Sunday 9 July 2017

I go to the gym to look hot and sexy! – comedienne Chigurl


Actress,Comedienne and singer Chigurl real names Chioma Omeruah  a recent chat with PUNCH shared on life,work,her recent projects,how she keeps fit and lots more..


How did you discover your passion for entertaining people?

I think I was born to entertain people. Ever since I was a child, I have always been good at mimicking people. I was the entertainer in my house ever since I was little and I think this is part of the reason I was put on earth; to make people happy. I love it and it also makes me feel good. I am like a doctor or drug peddler but the drug I peddle is joy.

How did your journey into the entertainment world begin?

I have always had a passion for all aspects of entertainment; singing, dancing and even comedy but on my scale of preference, comedy was last on the list. When I got back to Nigeria after spending about 12 years in America, Chigurl happened one day through a Blackberry voice note that was broadcast. That was how comedy took centre stage. I think God is using comedy to open the door for every other facet of my gift.

What influenced your decision to record that Blackberry voice note that launched you to stardom?

I could not sleep at about 2am on the day I recorded that joke with my funny Chigurl voice. I had always been doing the voice notes and sending them to my friends who would listen to them, laugh and delete them. But a particular friend of mine, Gloria, listened to it, laughed, and because she felt it was very funny, she sent it to her contacts who also shared it and that was how it went viral. Before I knew it, it got to my sister who lived in the US. When my sister heard it, she said that it sounded like me but she did not want to believe it because none of her family members sounded like a typical Igbo village girl. She called me eventually and when I told her it was me, we both had a good laugh.

More when you continue..

How did you discover that voice you often use during your comedy skits?

That voice, Chigurl, is only one of the eleven voices I have in my head. She is the one with the largest amount of  money, maybe because she is Igbo and she is the most popular one. There are a lot of people in my head but she is that one that I am using to ‘sell’ my market now.

You said you have eleven characters in your head, do they also have names?

The first one is Chigurl and she is the most popular, I have Modinat, who is a Yoruba girl. There is Bintu who is Hausa. I have Mrs. Padel who is Indian. I have American, British, and other characters.

With all these characters that you spontaneously and simultaneously portray, does Chioma have her own personality?

Chioma is a gospel and Jazz singer. She is an actress as well who infuses Chigurl’s character to her roles. Chioma is a serious minded linguist and all these characters come out of Chioma.

How would you describe your childhood especially with your father who was a military man?

My childhood was fun and I grew up in a semi-strict house. My father was the type that would tell you to come back home before the sun sets whenever I went out. People that knew my father would say that he was very diligent about his work. I think of all my siblings, I was the most unserious one. My father was a very funny man and my mother worked at NTA for over three decades. She worked behind the camera and she produced children shows. In retrospect, I think I took the entertainer stuff from there; it is an innate ability.

How did you cope with the loss of your father?

I was about 30 years old when my father died but I had just moved back to Nigeria. He had been asking me to come back to Nigeria  because we had plans of starting a business together but he died a month after I relocated. Funny enough, before my father died, he had the opportunity to pray for us. He said he was reading the Bible and when he got to the passage where Isaac blessed Esau and Jacob, he called all of us, asked us to kneel down and he prayed for us

What do you miss about him?

Whenever I think of him, I imagine how proud he would have been of me. This is not something he would think I should do, so most times I wonder how he would have reacted to my success but I am sure that he would be fine with my achievements.

At what point in your life did you travel to America?

I travelled when I was 18 years old to further my education. I attended a university there and I also worked as a French teacher for three years. I went back to the university to learn more languages and when my father called me, I came back to Nigeria.

How many languages can you speak?

I speak about five languages. I speak Igbo, Hausa, French, Spanish and English. I was born and bred in Lagos but my Yoruba is not fluent and this dazzles me.

Did you feel fulfilled when you were teaching?

Yes, I felt fulfilled because I loved teaching and I miss it. Teaching is one of the things that I love doing. I would love to go back to teaching.

You have a scar on your neck, what caused it?

I had a surgery not too long ago. I had a slip disc in my neck. This is the first time I am walking around without my braces.

How come you have a tribal mark on one cheek?

It is actually not a tribal mark but a scratch I got from my sister.

Does that mean that you were troublesome as a kid?

Not really but my sister and I fought a lot. It was during one of those fights that she scratched me and the scar never faded away. Anytime I am applying my make-up I see the mark and smile; that is why I cannot forget my sister.

You are a singer, actor and comedian; how do you make out time to rest?

I love everything that I do, so I am very relaxed whenever I am doing them. I am in my element on stage and I am a theatre buff. I love singing especially jazz and I enjoy going to jazz concerts. Sometime things could get overwhelming especially when you have performances without a break but doing these things actually makes me happy.

