Nigerian comedienne, Chioma Omeruah aka Chigul, is well known for her prowess in mimicking accents and comedic characters. In this interview with BRIDGET ONWUNEME, the multi-talented ribs-cracker speaks on her ‘12 personalities no’, and how she came into comedy accidentally, among other issues. Excerpts:
How would you describe yourself?
Chioma Omeruah is the second child out of four children. My father was a military official, and my mother worked at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). As a child, I was a very noisy and funny one among my siblings. I was not only noisy, also very mysterious. I was always doing funny things in the house and making everyone laugh. So, I’ll say that from my childhood, I was being groomed to do what I am doing now.
How did you start up as a comedienne?
I would say that comedy found me. That is because comedy was never in my plans.
It happened one day; I did a voice note and sent it to somebody. That somebody then sent it to someone. That was how it went viral. Now, here we are; Chigul was born.
You are an all-rounder entertainer, tell us about it?
I have always loved acting. I actually started with theater. Then my love for the craft grew on; then I knew that someday I would take to it full-time. On being a musician, yes I sing and write songs, but I do not call myself a professional singer or songwriter. I write my silly songs that I can literally do at the snap of my fingers. My singing and songwriting is a spontaneous act; it is really not like a thing I do big time. It’s just part of my personality.
How many films have you featured in so far?
Yea, the most recent films that I have done include Chief Daddy, Crazy People, The Reunion, and of course my first feature film, ‘Banana Island Ghost’.
Which of these talents brought you to limelight?
Of course, comedy brought me to the limelight.
Are you currently working on any project?
Yes. I actually have many products in the works at the moment, some of which I am not able to discuss.
Tell us about your ’12 personalities’?
(Laughs) I have always been able to mimic accents and sort of look at different people and imitate them. I discovered that I was good at doing different accents; so I created 12 characters, each one with a different personality and accent. All these characters are part of my comedy ‘Cooperation’.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak five languages, including English, Hausa, Igbo, French and Spanish.
Switching accents through the five languages come quite easily for me.
Tell us about these characters?
The character ‘Chigul’ actually speaks with a very thick Igbo accent. She feels she is posh and sings songs about anything or everything. She has her own way of speaking. She does not seem to care that her ways are not the norm but goes off on her own rantings sometimes. Chigul is my stage name; she is a funny character, quite independent, and it seems she knows a lot, but she actually knows nothing.
Aside from entertainment, what else do you do?
I am a certified French teacher.
What has been your source of inspiration?
I will say that I am totally inspired by my environment; not just that, I am also inspired by the people I meet, the things I see, and the things that happen around me too.
Can you tell us more about your past marriage?
I would rather not talk about that.
Would you get into marriage again, if you find Mr Right?
(Laughs) Well, maybe I would. Who knows, time will definitely tell.
How do you handle advances from male fans?
I do not encourage advances from male fans.
What’s the nastiest thing a fan has said to you?
(Laughs) Wow, there has been so many that it is hard to pick one right now. Well, someone had once said that I look like Fiona from ‘Shrek’ the cartoon. And I was like “Yeah Fiona is a cool chick and all, but really..? Fiona in Shrek”.
If you would change some things about you, what would they be?
Hmm, one thing is that I am a bit too accommodating. That is one thing I would like to make changes on; I need to set more boundaries.
What is your favourite designer?
Well, I would not say I have any favorites. If I like any clothes, shoes, accessories, I buy and use them. If I even like it a lot, I will wear it, until I tear it (laughs).
Who are your role models in the movie, comedy, and music industries?
I would not say I have role models.
Where do you see yourself in the near future?
I hope to still be working in careers that I love, and also to keep building my legacy.
Your advice for the youth?
My advice to the youth out there is for them to always stay humble, stay grounded, to work hard, be kind to people, and play ‘forward’ always.