Nollywood actress, Kiki Omieli, speaks on her transition from medical school to the klieg-lights, writes JAYNE AUGOYE writes
Fast-rising actress, Kiki Omeili, first caught the eyes of movie buffs with her sterling performance in the 2012 movie, Married but Living Single.
Playing the role of the hostile and scheming character-Titi Haastrup, in the film, alongside the likes of Funke Akindele and Joseph Benjamin, she earned rave reviews in major newspapers.
Beyond film acting, Omeili is a medical doctor by training. Naturally one would expect her background in medicine to fetch her lead roles in the movies without breaking a sweat. But she insists that this is not the case. “Many producers do not even know that I am a trained doctor when casting me in their movies. In fact, many of them get to know this aspect of my life by chance or mere coincidence,” she says.
Endowed with good looks and an excellent diction, Omeili is no stranger to the antics of the men folk, though it poses a huge challenge to many other actresses, irrespective of their social status.
She says, “It is not a new thing to me. It depends on the individual and how seriously he or she takes her craft. There is no profession you won’t encounter men’s antics. It happens even in medicine. Only that a woman should know to politely be herself.”
Comparing medicine and acting, she also notes, “Both professions require hardworking and dedicated people. People think the process of making a film is a piece of cake, they really don’t realise that it is serious business. It’s not easy. Two things that medicine taught me are discipline and hard work. Those values have been of immense help to me in the movie industry,” she says.
After she obtained a degree in medicine from the University of Lagos, Omeili could not suppress her yearning to be involved in the arts, especially drama.
Little wonder, she decided to delve into film acting immediately after completing the mandatory National Youth Service in Lagos State. She got first role in a movie when she was cast as a lead actress in the television drama series, Beyond the Smile, in 2011.
Although the actress says she has never had any cause to administer first aid to anyone on set, her background in medicine was useful, after all.
“People always seek my opinion on medical issues on set, whenever we are shooting scenes related to medicine. They keep asking me, ‘Kiki, is this the proper thing to do? Do doctors do it like this? Is this what normally happens?’ And I keep telling them that they have to pay a consultancy fee,” she says, laughing.
During the production of a yet-to-be-released horror film titled, Kpains, her skill as a doctor came quite handy once. “The actors were required to do some stunts and I was on standby in case anyone got hurt. Fortunately, that never happened,” she explains.
Within a short time of arriving in the highly competitive Nollywood, the Anambra State-born actress appears to have made quite an impression on some movie producers with her break-out role. The result has been a lot of roles and movie scripts.
She says her roles have been demanding and rewarding. “I’ve been involved in the popular TV series, Lekki Wives. The second season of the series actually debuts this month and the movie itself will be premiered in the United Kingdom soon. Then there is the horror thriller, Kpians and another movie titled Sting,” she notes.
Listening to Omeili speak passionately about her craft, one begins to wonder how she is able to combine acting with her work as a doctor.
However, she says that she loves the exhilarating feeling of fulfilment that comes with acting.
“What is most important to me is being able to do what I love best, getting paid for it and getting appreciated for it. In the beginning, acting wasn’t very rewarding. People always wanted to know what you had done and they would use it as the basis for negotiating your fees. But as you gradually build a fan base, they want to see more of you because they have seen and liked your work. I think the situation is a lot better now, in terms of remuneration” she says.
Interestingly Omeyi has not let her success and fame get into her head. Aside acting, she is involved in other things. “I do pro bono work and health advice in the media (radio and health articles in online blogs,” she says.
She believes strongly that there is no limit to knowledge acquisition.“I’ve attended a couple of workshops and training courses because I believe that as an actress, there is always room for improvement. I look forward to learning from veterans whenever I’m opportune to work with them,” she says.
When asked if she might consider picking up her stethoscope and return to the hospital ward in the future, she replies, “All options are open. Like I always say, anything is possible.”
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