After years of reigning as a beauty queen, Princess Chineke has moved a step further by becoming an actress and grooming models in her modeling agency, Beacon Models. The fair-complexioned actress has also upped her ante as she is on locations shooting movies. Apart from this, the graduate of New York Film Academy, who has featured in many movies and soap operas such as Ladies Cult, Tarima, Papa Ajasco, Bola’s Place, Echoes, Heroes and Zeroes, Rebound (shot in USA), Cut in the Middle,
Where the Heart Lies, Courtesy of Vengeance, and Prize of Stardom, is also preparing to organise a beauty pageant. In this interview with The Entertainer, Princess Chineke speaks about a wide range of issues including her NGO, movie career, modeling, and future plans. Excerpts. New role A lot has been happening to me. I now run a modeling agency, Beacon Models. Having being a model for a long time as well as a beauty queen, I think I have much experience to do that.
Although, it’s a bit new to me because all I have been doing in the past is to be in front of the camera but it is the management side of it that I am now focusing on. It has not been easy but we can do it. Beacon Models Beacon Models took off in October last year. It’s been wonderful because setting up a modeling agency is not really about the money but the passion.
Yes, being a beauty queen changed a whole lot about me and the feeling was good. I decided to assist the younger ones and give them the privilege because I have been there. But the sad aspect of it is that most youths are not really ready to work. Unlike those days, nobody will tell you to go to photo session. You take pictures almost every week because it’s pictures that speak for you. So, whenever I have a new hairdo, new clothes, or anything, I jump in front of the camera to take pictures.
These days, young models would tell you they took pictures three years ago. For crying out loud, you have changed, added weight, lost some, things have changed about you, and you still need to be coached? Nowadays, old models get more jobs than the new ones because the drive, the passion is still there. Movie career I have been shooting movies. I have done a couple of movies recently. I did Last Flight to Abuja; I just came back from the London premiere of the film. I also did Lady Gaga, Greatest Betrayal, Price of Stardom, and Adure, among others. I think Adure was challenging.
It was my first Igbo film. I speak Igbo but acting in Igbo is a different kettle of fish. I really couldn’t make a full sentence in Igbo without adding English. It was difficult and the director was telling us to use all these idiomatic expressions, which I haven’t heard in my life. It was made easier for me because I played the role of a student. I was asked to mix it a bit, not pure Igbo. It was hilarious as it was interesting. It is a movie to watch out for. Beauty pageant I’m actually working on a beauty pageant though we are seeking for sponsorship. We are trying to raise N15 million. I’m not organising it here in Lagos. You know what it means conveying people to some other states.
We need the government, corporate organisations and good spirited Nigerians to assist us in this project. We would be very strict in the selection, let the best win. I have lots of beautiful models and each time I ask them why they are not participating in any beauty pageant, they always say that the best never wins. Another thing that is unique about the pageant is that we have an NGO called, Voice, so we have an official duty already. Most people who win pageants always have one or two pet projects to do.
So, whoever emerges the winner of our pageant becomes an ambassador of the NGO, and that will keep that person busy. We actually want someone who, apart from being beautiful and confident, is fluent as well. Most of the time, when a queen’s reign ends, nobody hears about that person again. But in our case, even when your reign stops, you are still in the limelight. We would also have cooking competition. Some men complain that most models are not good cooks, they can’t do this, and they can’t do that.
We want that true African woman. Aside all those embellishment of sleekness, I am that ideal African woman at home. The age bracket for the pageant is between 18 and 25. Robbery After the robbery incident three years ago, the experience made me deeper and smarter. Every penny I work for now matters a lot because after the incident, I decided to set up my NGO and modeling outfit. Fifteen years from now, where will I be? I might still look good but I really might not be in front of the camera.
It is something I will always want to fall back to. It is not really easy finding people who have passion for what you do and are honest. It isn’t easy modeling, acting and doing charity. Going back to NYF Academy Yes, I will go back to New York Film Academy but that would be much later. My parents have been insisting that I should go and do my Masters and I am like, I studied Computer Science in school, I went to New York Film Academy, I did broadcasting in FRCN Training School, and I also did some business management courses.
I want to practice all the things I have learnt. Most Nigerians believe in certificates, and at the end of the day, they keep going up and down looking for jobs. To me, it’s crazy. You see a girl who is a hair stylist who goes for training. After training, she sets up her own business and becomes an entrepreneur. You see a carpenter who starts out something and he is out there doing his own thing. Why should graduates with First Class unable to find jobs or sort out something for themselves? It doesn’t make sense to me. Love life All my activities do not really affect my love life but the fact still remains that I would always want a man who would support my dream. A man who would see the best in me and push me to realise my dreams.
The best man is the man who can bring out the best in you. Till tomorrow, I admire the marriage of Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. She married as a teenager but her husband is one man I respect. He saw her dreams, got married to her irrespective of the children and everything, and still made her what she is. As far as I am concerned, that man is the bedrock of whatever she is today because he stood solidly behind her.
Some Nigerian men are not ready to do that and I mean it won’t be nice for a man to cut off all your dreams just because he wants to be with you. I think it is selfish.
A man should guide you in achieving your dream. I met a guy sometimes ago who insisted I leave the movie industry and work in the bank. It is selfish. Does he know if it is what I wanted to do? I see it as a prison. The woman too should be able to bring out the best in her man. My ideal man I’m not sure I’ve met my ideal man. You might think you have seen him and he changes. People change. Even the woman can change. I am still scrutinizing. Even if I’m engaged, as long as I’m not married, I’m still searching. On feminism I am not really a feminist. But I have a strong passion for the feminine gender.
I hate women being abused. Even, if I don’t have business with a guy, once I hear that he treats a woman badly, I automatically hate that person. For crying out loud, you have a sister, a mother, you shouldn’t treat the person like that. I believe a woman should be respected even if she is doing something wrong. Smart men know how to go about it. You should look for other ways to punish a woman, not hitting her. Abuse puts me off. A man has actually hit me but I made him regret his actions.
Women in politics The issue of women in politics is a welcome development and I hope to be there someday. I am someone who fights for what I believe in. I believe in the youths, especially women. If you would agree with me, Nigeria has not really given women the respect they deserve. I hate women being disrespectful. A woman should be respectful and submissive to her man but not when a woman is taken for granted. Nollywood has grown but not to the extent that people want. People always compare it to the American film industry. Hollywood is about 200 years old.
How old is Nigeria let alone Nollywood? With time, we will get there. In most of my trips to Germany, USA, and the UK, I saw lots of people wanting to come to Nigeria to partner with us. As you can see in the music industry, many American stars are coming here to partner. As long as I am concerned, we have done well but it is still a virgin ground for those in the Diaspora. One of my teachers at New York Film Academy said we can stay back and do Hollywood films but it would be easier to go to our different countries and make it out from there because it would be difficult to make it in the US.
They can only give you roles when they have these black African movies but how many times do they do such films? Even, if they want to do it, there are people they know and if they come down here, they would pick people who are at the top.
To reach her visit her website: www.PrincessChineke.com