The sultry light-skinned actress- Rachael Okonkwo aka Nkoli Nwa Nsukka welcomed us into her world. In this interview, she talks extensively about her personal life, wedding, children, relationship with a colleague- Ken Erics, how manufacturers of Dano Milk elevated her career and what she is currently working on. View below…
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OGEFASH: So pleased to finally chat you! We have been longing to chat you
RACHAEL: Now we are chatting…
OGEFASH: Seems like the media has a different version of you. Can we meet the real Rachael Okonkwo
RACHAEL: (Laughs) That sounds cliche. I am an actress; of-course, Rachael Okonkwo is my name. I was born into the family of the Okonkwos in mid 1980’s; 26th of May precisely. We hail from Ukpata, Uzo-Uwani Local Goverment Area of Enugu State. It is an area bordering Kogi State and Anambra State. We are from a Catholic background. We are actually staunch Catholics. I have been in the movie industry for over a decade and stayed there even when the going was rough. I am the CEO and host of Nkoli Nwa Nsukka Carnival which is done in collaboration with Dano Milk, that is owned and produced by Aria Foods.
OGEFASH: I don’t want to digress, I would come back to Nkoli Nwa Nsukka Carnival before the end of the interview…Meanwhile, there is something that I am hoping you would be able to clarify out there. This question I am about to ask has been on the lips of many. Are you married?
RACHAEL: (Smiles) Ehhh! Media! Media! (In her usual Igbo manner and poise when acting) I don’t know what I bought in you people’s market o.
(She tries to avoid the question)
OGEFASH: So are you married? Do you have Children?
RACHAEL: (Smiles) I am always amused at different pictures that media houses put up on the Internet as my husband and children, it is really appalling.
OGEFASH: Maybe if you take a stand, they would stand where you are. So any man? Any kid?
RACHAEL: Don’t you think it would be pretty obvious
OGEFASH: You tell us, some celebs are pretty private about their lives, late musician-Goldie Harvey was, you may be one of them
RACHAEL: Oh may her soul rest in peace. Can we come back to that question?
OGEFASH: Okay! I have watched some of your movies and what stands you out is your sense of humor. Is that you naturally fused into your acting or it is just acting?
RACHAEL: That’s me, part of me, which I infused into my acting. People should be able to watch movies and be uplifted when doing that. They should see a reason to be glued to their chair and that is the essence of having a sense of humor. For me, that’s where the proper interpretation of roles come in. Not deviating from the role given to you though, but making the character interesting to watch as well viewers interested in the character.
OGEFASH: Have you always wanted to be an actress?
RACHAEL: Acting I would say is “Me” and I am acting. So yes, it is in the blood. I did a lot of acting in small groups, while in school and church as well. Despite the challenges in the early days, I did not back down.
OGEFASH: How did you enter Nollywood?
RACHAEL: I was always zealous about acting right from childhood. I always swim around shooting locations hoping to one day be in front of the camera. So one day, I went to a shooting location, and they needed a particular character who was unavailable as at that time. I told them I could play the part. They gave me a try and boom, my acting career started.
OGEFASH: How supportive were your parents about the choice of career.
RACHAEL: Initially, my parents were against it. In the olden days then, you know most parents want the white-collar Jobs for their children. It is either they want you to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer or a career that brings in lots of money; you understand.
So for my parents, it was a “no no no”. They wanted me to be a lawyer because of how vocal I was. But when they saw how passionate I was about acting; they just had to accept my career as an actor.
OGEFASH: So what movie would you say has been your best so far?
RACHAEL: That is quite hard to pick. Why? I do a certain movie, and to me, nothing else is the best except that one. Then, I do another movie, before you know it, I am preferring that particular one. So every film I act is like my best; because I put all my best in any role given to me.
But basically, I enjoyed my character in Nkoli Nwa Nsukka, Bloody War, The Ghost and the tout, Ijele the Princess of fire, Tears of betrayal and a host of others
OGEFASH: Role models?
