‘There’re limits in marriage’
Standing at 5ft 11, Chika Ike, a graduate of Human Kinetics and Health Education from the University of Lagos, Akoka, Nigeria, started acting in 2004 and has won several awards. The United Nations Ambassador of Peace who also doubles as a refugee ambassador runs an accessories shop, Fancy Nancy, in Abuja. Despite her soaring profile, Chika Ike has had her own share of challenges in life, especially in the area of her crashed marriage she tells ADETUTU AUDU, there are limits in marriages.
WHAT inspired your philanthropic activities, especially your foundation?
If you are talking about the UN Peace Ambassador, it is actually a merit. It is not what you asked for. It is bestowed on you because of your work and the impact you have made in the society. That I gave out clutches to the orthopedic section of the Igbogbi hospital has to do with a promise I made when I had an accident some years ago on set. I have not really told anyone about this before. It was my last scene in the movie we were shooting, I fell and broke my leg and four of my toes were also affected. I actually went to Igbogbi for treatment. Initially, out of ignorance, I thought it was not a big deal. When I got to Igbogbi, I was told I had four fractures and I was told I would not be able to walk for two years, and I would be on bed.
Honestly, I don’t know what happened, I stayed only one month and I was back on my feet. During the period, I spoke with one of the doctors that if I am healed I would surely give back to the hospital.
Also, I saw the deplorable condition of some patients and the hospital, and that was why I chose Igbobi to donate clutches and wheelchairs. Second, was the accident that happened to me recently. I can’t explain how I escaped unhurt because everybody that came to the accident scene could not believe the occupants of the vehicle survived. I just thank God for the grace. Thirdly, some people are on their beds and would give anything to walk. And on getting there, I got wind of information that some patients could not pay their hospital bills which I also cleared.
Was it the second accident that made you remember your promise to the hospital?
I didn’t forget the promise, actually. It was just that I was busy. I have realised so many things in life. For instance, when you complain too much, there are some people out there who will give anything to be in your situation. So, at any given situation in life, we should learn to be thankful. Going to Igbogbi with all I saw, I have realised that I need to thank God.
How do you juggle between your business and acting?
It is really crazy. Today I am in Abuja, tomorrow I am in Lagos. Being an entrepreneur is what I love so much. I am happy my granny gave me Fancy Nancy while I was growing up and also happy that the name stuck to the extent of establishing a business with it. Fancy Nancy has made me to be more prudent and understand that in life you have to make crucial decisions. I now understand what bigger companies are going through.
I have to talk to my manufacturers in China. I love to design because I am the creative director. The thing is that I maybe going through this stress today, but tomorrow when I am enjoying, people would not realise that a lot of hard work has gone into it. I am also planning to produce my own movie. A lot of my colleagues have encouraged me to do it.
How has Chika Ike as a brand affected your business?
To be honest with you, Chika Ike as a brand has affected the business positively. It has made my colleagues to love my brand and support me. It has opened a lot of doors for me. I am now more fashion conscious.
What is the secret of your success in recent times when most other actresses are complaining of non-availability of jobs?
As I always say, I give all the glory to God; it is not by my power. It is the grace of God in my life and my movies. My hard work has paid off at the end of the day. People see the movies that I have done. Of course if you are not good, nobody will call you for jobs. It is the combination of hard work and the grace of God in my life. I don’t attach too much to material things.
Has acting been worth your while?
Yes, it has and I have no regrets whatsoever acting.
But has it not robbed you of some certain things?
Yes, if you are an actress or wanting to become an actress and getting attention all the time, you should know that people are going to be peeping into your private business. Everybody seems to know where you go. Sometimes it could be good, sometimes it could be bad. You have to learn to endure it and live with it.
So, how good can it be?
For me, the most important thing as an actress is that my movies are able to touch lives. If I am able to do a movie and it touches people’s lives and someone comes to say that your movie changed my life, that is the best reward I can ever get as an actress. Obviously, people do things for you; they open doors for you here and there but the most important thing is that your movie touches someone and someone can learn from what you have done.
So, how challenging can it be?
Well, you cannot do things you used to do. You cannot be somewhere trying to just be alone without someone recognising you. Sometimes you just need your privacy; sometimes you can’t just go to where you want to go to. You have to be very careful of where you hang out. You have to be very careful of what you do because people expect so much from you and you have to be cautious. You are a role model to the youths and you can’t afford to disappoint them.
You seem to play the good girl more in the industry. How come we don’t get to see you play the bad girl?
I have tried to re-invent myself. I have played different roles. I want my fans to see me in a different light and see that I can also do some other roles apart from the good-girl role. So, from all the other movies that are coming out I want them to see the other side of Chika.
Of late, people say your taste seems to be high, especially your recent trip to Abu Dhabi. What is your view?
Usually, every year, I take a vacation. I work so hard all through, I deserve a break. I just had to take time out and whenever I do, I make sure I rest very well. I don’t know why it has been all over the whole nation, but I had fun.
What lessons has life has taught you?
Life has taught me one thing, to be focused amidst all issues. I have learnt to keep moving and get myself above situations.
Whether you like or not, there must be haters. Everybody can’t like you. If you are loved by all, then you should be very careful and start asking yourself if you are doing the right thing.
It’s normal. It has taught me that life is full of ups and downs. It has also taught me to be patient.
Do you think getting married at a young age was a disadvantage or had anything to do with the way it ended?
I think it has to do with so many reasons; one of them might be being young. Some people get married that young and have been able to make their marriages work. But if you’re young, you’re young.
There are some things you’ve not experienced. You might not be able to stay calm when you’re supposed to stay calm, understand when you’re supposed to understand or leave what you’re supposed to leave.
I think it has to do with age and so many other things like compatibility and not being true to yourself in the marriage. Everybody has a limit. There are some things in marriage that you might not be able to stand. Some people’s limit might not be my limit; my limit might be somebody’s starting point.