Chidi Ihezie-Okafor is a fulfilled actress, having realised her age long dream of a strong presence in the Nigerian home video industry. Screen acting, which she saw as a childhood fantasy, has turned out for her, a profession.
Okafor, who has starred in popular movies, like Billionaires’ Club, Violent Clash, Authority, among others, believes that the industry is a market place of opportunities for talented Nigerians.
A graduate of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Chidi started acting in 1993 shortly before the release of the chart buster, Living in Bondage; the film which she confessed, inspired her into acting.
I started acting in 1993. That was the time I was about to gain admission into institution of higher learning, but my parents refused. They advised me to be patient and make sure that I completed my education before I chose a profession. As God would have it, I went back to school and in the course of my studies, I featured in a film entitled Dilemma. However, I came into full time acting in 2000 after completing my national youth service.
Before I started, I loved watching television programmes. By 9pm, my dad would tell you that he would not want anybody to disturb him during the network news. So, at a point, I became interested in the news. At a point, I told my dad that I would like to be one of those broadcasters so that he too could watch me as well. I started my career in broadcasting by opting for Mass Communication. As God would have it, when Living in Bondage was released, I was actually inspired by one of the major actresses, Merith and I promised that I’ll be an actresses someday.
I had my break into the motion picture industry when I acted in the movie entitled Authority, in which I was a sub-lead. After that experience, producers realised that I have the potentials and that I could do more. So, they started offering me jobs. But the role that really brought me out was the one I played in Billionaires’ Club. It was full of challenges and it made me who I am today. Others movies that brought me to limelight included My in-law and I am in Love.
Realizing my roles
One thing about the industry is that if you start playing a particular role convincingly, people will continue to invite you to that particular role. Since I began with a weeping role in Authority, people have been giving me roles that have to do with weeping.
The industry is very competitive and there are challenges one would face. Being able to play any role and work with people I have not worked with before is challenging enough.
Relationship with directors
As far as this job is concerned, with all respect, the directors were the ones that made me what I am today. The relationship has been good. I want the relationship to flow so that he could invite me for more jobs.
I don’t have anybody to look up to except God. As far as the industry is concerned, every actor is a star on his own right. I am not looking up to anybody, I do things the best way I think it should be done. I admire someone like Joke Silva. I like her carriage and courage.
My happiest day was December, 28, 2003. That was the day I had my traditional wedding. I prayed for something good and God gave me the best. I have been happy since that time like a newborn baby.
I am a very simple girl. The simplicity in me attracts people to me. At times, I displease myself to please others in order to allow peace reign. I like interacting with people, especially those I’ve not met before.
The industry is growing by the special grace of God. Gone are the days when working in NNPC was the in-thing. I can recall that when someone proposed to you, your people would ask you if your suitor was a staff in NNPC. Today, film actors are the hot cakes. I thank God that the film industry is growing within the country and internationally. Nowadays, we travel London, South Africa, Ghana and Cameroon to shoot films. My advice is that the industry cannot achieve anything except God comes in and I believe that God is with us.
I want to continue acting and please God and my fans.