RACHAEL: I love Onyeka Onwenu, Patience Ozokwor, Pete Edochie, Nkem.Owoh, Liz Benson, Chinwetalu Agu, Joke Silva and lots of the actors in the industry
OGEFASH: Best friends in the Industry?
RACHAEL: I have a lot of them.
OGEFASH: Some say you are tribalistic, how true is that?
RACHAEL: Eh eh (In her usual Igbo poise) So because of my Igbo nature and how I am promoting my.culture, I am now tribalistic
OGEFASH: You tell us
RACHAEL: I am not please! It is not true. I am one of the most jovial actresses in Nollywood. Everyone has a tribe they come from and identify with. So, identifying with mine doesn’t make me tribalistic.
OGEFASH: So you can keep Non Igbo friends and also allow your Children marry Non Igbos when they grow up?
RACHAEL: Of course, I have friends that are not Igbo; lots of them. My children’s life partners are their decisions. I can only guide them as a parent.
OGEFASH: Which movie would you say brought you into limelight?
RACHAEL: I can’t categorically say one movie. But Nkoli Nwa Nsukka is one of them.
OGEFASH: So, after that, you nicknamed yourself Nkoli?
RACHAEL: Well, Nigerians nicknamed me that, so I had to go with the flow.
OGEFASH: And it is really working well for you because that is also the name of your annual carnival titled -“Nkoli Nwa Nsukka Carnival.” Can you tell us about the Carnival
RACHAEL: Its a yearly carnival where kids assemble to have massive fun in a unique way. We don’t want children left out in celebrations or having to wait till Christmas or Children’s day to have a good time. They may as well have one on Easter and return home with lots of mouth-watering gifts. There are also lots of games at the carnival and of course rich food and drinks. The most interesting part is where we pick a brand ambassador for the carnival yearly. A female won for this year. Her name is Sinach. The carnival was about to hold when coronavirus brokeout. So, we have postponed till further notice. Parents and children should please bear with us. We would let all media houses know once we decide on a new date.
OGEFASH: About Dano endorsement. I see your beautiful face virtually in all items; clothes, bags, bicycles and so on
RACHAEL: Well we thank God. I am really saying a big thank you to the makers of Dano Milk- Arla Foods. They have been my Strong Tower after God. They have been supportive and have elevated my career. Thanks Arla Foods for making the Nkoli Nwa Nsukka annual Carnival feasible. I hope you take Dano Milk?
RACHAEL: You try wella for this your interview questions; don’t worry, at the end of this interview, I would nourishing you too with lots of Dano goodies!
OGEFASH: (Wide grin) Ah thank you oh Nkoli Nwa Nsukka
OGEFASH: More deals?
RACHAEL: Roxette, Stanel World and Arla Foods basically
OGEFASH: You are really a big madam o
RACHAEL: (Smiles) More money, more responsibilities.
OGEFASH: Of course I can’t let you go without asking this question. What’s your relationship with colleague- Ken Erics and why have they tagged you behind his failed marriage?
RACHAEL: He is not only my colleague, he is one of my bestfriends. I. have known him even before his wife. In Nigeria, when you are close to the opposite sex, you are having an affair with that person. If it is the same sex you are close to, then you are tagged an homosexual. My Advise; dont always believe all you read from the Media, even your own media
OGEFASH: The Black dot?
RACHAEL: Can’t explain but I was born with it.
OGEFASH: Or perhaps its the secret of your beauty. So what keeps you Beautiful
RACHAEL: Try to stay away from trouble, mind my business, drink a lot of water, eat good food, fruits workouts.
OGEFASH: Currently working on
RACHAEL: Movies, yet to be titled. We have put a pause on tit hough because of the stay home directive, after the outbreak of coronavirus
OGEFASH: Advice to upcoming actresses
RACHAEL: Go for your dreams, don’t give impossibility a chance. The watch Word should be “I can”
OGEFASH: About coronavirus
RACHAEL: Pleas stay home, stay safe
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