From Hospital to Nollywood: Actress Kiki Omeili Shares Her Inspiring Story

Medical Doctor Turn Actress Nkiruka ‘Kiki’ Omeili in this chat with FRANCIS OGBONNA shares about her foray into Nollywood, the challenges she has faced so far and how family and friends reacted to her decision. Excerpts…

I am not sure you have dumped medicine finally for acting yet, but if you have, did you face any kind of opposition from your folks?  
Nooooo. I haven't dumped medicine. I actually don't like that word" dumped". I regularly attend update courses and renew my medical license. I also do pro bono health work and write health articles from time to time. So Medicine is still very much a part of me. My folks though have been very supportive. I'm so grateful for them.

What about your friends, were they favourably disposed towards your preference for acting? 
Well, it was a choice I made. They weren't too surprised; I had always exhibited a love for the arts.

Also, was it a smooth transition for you or did you face some challenges, while you were making the switch?
It was definitely not smooth. Far from it! There were people who thought I was misplaced. You would see them recoil whenever I was asked what I studied in school and I said Medicine. Getting a chance to show what I could do was no walk in the park but thank God it all worked out eventually.

Are we likely going to see you make a u-turn, and return to medicine in future?
I always say I keep my options open. But if I do go back to medicine, it won't be too much of a u-turn since I'm still very much in touch with it.

You also write; do voiceovers and at a point had a stint with radio, is it that studying medicine was a mistake in the first place? 
 No! Medicine wasn't a mistake. My writing and the radio stint were all medical related. I used to and still occasionally write health articles for blogs. My radio show was a medical show discussing health solutions and offering medical advice. So you see, medicine was far from being a mistake.

Did you practice for a while before you took up acting? 
Yes I did. I completed my housemanship, did my mandatory NYSC service and worked for a while before I started attending auditions.

You have featured in an average of 5 films per year since you began acting professionally in 2011, while you were starting out, did you think you were going to rise this quick? 
I didn't really think about it. It never occurred to me that I could fail. I just wanted to do something and I did it. 

What qualities would you say you had they aided your meteoric rise? 
Whoa! Meteoric rise? That's humbling. I would say HARD WORK, TALENT and ATTITUDE‎ are on the top of the list.

What has been your most challenging role so far? 
That will be my playing the role of an uncouth gangster kidnapper in Walter Banger's "Gbomo Gbomo Express". That role is as far removed from who I am as can be. I have nothing in common with that character, but I had to make it believable.‎ That was quite challenging but also very rewarding.

Who would you consider your competitions in the industry? 
Ah! Jamb Question!

Who would you give anything to act with in the industry, locally and internationally?
Locally, I'd love to do a movie with RMD. Internationally, I'd give an arm to act with Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis.

How do you manage your male fans? 
With courtesy and politeness. It's the only way.

What is the weirdest thing a male fan has ever done to you? 
I'd have to think seriously about that. I'm not even sure I know what's considered weird this days. (She laughs)

Is wedding a part of your immediate plans? Maybe I should have asked if you were in a relationship first. If yes is he someone we know?
(She laughs). My lips are sealed. Watch this space.

What was growing up like? 
I had a wonderful childhood. My Father was a banker and my mum a controller of prisons. I grew up with three siblings, an elder sister and two younger brothers. I've got awesome childhood memories.

Do any of your siblings act too? 

What is your dream vacation spot?  Why? 
Obudu Cattle ranch. It's serene and so beautiful

What does fashion mean to you, are you a label person?
Fashion, to me, is an expression of yourself through the things you wear. The way you dress says a lot about you and how you feel about yourself. I love labels but I’ll buy and wear what looks good regardless.

What would you not be caught dead wearing? 
Leopard skin tights. I think they're just ugly.

Where do you see yourself (professionally) in the next five years? 
Producing my own projects, making giant strides.

Thanks for your time Ma’am.