Caroline Chikezie is very resolute about her acting career, despite stiff opposition from her parents. She is sought after by television and film directors in the United Kingdom. LAWRENCE AMAKU reports.
Caroline Chikezie is a British actress. Caroline, 5 ‘10’, was born on February 19, 1979, in London, England, United Kingdom to Nigerian parents. .
She is probably most famous for playing the role of ‘Sasha Williams’ in the British teen soap, As If, from 2001 to 2004. She has also played Elaine Hardy in the British television drama, Footballers’ Wives.
She appeared as Lisa Hallett, a member of the secret organisation of Torchwood who had been transformed into a half-human half-Cyberman in “Cyberwoman,” an episode of the Doctor Who spin-off series Torchwood. She also starred as Nasuada in the movie Eragon and as Tamara, a fellow demon hunter, in the third Season Premiere of Supernatural.
The youngest of four children, Caroline was raised in London by her mother. Her father made regular visits to the UK.
Caroline went to a private Catholic girls’ school in Forest Gate in London, but spent weekends at the famous Italia Conti stage school.
“I was always singing and dancing around the house, and in the beginning, my parents thought it was quite cute because I’d put on little shows for their friends,” she said.
“But when it started to get serious, they were not amused.”
According to her, her ambition to make a career in the UK movie would have come to nought, if the antics her parents had employed to dissuade her from pursuing her career when she was 14 years old had materialised. Her family were so appalled by her career choice that they tricked her into leaving the UK. They were determined to midwife her into the medical profession after her father, who runs a hospital in the Anambra State in Nigeria, as they had planned and packed her off to a strict boarding school in Nigeria.
Caroline would later recall, 12 years after, the experience:
“It was like an abduction. It was very traumatic and I didn’t know what had hit me. I didn’t get the chance to say good-bye to my friends and it was a massive culture shock.”
She was told they were going on holiday for a fortnight - but almost as soon as they arrived in Nigeria, she was whisked off to the church-run school.
“My mother and father are religious and thought I was going off the rails.
“I was academically bright and they didn’t want it to go to waste. I was carrying their hopes and dreams on my shoulders, and to them acting was a joke,” she noted.
Twelve years on, however, she has proved them wrong. She is one of the country’s leading black talents, in demand from TV and film directors on both sides of the Atlantic.
Cheeringly, she has mended the crack in the relationship between her and her mother, but Caroline’s father, Alfred, 60, the director of a hospital in Nigeria, has found it hard to forgive her.
In 1998, she won a part in the award-winning British film Babymother, about a gang of teenage girls growing up on a tough London council estate.
This was followed by roles in TV soaps such as Holby City, Casualty and a series of adverts. Her other television work includes the acclaimed drama, Babyfather, 40, Judas Kiss, Free Fall and Brothers and Sister.
Her biggest break was as Sasha in T4 and Channel 4’s long-running series As If, a trendy drama chronicling the lives of young Londoners in Notting Hill.
Last April, Caroline, who split with her property developer boyfriend, Jay, after four years together, decided to try her chances in Hollywood.
She moved to Los Angeles, where she owns a flat in Beverly Hills, a short drive from her lawyer sister Helena’s apartment.
She also nurses the ambition of starring in a gritty film set in Africa, possibly in her second language, Igbo, and to branch out into music.
Caroline speaks of her role in Footballers’ Wives in this interview.
Tell us a bit about your character.
Elaine is a physiotherapist. She loves her job and takes it very seriously, she considers herself to be one of the best. Potentially, she can be very tough when results need to be produced, but she is fair. She is bright and not easily fooled.
Are there any similarities between you and your character?
Not really! Elaine is a bit tomboyish but I’m more girlie. She’s also no-nonsense where I can be quite silly at times.
Would you like or dislike your character if you were introduced in real life?
I would definitely get on with my character if I were to meet her, because she is a lovely girl – unless she has been wronged!
What’s the best thing about being involved with footballers’ wives?
Getting the new scripts in! I love reading and whenever I get a new script I sit with a huge bowl of popcorn and read. The storylines are always so outrageous and on Footballers’ Wives anything can happen!
What do your friends or family think about you being in the show? Any funny stories?
Footballers’ Wives is most of my mates’ favourite show so they are all really excited that I’m going to be on it. They are forever trying to get the new storylines out of me but love it when I refuse and say they have to wait and see! They prefer the suspense really! One of my friends is reluctant to go away to South Africa on holiday because she doesn’t want to miss Footballers’ Wives! She only decided to go when her Mum promised to tape it for her.
Have you filmed a memorable scene yet?
I did a fight scene with Gary Lucy who plays ‘Kyle’ and really went for it on the day. It felt fine while we were doing it, but the next day I woke up so stiff and black and blue!