It was tough and quite engaging but at the end she emerged the new face of Nollywood. Fear almost paralysed Eberechukwu Mc Wizu, upon hearing of her fellow AMBO housemates’ past achievements but she eventually conquered all. Since her win however, the Philosophy graduate from the Lagos State University has made many of her teeming fans proud. Having featured in many movies, her passion for acting and her humility has placed her among one of the most sought after young actresses in the country. She speaks with CHIBUEZE OKEREKE on what’s next for her…
What really have you been up to all this while?
Well, I’ve been around and doing what I love to do best, which is acting and being in Nollywood, I’m also working towards getting my fashion line ready, very soon.
Fashion line, that is a good one...
Yes, it’s something I’ve been thinking about and finally, I’m now doing something about it. I will be launching my first sets of collection very soon, because I have a flair for designing things. I also know how to put things together. The name of my fashion line and other things surrounding it are top secret for now. I won’t be divulging them until further notice.
Can you give us a peep into some of the works you’ve engaged in since winning the crown?
Sincerely, I’ve done quite a few this year with some notable producers. I did great works like: Bursting Out, Love Like Ours, Tinsel, I have also worked for Wale Adenuga Productions and several others. I feel happy doing what I like to do and that gives me extra joy. I don’t like to rush things, I want the best and the best always comes to me, and I always thank God for that.
Were you acting before you went into the AMBO house?
Officially no, but I had always wanted to act and show the world the natural acting talent in me. Having also followed AMBO since its inception, I thought it will be a lovely idea to be part of it and that prompted me to buy the form. While AMBO was auditioning, I actually shuttled between the auditioning exercise and a play that Prof. Ahmed Yerima was staging at the National Theatre; it was tedious combining both tasking jobs. Till date I’m still dazed that I was able to do both jobs. It was hectic and fun.
While entering the AMBO House, did you ever envisage that you’d end up winning the crown?
Sincerely, I was kind of intimidated by the CV of some of my fellow contestants. But my faith kept me going till the very last day. I couldn’t believe my eyes when my name was announced, in fact, I still remember vividly, when my name was announced that day I went blank because I was not feeling anything. I was lost and was not present when my name was announced.
Which was the first job you did immediately after the AMBO-sponsored Cindy’s Note?
It was Waterfalls by Lancelot Imasuen, a lovely movie. After that other jobs started pouring in.
What would you say informed your passion for acting and the klieg lights?
It has to do with the theatre, I love theatre works a lot, even as a child my mother used to take me to watch films. My mum also gave us free hand to follow our passion, but its education first.
When you were about going for AMBO, did your mother support and encourage your move?
Nobody knew I was going for AMBO in my house, prior to AMBO; I was at the Muson School of Music and at the same time working for my mum, so there was no time. When they called and I told them I was in the house, they didn’t believe me.
What did you do with your N2.5 million prize money?
It was wisely used and my parent also ensured that I did that. I invested the money wisely.
Among your numerous jobs, which would you say has been the most challenging, in terms of role interpretation?
Most challenging? Cindy’s Note challenged me at a point in my career and when I started to grow in the industry other jobs that I did with some equally good producers also challenged me. I guess the next movie would be my next challenge. I think I’ve done about ten quality movies and still hope to do more.
Your predecessors, Azizat Sadiq and OC Ukeje won awards at the AMAA, during their reigns with Sitanda and White Waters, but you didn’t win with Cindy’s Note, while you reigned, did you feel bad that no AMAA came your way, despite your wondrous role in the movie?
Did I feel bad? Yes, I did, because I’m quite a confident person and that reflects in all my works. Sometimes circumstances try to make you feel you are not worth it. I know what I’m doing and if I don’t win this year, next year, I might win. If you check it, worldwide, best actors don’t get to pick awards in most cases. I’ve not even started. When I start the awards will come. I don’t blame anybody, whoever wins, wins, it does not change the fact that you are good.
Since winning the AMBO in 2007, you’ve been consistent on the entertainment scene, what would you say has kept you going?
First and foremost, is the grace of God and again working hard and being smart are also part of my staying power. I always look out for the best and cannot stay idle; I’m always thinking and like to create things on my own. There is never a dull moment with me. Again, I’ve chosen a path and that is to succeed in life.
We would like Bhaira to tell us more about her background?
Bhaira was born Eberechukwu McWizu, I’m from Anambra, Ozubulu to be precise, but I was born and raised here in Lagos, and read Philosophy at the Lagos State University. I’m from a large family, just like Abraham who has many children.
So, who’s Bhaira and how would she describe herself?
