After just a year in Nollywood, budding actress, Kiki Omeili of ‘Married But Living Singlefame, won the award for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role (English) at the 17th African Film Awards 2012, otherwise known as Afro Hollywood Awards. The event held in Akure, Ondo State, on Wednesday, October 10, and competing with her for the trophy were old hands like Nse Ikpe Etim and Oge Okoye. The doctor turned actress took YES International!’s GBENGA SHABA into her world…
Who is Kiki Omeili?
Kiki Omeili is a go getter, down to earth, easy going, warm and friendly. A native of Nimo in Anambra State; the second of four children of Charles and Maureen Omeili. An actress and TV presenter, a graduate of Medicine from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos.
Tell us how you ventured into Nollywood.
I was doing a 9a.m to 5p.m job and I kept having this nagging feeling to explore my passion, which is acting and television presenting. No matter what I did, the feeling wouldn’t let me go. So, I quit my job, and started attending auditions and the roles kept coming.
For a course you studied for about eight years, what could be your motive for quitting?
I wouldn’t say I quit. I’m still very much involved in Medicine. I run a radio health programme and I write health articles for online blogs and magazines. It was more like “this is what I have a flair for; it comes naturally to me and I’ll explore it”.
How has the experience been since you started?
It hasn’t been very easy, I must confess. It’s a very competitive industry and one has to be very humble and persistent to make any headway. But it has also been very rewarding in terms of getting that satisfaction that comes from doing what you genuinely love to do. And it helps when your work is acknowledged.
Tell us when you started acting professionally and how many movie you have featured in.
I started professionally a little over a year ago, and I’ve been in the feature film, Married But Living Single, the short film, A Mother’s Fight, produced by Uche Jombo and TV series, some of which are Behind The Smile, The Valley Between, Footprints, Gidi Culture and Lekki Wives, to name a few.
When you were starting out, what goal did you set for yourself?
I wanted to strive to set new standards in the industry. I wanted to change the mindset of people that actors are layabouts without any education. That’s the impression that people have about actors and people in entertainment generally and my goal is to change it.
How far have you gone in achieving this goal?
People generally raise an eyebrow when they hear that I’m a medical doctor who’s actually into entertainment. They sit up and take notice and are gradually beginning to realize that people in entertainment aren’t layabouts after all. So, I’ll say I’m getting there.
Tell us about your first day on a movie set.
I did audition and got a lead role in a series called Behind The Smile. I knew I would do well, but I thought it did be a very long day. So, as I did scene after scene, I kept waiting for the director to stop me and say “no”, do it like this or do it like that and it never happened. So, I thought to myself that I must be giving him what he wanted. That really made my confidence grow as an actress.
Your role in Married But Single won you an award as the Best Actress in Supporting Role. How does this make you feel?
Honestly, I have so much respect for Nse Ikpe Etim as an actress. I’m in awe of her talent. Being nominated in the same category as her was an honour. But to actually win! I’m short of words. It makes me feel appreciated and acknowledged. It’s a great feeling when people recognize and appreciate your work.
So, do you prefer being called an actress now to a doctor?
I don’t prefer any. I’m both really. Both professions are very much part of my life. So, whatever you call me, I’ll answer.
But looking at the two, which one would you say gives you more joy?
When I’m on a movie set, 24 hours can go by and I won’t even notice. I love and enjoy it that much. The saying that “do a job you love and you’ll never work for a day in your life” is so true. And on the other hand, I derive so much joy from helping people. So, it’s a tough call, really.
What would you say gave you an edge over notable and older actresses like Oge and Nse?
To be absolutely honest with you, I have no idea. You’ll have to ask the judges about that because they are both very fabulous actresses.
Sexual harassment is very common in Nollywood. Have you had any experience before?
I am always happy to say that it has never been my personal experience, though I do hear such stories quite often. Luckily for me though, I’ve never been a victim.
What would you say is your unique selling point?
I don’t think there’s another medical doctor who’s acting…yet. So, that would be it. (Laughs). Seriously though, it’s my ability to assimilate and deliver lines believably.
What is it that most people don’t know about you?
God is the centre of my life. I put Him first in whatever I do. Also in secondary school, I was a Literature in English prize winner. That should have been my sign to study Theatre Arts, but I studied Medicine instead! Two totally different things, I know.
You are smart, intelligent, successful and beautiful yet still single. Have you been considering settling down?
Hmmmm! Let’s leave marriage talk for now, please.
Are you afraid of marriage?
That question is still part of marriage talk! Please, let us leave that side.
Do you have any role model in Nollywood?
In terms of acting, I have said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m totally in awe of Nse Ikpe Etim’s talent.
What do you like most about being an actress and what has acting done for you?
Being an actress allows me to be a completely different character. To do things I would never normally do. It allows me to become a different person, feel what the character is feeling and think the way the character thinks. Acting has given me joy, fulfilment and now recognition.
What has acting not done for you?
What has acting not done? I act solely because it’s my passion and I get job satisfaction from doing that. So, I can’t say that there’s anything that I wanted it to do that it hasn’t done.
You always dazzle on the screen. Tell us about your beauty routine?
My beauty routine is to make sure I cleanse my face at night with a good cleanser and apply moisturisers. No matter how tired I am, I never go to sleep with make up on.
Where do you see yourself in the next three years considering what you have achieved within a year?
In three years, I see myself setting new standards in the industry, featuring in more quality productions, both locally and internationally.