed that her first fee for ‘Tamara,’ a television series was over N30,000 and that she was paid half of the money before she started. To her, the money was okay at the time, as she was a student. She added that they were on location for weeks then since it was a soap.
One experience the actress would not forget in a hurry was, when she went for the premier of ‘Last Flight To Abuja’ in London, a film produced by Obi Emelonye.

“They invited us to the stage one after the other and there were over 100 cameramen there with people hailing us all over the hall. I was taken aback as I wasn’t expecting it, it was a great feeling to be treated like that outside one’s country because we don’t even do that here. It was awesome.

“Moreso, there was a time we went to a location and we were trying to act a scene, where a guy would fall into a ditch and we would bring him out. We were trying to do this cleverly and we wanted to pull the guy out of the ditch, when suddenly we just heard a gunshot.
“That was somewhere in FESTAC Town, Lagos, we were all shocked, and when we looked round, we discovered that it was a security man that fired the shot. That incident made me reflect on the kind of risk we take in the industry.

“It was just God that saved us that night because that was enough for people to jump into the lagoon because the invaders could be armed robbers. You know we just go from one location to another and your loved ones may not even know where you are. I compared to the amount of money we earn to the risk on the job, it was so very lopsided.

“We are still here because of the passion we have for the job. I have done a bit of white collar jobs, but I know that this is where I belong. While I was working in other places, I knew that something was missing in me. I felt I needed to be here. I came back into the industry fully in 2015,” she said retrospectively.

Though the much sought after actress has not settled down with any man, she prefers a Godly man, who must be hard working, intelligent and goal-oriented.

She believes that Nollywood marriages don’t last because, as she said, some people just want to take advantage of the actresses without loving them from the heart.
Her opinion is that it is about knowing what the person wants, while adding that if someone sees a wealthy man, she should ask herself if she would continue to love the man, if the wealth is taken from him.

Her words: “If money finishes, will you still love the man? If the beauty is not there, will you still love the woman, when she grows older? I may be looking beautiful now, will I still look like this in the next 30 or 40 years. A lot of people have this challenge, it is not just actors. Most base their decisions on the moment, forgetting that people change.”
Apart from acting, Princess is involved in modeling and managing of models.

One thing she would not compromise is keep the company of lying man. Or one is not loyal and filled with pride. “I left a man because he told me lies, and he claimed what he was not. I want you to be the way you are no matter how it is. That is better than deceit,” she stressed. One area Princess would not touch with a long pole is marrying a polygamist as she said that everything is not about money. She declared that if she goes into it, her children would suffer, saying that they would only see their father once in a while as she said that he would have to go to his other wife or wives.

Nollywood, she enthused, is a huge industry, while revealing that each time she travels out of the country, people hail her, when they hear that she is a Nollywood actress.
“So, I wonder why our government is not doing much for us. They should invest in the industry. They can give us grants. Most times, people talk about Zee World, an Indian film channel on DSTV and someone told me recently that India is a poor country.

“They are doing well because their government supports them. I don’t believe in depending on just one thing. It is true we have oil, but we should develop other industries.
“The government can partner with producers to promote the industry. They once talked about a film village, but they are no longer talking about it,” she said.

On the monster called piracy, the actress enjoined the government to help the industry by putting things in place, and advised on adoption of stiff penalties and strict monitoring processes.

“They could employ people to work in a task force that could check piracy on a regular basis as they do with the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to control traffic in Lagos State,” she said.