Bhaira is an easy-going and sociable young lady that likes to help people. I also like to have fun and live life with no regrets. I like to be happy always.
Who would you say are the people that really influenced your career in Nollywood, especially then that you were just starting?
Well, Taiwo Ajayi Lycett was one of my earliest influences, also with Edith Jane Azu, Bimbo Manuel and a few others. I look forward to working with any of them, especially Edith Jane Azu someday.
If given a second chance, would you love to go back to AMBO House?
Go to do what? Maybe, when they increase the prize money to N10.5 million, I will go and grab it again.
In your own view, do you think Nollywood producers are doing enough in terms of promoting and projecting the careers of rising acts like you?
Everybody would want me to say no that they are not doing enough and that they should help us and give us enough chance to grow, but the truth of the matter is that everybody is trying to up his/her game and it is a growing industry. It would be wise for rising stars like me to improve on our crafts, by engaging in other creative ventures, especially in writing and producing our own movies. And by so doing, you will stand out no matter what happens. The world would search for you when your craft is superb. I don’t believe in waiting for someone to come and help me do what I’m supposed to know how to do.
You’re a product of a reality show; AMBO made you, but the impression is that reality shows have been bastardized and made to look very cheap these days through proliferation, do you subscribe to this notion!
I agree with you, there is a proliferation of reality TV shows. Once in a while, I see myself inundated by the amount of reality shows coming on board, especially in the area of acting. Just a few of them are authentic, the rest are sham, I was a victim to some of them. I paid and was duped severally. I saw that as part of the sacrifices that I made to be who l am today.
With your experience, what advice would you offer to help checkmate this fraud that is gradually becoming the order of the day?
I wish I knew what to do because it is really serious. AGN president and other guilds’ leaderships should collectively come together to fight this escalating fraud…
How daring can you go in a movie?Well, I think this is a very serious question and our culture will not allow me to be that daring in a movie. Again, I don’t think you need to go naked to express yourself in a film. I pick my scripts very wisely and equally seek the opinion of my family before accepting any script.
But what are the major things you look out for in a script before accepting it?
I look out for intuition and wisdom because I don’t like to be type cast or stereotyped because I can do it very well, I always reject such scripts.
What are the major things you usually take along while going on locations.
My Bible first, because the world is crazy, then my blackberry and guitar…
So, you play the guitar very well?
Of course, I told you I went to Muson School of Music. Besides, you don’t have to be a musician to play the guitar, you can as well go to school, like I did and learn it. I also play the piano and make my own music. I want to buy a big ground Yamaha piano and once I do that soon, nothing can stop me. Part of my dream is to be a recording and performing artiste in the next couple of years. I’m not in a hurry to do that because I also intend going into movie production.
Back to Muson School of Music, what actually attracted you?
For me, music is life and I remember I bought myself a guitar from the salary I earned while working for my mum after leaving secondary school. I was bent on starting music first, but as fate would have it, acting came first. I still compose romantic songs with my guitar, even gospel songs too.
What would you say separates and gives you an edge over the many rising actresses that are daily invading the entertainment landscape, especially Nollywood?
I think I know and understand myself very well at this stage. Again, I’m beginning to understand life, so to speak. The more you chase after things, the more they seem to elude you. But if you enjoy life with every moment that comes with it and also get better at what you do, all good things will come to you. For me, that is what I think makes me who I am.
How old is Bhaira?
I’m 27 this year.
Is she still single or married?
Well, I was only married in Super Story on TV, but in real life, you and I know I’m not.
Is marriage on your mind, and again, do you think about it often?
Marriage is a beautiful thing and I do think about it, I will be crazy if I don’t think about it.
How soon do you intend settling down?
When the right thing clicks, when all things worked together for my good.
When will that be?
I have to make an effort and the person I’m with also needs to make an effort too.
So, there is a man in your life currently?
I don’t talk about such issues publicly, I’m really sorry, they’re very personal.
Are there pressures on you to get married from your parents?
Apart from my late dad, I know my mum would love to have pretty grand children around her. She’s quite contemporary, but would like to see her grand kids soon.
Does your single status weigh you down?
I never told you I was single. I didn’t tell you that.
How do you cope with men?
They do come, but for me, it’s a matter of principle and I handle them politely… They come my way always, but I try to be careful in dealing with them.
Can you marry an actor?
Yes, if he has all the qualities I want from my man, he must be spiritual, young, brilliant and confident…
What’s the next level for you?
This is a big question. The next level is bigger than me. It’s the Lord’s doing and it will surely come to pass in my life. I see the big picture always and must surely get to the top of that big picture