By Joan Akello
36 year-old Nigerian actor, famously called Aki, on why he has never seen himself as a small person. He spoke to Joan Akello
Who is Chinedu?
He is a simple, easy going, funny worker. I am not a small boy as people call me. I was born into the family of Mr and Mrs. Michael Ikedieze. I attended the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu where I obtained a Higher National Diploma (HND) Upper Credit in Mass Communication.
Have you ever practiced mass communication?
What am I doing now?
Acting – so I am in the media.
What is your turning point?
When I started acting in 1998.
What has been your most challenging role so far?
The ones where I pretend to be a small one when I’m an adult. I am 4 feet 3inches tall.
Don’t you enjoy acting as a child?
For me to play the role of a mischievous kid is a normal day-to-day occurrence. I love such roles because it is a way of educating parents about the pranks which their children always have the urge to play.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
When I’m with my wife and family and when I do something and people are happy.
When and where were you happiest?
When people appreciate me, and of course when I’m with my wife, Nneoma Nwaijah Ikedieze. We got married in 2011 and have a daughter.
What do you must deplore in others?
What is your ideal woman?
The virtuous woman – be yourself, be beautiful at heart, I love everything about my wife.
What do you admire in a man?
A man? Anyway; a man should be honest, be true to himself, and make decisions.
One thing you do not move with?
A wallet. I move with my MasterCard and a few dollars.
What is favourite occupation?
Being an actor; acting is the only thing I want to do.
What else do you love doing apart from acting?
Traveling; I buy my clothes from abroad, watching TV, football matches, and I love reading.
Which books are you reading currently or read recently?
Biographies of Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson.
Which historical figure do you identify with?
Mandela for fighting against Apartheid.
Any in Nigeria?
I’m an actor, I do not talk politics. But in Nigeria we are practicing democracy and doing great but we still need to be great.
What movies do you watch?
Comedy, romantic movies, and those about wars
Are Hollywood movies about Africa accurate?
Nobody can tell your story more than you. All these movies they say they are telling African stories are not accurate. But Kunta Kinte’s Roots came close.
What has Nollywood done that others can learn from?
We treat the industry as entertainment and as business. We started producing movies and started making money. Kudos to `Africa Magic’ that popularised the industry. If somebody wants to tell you a story about Washington and another about Kampala who would you believe or listen to?
What is your biggest challenge and that of the industry?
Piracy, but government is trying to do something about it.
What is your favourite colour?
Anything that will make me smart and look great.
If you were to die and come back as an animal or person what or who would like to be?
How can I be an animal? I would still want to be me.
What is your philosophy about life?
Appreciate what you do have and even if you do not have, appreciate others who have. You never know tomorrow.
Any message to your Ugandan fans?
I love them so much. I was told Uganda has been our biggest show so far. It was well attended. Oh my God, I cannot wait to come back.
When will you come back?
We are working on it.
What about Ugandans who would like to act with you?
There is no problem. They are our actors. We welcome people and do our best with the script.
What can an actor do to change quality of African movies?
Practice, practice, practice. You are your best teacher; so watch your movies and see where you did not do well and say I could have done that better. Secondly, see what others are doing.
What is your advice for somebody who wants to be a star?
Make an effort, convince yourself that you can do it, and watch movies. People are different, it’s your mindset. Go do something you can do.
What is your best quote?
I have never seen myself as a small person. I have always seen myself as a big boy, a captain, the leader.