Chiagoziem Nwakanma is a young actor who was part of the Malta Guinness Life 101 TV series. Although she was already acting, the Life 101 series put the spotlight on her. In this edition of our “Goodness to Greatness” series, she talks about how she decided to be an actor, and her plans for 2018.
What were you doing before the Life 101 series?
I was acting. I had just finished a web series I starred in called “This is it”
Have you always wanted to be an actor?
Not really. Growing up I would always say I wanted to be a pharmacist because we had a lot of doctors in my extended family so I didn’t want to be the odd one out. But I HATE blood and I would cry whenever I see someone getting injection so pharmacy was the safest medical profession. However at 16, I stumbled into the world of acting through a theater group called “Free Street Theater” in Chicago. Even then I thought Acting would be something I’d do on the side until I went to University. I would pick going for rehearsals over classes and my grades drastically dropped. I knew I had to make a decision so I changed my major to “Performing Arts”. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
Q. How much has your life changed since the Life 101 TV series?
I’ve definitely been working a lot more. “June” was a very different character for me. It was different from my usual sweetheart role so it gave me a chance to tap into that other side and be seen differently as well by other filmmakers. I had a lot of fun with that character.
Q. What was the reaction of your family/friends to seeing you on TV?
One of my friends said that every time my character showed up in a scene, she just knew I was going to cause trouble. I also watched some episodes with my family and they would just crack up laughing anytime I showed up. My character was such a pest.
Q. If you were not playing ‘(June/Jules)’ what other character do you think you would have played in the Life 101 series?
I would have loved to play “Sade” because I grew up with three (3) brothers and I was the only girl so I would play rough with them. At some point I’m sure my mom was scared that I would be a tomboy so one day she bought me my first purse; “Coach” to be exact and I forgot it at church because I wasn’t used to carrying one. Went back to look for it like Twenty (20) minutes later and it was gone! She would also put makeup on me whenever we had school pictures or a school dance (laughs). I narrowly escaped being a tomboy so I could somewhat relate to Sade’s character.
Q. If you were to change one thing in your life, what would that be?
Rushing to be an adult. I would go back to my teen years. Adulthood is not as fun as I anticipated when I was younger. Too many responsibilities. Sometimes I don’t want to make “responsible” decisions!
Q. What is next for you?
This coming year I want to work on producing my own content instead of sitting and waiting for the next job. I produced my first short film last month and it will be available on my YouTube channel soon. So 2018 I will put a lot of my own content out there. I also look forward to collaborating with other young creatives.
Q. What role would you say Malta Guinness played in fueling your greatness and helping you actualize your dreams?
I love the fact that Malta Guinness focuses on youths! I feel like we are usually neglected. There’s a gap even in the type of shows on TV. I was so happy when I found out “life 101” was a teen show because I always wondered why there’s an absence in that market in the media. It’s encouraging to keep pushing when you are being backed and you feel represented! Thank you Malta Guinness for putting the spotlight on us.
Q. What is your charge to other Nigerians who are still looking up to actualize their dreams?
Work on your passion everyday so that you are prepared when you get that opportunity. I was once told that Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I live my life on that principle. Even when I’m not on a job, I watch YouTube videos and interviews of other actors, i watch films and study them, I read Acting books and once in a while I will look up monologues online and work on them on my own. Everything I’ve ever worked on so far prepared me for “Life 101” audition. I probably wouldn’t have gotten casted out of the hundreds of talents that showed up if I didn’t constantly work on my craft. Always be prepared, don’t be caught off guard so you don’t miss out on that golden ticket when you get one.
Malta Guinness is a premium malt drink, packed full of goodness and energy with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6. Malta Guinness Goodness has been fuelling the Greatness of Nigerian consumers for almost 30 years. The “Goodness to Greatness” series showcases Nigerians who have been fuelled to greatness by Malta Guinness.