Fast rising actress, Chizzy Alichi, tells Ademola Olonilua about her career and how she handles male advances
How did you get into the movies?
I have always wanted to be an actress. One day, I was passing by and I saw Actors Guild of Nigeria banner at New Berries Park, Enugu, I went in there and made some enquiries. The next day, I registered and started going for auditions. That was in November 2010. I got my first role the same day I went for an audition.
What was the title of the first movie you featured in?
A female friend informed me about the audition, so on getting there, they were almost rounding off. When I got there, the director called me and they auditioned and casted me immediately. Though I was so nervous because naturally I am a very shy person, I tried my best to perform well. They gave me the role principally because of my height. The title of the movie is Magic Money. I was paid N6,000. I acted alongside Mercy Johnson and Bob-Manuel Udokwu. I was so happy, nervous and excited.
What did you want to become while growing?
I have always wanted to be an actress. I used my lunch money to rent films and would stay hungry. I didn’t allow my shyness to hinder me. I was so determined that I even started working on myself like staying in front of a full length mirror to rehearse and also in front of my friends.
What was the experience like playing alongside such big names especially Mercy Johnson?
It was a dream come true; it was awesome. I was so nervous and also happy. I couldn’t sleep when I got home because I kept wondering that just after my first audition, I could be given a role after a week of registration. I really thanked God.
Are you still a shy person?
Yes and no. When it comes to the camera, I have built myself around it. I’m no longer shy because I love acting. I do it with passion. But when it comes to my personal life, I am still a very shy girl.
What is your New Year resolution?
Well, my New Year resolution is to be a better person and render more help to people and above all work very hard to be a better actress.
What are the challenges you have faced as an upcoming actress?
My main challenge has been my education. It is not easy to combine school and acting. Most times, when I have very important things to do in school I will forget about shooting for some time. I will be graduating this year by God’s grace and I will have all the time in the world to shoot movies. There hasn’t been any form of sexual harassment. I have never experienced it. School and time are basically the challenge.
Lagos is the entertainment headquarters of Nigeria. How has it been for you based in Enugu? How do you handle travelling to several places for shoot?
It has been good because I school here and most Nigerian movies are being shot in Enugu, Owerri and Asaba. But I will move to Lagos once I am done with school. That’s what I enjoy most. Travelling is one of my hobbies. It is fun, going to new places all the time, meeting new people and their way of life. There is always a story to tell.
How was your first kiss in the movie?
I have done many kissing scenes with different actors. My first was with Kenneth Okonkwo. It was awesome because I have always admired him; he is my favourite actor so doing the kissing scene with him was great and as a professional and nice guy that he is, he carried me along very well.
What is the most challenging role you have acted so far, what did you go through?
The most challenging role I have acted was the role of a wicked girl who later went blind. It was so challenging because I have a smiling face and I am always smiling. I am also a very quiet person. I had to come out of my shell to do the role. I had to frown a lot and shout at the top of my voice. Also, I had to research on how the visually impaired walk, look and behave in order to interpret the role very well.
How come you are studying Agricultural Engineering instead of Theatre Arts?
I was good in science subjects back in my secondary school days. But I have passion for acting. Not everybody that reads Theatre Arts are actors and actresses. It is all about passion and determination, although I will still further my education in that area.
How did your parents react to your acting?
My parents are very cool and supportive. They encourage me a lot. I am so grateful to them. Although my elder sister wanted to discourage me, they told her to allow me follow my dream. They are the best.
To rise fast, can you do a pornographic movie?
Never. I can do any role but I can never go nude or act pornographic film. I want to be a good role model and I will marry someday, give birth to kids. How would they feel to see their mother act such a role? My parents support me but not when it comes to pornography. I can dress very sexy, extremely sexy to shoot a movie but not nude or be a part of a pornographic movie.
How has it been getting ‘toasters’ as most men find it difficult to approach tall girls?
Actually, most men love tall girls and there are many toasters everywhere I go. Even mere seeing my picture or watching my movies, I get admirers. Most men whether short or tall like tall women. I have heard guys saying ‘she is very beautiful but she is tall’.
How often do you encounter male admirers and how do you handle them?
I encounter many on a daily basis unless I don’t go out. I decline politely because I am not a rude person and at the same time, I can’t accept them all.
With your height, are you a lover of heels? Do you wear them at all?
Yes I do. I bless God for my life and body. He did a wonderful work. I wouldn’t want to change anything on my body. I love me. I love heels but I am not a heel freak. I just have a few for shooting occasions. I love wearing them.
Do you get preferential treatment from school mates and lecturers because you act? How do they relate with you?
Yes. I get preferential treatment, in the bank, shopping malls and school. Most of my fellow students don’t object to my decisions and are always happy to help me with school stuffs. My department is somehow popular and respected because of my acting. At the same time, I can’t misbehave like cheating or have somebody writing quiz for me because I am known. I have to be present to do it myself most times.
Are you in a relationship?
Yes, I am and he is not a student.