Nollywood actress, Chigozie Stephanie Alichi also known as Chizzy Alichi, recently made her parents proud when she built a befitting house for them in the village. The Asaba, Delta State-based screen diva shares with Entertainer how she was able to accomplish such a feat. She also talks about life as an actress, sexual harassment in the movie industry and lots more.
Can you tell us briefly about yourself?
My name is Chigozie Stephanie Alichi also known as Chizzy Alichi. I am from Ezza Nkwubor, Nike, in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. I am a graduate of Agricultural Engineering from Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT).
I have always had passion for acting. I often spent my pocket money to rent and watch movies. So, when I finished secondary school in Nnewi, I came back to Enugu. One day, I was just passing along Ogui Junction in Enugu when I saw one banner hung in front of the Actors Guild of Nigeria’s office calling for auditions. I went inside the office for further enquiry, and the next day, I came to register and was auditioned for a movie.
How was your first day on set?
I was tensed, shy but determined. Thanks to veteran actor, Kenneth Okonkwo, who was on set that day, he really carried me along.
What’s the title of the movie and how much were you paid to feature in it?
I can’t really remember the title of the movie but I was paid N6,000 to feature in it. I wasn’t concerned about the money but the fact that my dream was coming true. I kept asking myself, ‘how did ordinary person like me get on set with an icon like Kenneth Okonkwo? I didn’t eat all day because I was excited and fulfilled.
Were your parents fully in support of your acting career?
They were 100 per cent in support of my acting career.
You recently did a house dedication for your parents, what actually inspired you to build such a mansion for them?
I came from a poor family but I was determined to make it through hard work. I was determined to make my family and myself proud. I didn’t want my background to discourage me. I didn’t like the way we always stayed back in Enugu during Christmas, while my friends would travel out of town and come back to tell me how they had enjoyed their holiday in the village.
Secondly, my dad had worked and saved all his life to build a good house for us. I am his favourite, so I was determined to make him happy. So, I started saving. I had worked in Eastern Shop and also Crunches Fast Food, Enugu, before joining the movie industry. I actually starved and saved money to build my parents a befitting house. I’m a family girl, so I just like to carry my family along.
Why are you nicknamed Mgbeke actress?
Yes! I was determined to make my family and myself proud. But my friends and other people didn’t know what I was doing. They were expecting me to wear the latest designer clothes, shoes, bags and hair; which is not a bad idea, but I was determined and focused on a particular project. First, I moved my parents from one-room apartment in a slum to a 3-bedroom flat in the heart of Enugu city before finally building a house for them in the village.
All that period, some people were laughing at me. But I discovered that those people are still staying with their parents in that slum in Enugu.
On social media, some gave you kudos while others claimed you must have slept your way to achieving such a feat. What’s your reaction?
I’m not surprised because we are in a country where most people believe no one can succeed legitimately. One day, those people would post their success stories and people will talk negatively about them.
Did you at any time face sexual harassment in the industry?
No, I didn’t. Nobody forces anybody. It is a choice most especially to desperate people. I was never a desperate person and I was also in school then, so I always went back to my studies if I didn’t get a role.
How did your parents react when they saw the house you built for them?
They couldn’t contain their joy. And guess what, I didn’t tell them until the house got to lintel level. As I speak, they are the happiest people on earth.
Some people respect them more now.
Don’t you think men would be scared to ask your hand in marriage after such accomplishment?
I don’t think so. I didn’t do it all of a sudden. I had saved for it for a long time.
Are you currently in a serious relationship?
No, I am still single but not searching. I’m praying for an understanding person that will support my career, so we can live together in peace and have kids. I don’t want divorce.
What do you think is the major cause of celebrity divorce?
From what I have observed, it’s mostly due to lack of understanding.
Aside an understanding man, what else do you look out for in a potential husband?
Somebody I can call a friend and also a very hardworking man.
Regardless of the height, bank account and tribe?
Yes! Regardless of height and tribe. But the bank account matters, because I want a man that will be able to take good care of me while I am also working to get my own money.
What are your plans for 2018?
My plan is to get to a higher level in my career and achieve more.