ENTERTAINMENT · GOSSIP & GIST · LIFESTYLE

My ‘romance’ with a python – Chika Ike

By Ishola Balogun

My ‘romance’ with a python
– A RECAP OF A LONGTIME INTERESTING STORY FROM THE ENTERTAINMENT WORLD!

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UN Ambassador and Nollywood actress, Chika Ike
knows her onions when it comes to interpreting
her roles in movies as well as engaging in buying
and selling. Having featured in several movies
since debuting in the industry nearly a decade ago,
her dexterity in the interpretation of roles has
endeared her to most movie directors.

Recently, the 27 year-old actress showed her stuff
in a multi-million naira flick, ‘A Minute Silence’,
where she was meant to pose for a shot with a
live python. In this encounter, she recounts the
horrible experience and explains why she prefers to
keep her private life out of her acting career.

You are already a brand after putting in nearly ten
years in the industry. What is your staying power?
I can only attribute my success to God because
without Him, I’m a nobody. I’m also a sucker for
hard work. I believe that in whatever you do,
you’ve got to put in your best in it.

In a highly competitive industry with multi-talented
actors and actresses, it is not easy. But I give God
the glory, I’m a very spiritual person. Without God,
I can’t really do anything. I grew up under the
influence of my parents who inculcated the values
of discipline, hard work and tolerance in their
children.

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Would you ascribe your success in the industry to
your excellent interpretation of roles and
professionalism?
Yes, that is what I actually mean by hard work.

You have to be very professional in whatever you
are doing in order to achieve success.
So, it is a combination of spiritualism, favour of
God, hard work and professionalism.

What frightening experience have you had in the
course of your acting career?
Basically, every job has its own hazards. Acting
also has its own challenges too. I have had a lot
of experiences. As an actress, you have to be at
different locations. I shot a film recently that I was
in the forest for seven days.

You know, the sight of
reptiles and animals can be very frightening.
There could be scorpions, monkeys and other
dangerous animals hidden in the bush but as an
actress, you’ve got to put that behind you and do
the job. I just finished a movie recently where I
had to pose with a live python. It was the most
frightening role I have ever played in recent times.

Carrying a python that can turn against you at
any moment can be very frightening.

*Chika Ike
What was going through your mind when you were
carrying the python?

A lot of things went through my mind. I felt
anything could happen because animals are not
easy to control. You can only try your best,
human being sometimes might not be able to
control wild animals. I felt the python was going to
turn against me. Even when a colleague was
encouraging me to carry the snake,I was praying
it didn’t to attack me.

It was frightening; very scary. It took me a while
before I could carry it. People were like telling me
not to be scared. I was like running away but they
kept telling me Chika, No! No, it won’t attack you.

Later, I agreed to carry it with one hand but the
director insisted I must hang it around my neck. I
screamed and screamed , but I finally did it.
It means you can do anything for money?
No, I will never kill for money.

What if you have a Hollywood script that you’ve
got to act nude for a whooping sum of money?
I will not take the job.

A big sum of money in dollars sometimes is
irresistible?
Honestly, I won’t do it. I will not go naked for any
movie.

A lot of rumours are making the rounds about your
crashed marriage, could you please put the
records straight?
You see, human beings are terrible, but the issue
is that as long as you are breathing, people will
continue to talk about you. Even if you are dead,
people will still talk about you whether positively
or negatively. Rumours will always come up,
especially when one is in the limelight. So, let
them continue to talk about me, I don’t want to
talk about it.

But that will not help the situation either; is it not
better to put the records straight, or you have
decided to move on without a man in your life?
Basically, it is my private life and I don’t want to
talk about it. I think private matters are handled
privately. So, issues about marriages,
relationships, friendships are personal, people are
entitled to handle their own issues their own way.
So, I like to keep my private life private.

Your birthday is around the corner.What are the
arrangements?

I’m going to celebrate my birthday in Enugu this
weekend. I will be giving out a discount of 50% to
all the customers of Fancy Nancy shops. And they
will also get a Fancy Nancy free bag. The party
will hold at Peekay Gardens, Enugu.

Apart from that, I’m planning to embark on a
vacation. I have not had a rest this year. So, in
December, I will be going on vacation and I’d be
planing to travel to some countries. That will also
serve as a birthday treat for myself. It is going to
be a round trip to Paris, London and Dubai.

Apart from acting, what other things do you do?
I have a foundation called Chika Ike Foundation
which is geared towards helping children on the
streets, giving them hope and encouraging them
to become better persons in future.
I launched it
officially in May 27, this year, where we organised
a party for over 3,000 children in Lagos.

The party was themed “Educate a Child” and we
gave out over 3000 Customized CIF (Chika Ike
Foundation) school bags containing school
materials, T-shirts, lunchboxes, note books and
snacks. It was held at the Light Chapel playing
ground.
It was a fun galore. I visited public schools in
Enugu and Delta States recently and I’m planing to
replicate the same in other states before the end of
this year. It has actually been taking my time, but I
love it because I’m passionate about it. Again, my
fashion business: Fancy Nancy Collections is
another area that takes my time. The Lagos branch
is going to be opened soon. So, it has been a
handful of activities for me.
What inspired you into setting up the foundation?

I grew up in a neighbourhood where people could
not afford the basic necessities of life. I saw my
mother helping them when they needed help. I
saw a lot of kids being exposed to violence, child
abuse, peer pressure. So I learnt from my
mother’s generosity to the kids and her gestures
towards caring for others. I was close to them and
I could feel their pain. Since then, I told myself, ‘if
I’m going to set up a foundation, it has to be one
that has to do with kids. That is my passion.

Some of your colleagues have taken the initiative
to premiere some movies. Are you thinking in
that direction?

Yeah! It is good to be ambitious, and anybody that
is ambitious will think of doing something special
and worthwhile in the industry. Of course, I give
them kudos for doing it and I’m assuring you that
mine will be out, hopefully very soon.
What are you doing right now then?

I’m currently shooting a movie in Enugu. We will
finish the production very soon. The movie is
entitled, Kleptomania. It’s about a girl that has a
sensation and spur to steal. This was actually
brought about by a curse by her old mother while
stealing her money to help her own boyfriend. The
old woman cursed her and she started stealing. At
a point in the movie and in the story line, she had
an accident and her legs were cut off. It was
physically challenging.

Are you the lead actress in the movie?
Yes I ‘m. I worked with Pete Edochie. It was a
beautiful storyline, with lovely casts.

How much did it cost?

I really don’t know, but I know it cost the
producers a lot of money. If you put all the casts
and cost together, it is huge. It is not easy getting
Uncle Pete Edochie and myself in a movie like that.

If you look back into your life, would you regret
any of your actions
I don’t really like looking back at life in such a way
because I see everything you do in life as a
learning process. I am not somebody that would
not try and later start skulking and wishing it had
never happened. Of course, I will feel bad, but I
don’t allow that to weigh me down. I just have to
move on and take it as one of the lessons in life.
That way, it makes you stronger.

I have heard people call you African Sweetheart,
why this name?

(Laughs) Of course I’m an African Sweetheart. I
don’t really know why they call me that but I
believe I am one. Every African woman should be
a sweetheart. But I gadly take the name. Come to
think of it, if you look at me, you’ll know that I am
a full blown African woman and I am proud about
that.

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