What do you do in order to get into character before a performance?

I love listening to music or watch YouTube but music is my major source of inspiration. I have a playlist of songs that helps to motivate me before a performance.

It is easy to assume you are an extrovert due to the nature of your job. Is that assumption right?

I don’t like going out but I am a people’s person. I can stay in my house for days without going out. I would just be indoors watching television. I prefer people coming to my house and I would be the life of the party. I don’t like going out to party or club. If I want to dance, I do that in my house.

So what is your definition of fun?

Fun for me is just chilling without working. Come to think of it, some of the best works I have done are the ones that I was not paid probably an event that was organised by a friend or family member. I just like being in places where I can play, relax and be myself.

How often do you go to the gym?

At a point, I used to go to the gym regularly and work out with a personal trainer but over the course of time, because of my health issues, I had to stop working out and I cannot go back to working out yet. I am trying my best to lose weight but to be honest, it is very difficult. Adding weight is not a problem but losing weight is the issue. I need to get well first before I can get back to the gym.

Why do you want to lose weight, are you not comfortable with your physique?

I am comfortable with the way I look but I want to be healthy. I was not working out with the aim that I wanted to be smaller or be a particular size. I am naturally chubby and that is fine but I work out because I want to be hot and sexy. I want to look trimmer but the main objective is to be healthy.

So you don’t think you are sexy?

I am very sexy and hot right now.

When growing up, were you ever pressured to reduce your size?

I lived in America for 12 years and I faced a lot of pressure and when I got back to Nigeria, the pressure was even more. There are so many slim ladies here. Also I got dissed a lot on the internet especially about my size but I always tell them that they are late. Nigerians are so unforgiving and they are probably the best at insulting people in the world. It is our talent.

How do you handle such negative comments about your size?

To be honest, those insults actually get to me. What I have been doing lately is that when people insult me, I reply them without being rude. I try to stay away from insensitive people and whenever they make comments that I cannot ignore, I address it without being abusive with my words. Some people say that I am giving them five minutes of fame but I don’t think it makes sense to take time to look at my social media page, look at my picture, then make a negative comment. I don’t really like to block or delete people’s contact but I have blocked about two people in the past three weeks. I would not lie, there shall be more people I would block but I try not to resort to that. Some people actually apologise when they realise that they have been insensitive. However, there are some other people who believe insulting me would give them their five minutes of fame. I oblige them but I address the matter without being abusive.

So what do you do to keep fit since you cannot work out at the moment?

I am trying to diet but it is not easy especially if you are used to a particular eating pattern. People who are fit can easily tell you that you can do it but it is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes I don’t pull through with my diet because it is difficult to keep up. I could get home by 10pm hungry and the next thing I think of is noodles. I just need to train myself. I was talking to my pastor recently and he told me to stop eating in the night.

Do you have a favourite meal?

To be honest I do not have a particular food I like. I eat everything, be it local or international cuisine. I am a foodie.

You recently opened up on your failed marriage, how come it took you this long to voice out?

For legal reasons, I cannot address that issue.

Are you open to love?

There is a sign on my head that says, ‘Chigurl is open to love,’ or do you want me to make a t-shirt with the inscription? Please if you have the love, bring it and I will collect it.

What are you looking for in a man?

At the end of the day, I just want someone to complement what I have. I don’t want someone that completes me because I am already complete. I want someone who makes me feel that I am at my best even when I know I am not.

Are you open to hooking up with a man via social media?

Some people have relationship via social media and it lasted while some met people through the conventional way but it did not last. It is quite relative to me because at the end of the day, it is just about two people connecting. It also depends on their motives because if I meet someone via social media it would take me a while to know if you are in love with Chioma or Chigurl. Do you love the character or the person? In our line of profession, you have to be sure of the motive of the person you are involved with.

Can you quit your career for marriage?

I don’t know but when we get to that bridge, we would cross it. I am not sure if I can. The man has his source of livelihood and I should have mine as well so that I would not depend on him for everything.

Does that mean that you cannot be a full time house wife?

I could if I choose to but I would definitely be working to keep myself busy. I have to be self-sufficient.

How many children would you love to have?

I have always wanted triplets and I still do. Once you get over the two years’ situation, you would be fine. Three kids at a time mean doing everything at once. They can even wear each other’s clothes.

You recently delved into the movie making business with your feature in the film, Banana Island Ghost. How has the experience been for you?

It was the most amazing thing I have ever done as regards entertainment mostly because everything was professionally done. It was well coordinated and we had a wonderful crew and cast. Everyone on set came with a good attitude and they were all ready to work.

This is the first time I am acting in a feature film and anything that has to do with action. In this movie, I was kicking and throwing people, I did things that only happen in the gym in my regular life. It brought out a side of me that I knew existed and always wanted to explore.

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