Earlier this week, Nollywood actress, Chizzy Alichi made headlines after she shared a moving story of how she built a house for her parents in the village.
Kemi Filani Blog reached out to her and we had quite an interesting conversation.
Exclusive excerpts below:
Can you tell us more about yourself?
My name is Chigozie Stephanie Alichi Aka Chizzy Alichi. I’m from Ezza Nkwubor, Nike, Enugu East Local Government of Enugu state. A Graduate of Agric Engr in ESUT.
When did you join the movie industry?
Way back in school, say 2011/12.
I have always had passion to act. I can spend my feeding money to rent and watch movies. So, when I finished secondary school in Nnewi, I came back to Enugu. Then one day, I was just passing along Ogui Junction in Enugu, when I saw one banner (actors guild of Nigeria office ). I went in to do enquiry and the next day, I came to register and started audition.
How was your first day on set?
Tensed, shy but I was determined and thanks to star actor on the set (Kenneth Okonkwo), he really carried me along.
Can you remember the name and how much you were paid then?
I can’t really remember the name but I was paid 6k(6000). I wasn’t concerned about the money but the fact that my dream was coming true. Ordinary me on a set with an icon Kenneth Okonkwo. I didn’t eat all day because I was fulfilled.
Were your parents fully in support of your chosen career?
Can you tell us more about what really inspired you to build such a befitting house for your parents?
I came from a poor family but I am determined to make it through hard work to make myself and my family proud. I didn’t want my background to discourage me. I didn’t like the way we always stay in Enugu town every Christmas while my friends will travel and come back to tell me how they enjoyed their holiday in the village.
Secondly, my dad have worked and saved all through his life to build a good house (that’s his life wish) and I am his favourite, so I was determined to make him happy and live longer.
So, I started saving. I had worked in Eastern Shop and Crunches Fast Food Enugu before joining the movie industry.
You had mentioned that you were called Mgbeke actress, why such the nickname?
Yes! because I was focused to make my self and my family proud like I said before. But my friends and other people don’t know what I was doing. They were expecting me to wear the latest shoes and bags and hair (not that it is bad) but I was determined and focused on a particular project.
First, I moved my parents from one room (public yard) to 3 bedroom flat in the heart of Enugu City, before building the village house but the people were laughing at me, their parents are still staying there. Some are still staying with their parents in that slump.
I read some comments on Instagram blogs, some were giving you kudos, while others were claiming you must have slept your way to achieve such.. What’s your reaction to that?
Well, I’m not surprised because we are in a country where most people believe no one can succeed legitimately. Those people will one day post their success story and shouldn’t be surprise if people talk negatively about them.
Did you at any time face sexual harassment in the industry?
No I didn’t. Nobody forces anybody, is a choice especially to desperate people and is everywhere. I was never a desperate person and I was also in school then, so I always go back to my studies if I don’t get a role.
How was your parents reactions when they saw the house?
They couldn’t contain their joy. They are the happiest people on earth as we speak. Some people respect them more now. And I didn’t tell them until I got to lintel level.
Don’t you think men would be scared to ask your hand in marriage after such huge accomplishment…?
I don’t think so. I didn’t do it all of a sudden. I had saved for it for a long time.
Are you currently in a serious relationship?
No still single but not searching though. I’m praying for an understanding person that will support my career so we can live in peace and have kids. I don’t want divorce.
What do you think is the major cause of celebrity divorce?
Mostly lack of understanding from what I have observed.
Aside an understanding man what else do you look out for in a potential husband?
Somebody I can call a friend and also very hard working.
Regardless of the height, bank account and tribe?
Yes! Regardless of height and tribe but no the bank account matters because I want a man that will be able to take good care of me while am also working to get my own money.
So, in essence you can’t marry a poor man?
The financial status doesn’t really matter but a hard working person. An average or poor man today can become the richest tomorrow if he is hard working.
Back in the days you were staying in the old house, especially the one room public house, can you recall one of the embarrassing moment you encountered?
It was more like a challenge because I couldn’t invite my friends over. People quarreling all the time, dragging space and all that. I remember one day, I was shooting in Asaba and somebody called me that my mother was having issue with another tenant to the point of almost fighting. I cried and prayed in my heart that God should help me move my parents out of there. I’m a very calm person, someone can step on me and I will let go but my mum doesn’t have that kind of patience and it breaks my heart to see her quarrel with other tenants (she is always right though). I actually starved and saved rent money to move them out of there. I’m a family girl, so I just like to carry my family along.
What are your plans for 2018?
To get to another level in my career and achieve more things.