The Other Side Of Chioma Omeruah AKA Chigul
As we set up for the cover shoot I wonder what angle we could capture the true essence of our cover subject. Prior to this interview, Chioma Omeruah aka Chigul to us all is the popular comedienne who has recently been hitting our screens with amazing features in music videos, movies and skits. A glimpse of Chioma is seen in the teaser of Kemi Adetiba’s web series King Women that reintegrates the fact that there is more that meets the eye with Chigul. Most of you are not aware that Chigul was married, or the fact that she speaks 5 languages fluently, can hold a proper conversation by 5 am in the morning or the fact that she has been involved in charity work we don’t know about.
There is definitely more to the woman who says “Hello, once again it’s your one and only gul Chigul”
Chioma describes herself as an entertainer, comedienne, actor, singer, voice over artist.
“I am a lot of things rolled into one. I do mostly comedy, I also MC/compere events. Comedy is something I have been doing for the past 6 years. All this started with voice notes, so I was a voice before I was a face. I sing and I am also a songwriter. I send messages through songs although different people perceive my songs differently.”
One might wonder what motivates Chigul, she is motivated by any and everything, inspiration is drawn from all over. Setting up the space with her, I get an understanding of how inspiration works for Chigul, her music which she swears she cannot do without while she works boasts of so many genres and languages, and that can attest to her diversity. Her job as an entertainer puts her in a situation where you have to be diverse to attain the heights that she has. On her job, she says.
“They say laughter is medicine and I could call myself a drug dealer (laughs) but I love the fact that what I do makes people feel better in any small way that it does.”
Chigul is also involved in charity work and contrary to the new generation media approach to celebrities involved in charity, she is not vocal about her work with these charities. To her she just wants to do her own part, even if the world doesn’t know all about it.
“I want to do my own small part and lend a helping hand, I have never been to an internally displaced persons (IDP) home before, it was such an amazing and heart wrenching experience because but God they could be me, they could be anyone else. I want to go back and stay in touch with them, the whole world isn’t meant to see everything, all I did was give them myself, which wasn’t much but it was a good thing that I made them smile.”
There is definitely a background to Chigul, series of experience that defined the woman we know today. Getting to this point in her life has been influenced by different factors. She lived in the United States for 12 years, although she has spent most of her life in Nigeria. She grew up in a stable family lifestyle, being the 2nd child and first girl in her family of 4. She speaks 5 languages fluently, her educational experience can be summed up with her going to school, writing WAEC over and over till she passed, almost failing out of school in the U.S till she changed her major to French Education and going back to school to learn more languages. She moved back home at the request of her dad a goal oriented man, unfortunately he passed away a month after her return. His passing changed her plans, the things they could have done together but in her heart she feels his blessing with her.
If Chigul was not in the comedy industry she would go back to her first love ‘Language’ she says.
“I would probably be teaching French, because I still feel that itch to teach. I miss working with kids and teaching them. If I wasn’t doing Chigul, I probably would have found my way to the movie industry. Or singing jazz, which is another one of my passions. I would have been doing something in the entertainment industry. Teaching would be my 9 to 5 and the entertainment side would be my side hustle.”
Currently she is giving the entertainment industry all that she has, in every sector that she is passionate about, she is setting her mark with her recent projects
“There is a movie I made Remember Me which is out now, I have done 3 Nollywood films and looking forward to some other projects which I cannot talk about just yet because they have not been finalized. I am looking forward to producing my own film, there would be some music coming up. There is a lot Chigul is doing.”
In the future, Chigul hopes for the best in her career. When asked on what we expect from Chigul in the next 15 years, she says.
“I have dreams of setting up my own production company, making movies, comedies, entertaining and making people happy the best way that I can. I would probably be so famous and rich in Paris but still have ties to Nigeria. I basically would be doing what I am doing now which is entertaining people’
In her own little way, Chigul is a mentor and a role model to different classes of people in our society today. Her voice, her character and the ease of being unique and different have given people courage and an insight into what they want to do with their lives. To those people she says.
“Don’t be afraid to dream big. I used to have a Pastor that said “What you see you can get”. So dream big but also work very hard. Do things to better your craft. Be humble and stay humble because that is one thing that would get you places as opposed to just your talent. Remain grounded in whatever you do. Dream big and work hard.”
As opposed to people who initially knew their career plan, the voice of Chigul sprung up on us via the spread of BBM voice notes, her rise to fame reinforced the fact that she is an entertainer. Speaking on the challenges trying to keep true to the brand that is Chigul we know and the challenges trying to reintroduce herself into the different sectors she is now involved in, Chigul speaks positively.
“I think that the only challenge would be that there are few ladies in this field in this country when it comes to the comedy aspect. It is a male dominated field, but all my male colleagues and sisters in the industry have been of support to me, pushing me and giving me platforms to showcase my talent. I have been very blessed to have people who have encouraged me all the way. When it comes to challenges, it is more of a personal thing for everyone to stay on the pulse, to evolve, to flow with the times, to bring new things every time. If anything I would say it is the fear, a little bit of trepidation because you don’t know if you want to take the next step but that would be it, but you have to overcome those challenges and take that next step.”
In a country where tradition is highly regarded and our parents do not consider any course asides the professional courses. Chigul explains her own academic journey and shares what creatives today who have read professional courses to please society should do.
“For me I started up differently, when I went to school I was studying Criminal Justice and that was not what I was doing, because I was failing I decided to change my major to French Education, I didn’t know I wanted to study French and it worked out. Our parents are our parents and they love us and mean well for us, what I would advise people to do is get a degree to please your parents and then do what you want to do at the end. I think a lot of times, the joy of doing what you love doesn’t come at the initial time you started. Our parents want us to be successful and when they see that they become comfortable with that.”
The entertainment sector has its own part to play in the economy of Nigeria. I am of the opinion that the Nollywood industry is as big and influential as Hollywood. We have the capacity to revolutionize the economy and make it better. Chigul being an insider, clearly states.
“It is time for us to do something, there is a lot we can do to better the economy. We just need to take that bold step. Everybody outside Nigeria sees what we are doing asides from us, Nollywood is great outside Nigeria, but to us at home it is pure water. We don’t go to the cinema to watch our own movies, but when a Tom Cruise movie comes out the cinema would be packed. I am sure if you go to India, the cinema is full with people watching Bollywood movies. We don’t support ourselves a lot and it is not only in the entertainment industry. We need to support what we do.”
Chigul describes herself as an early bed and a hardworking person. On a regular day, she says.
“I wake up pretty early, I might work out or not. I like to be up and doing, I am a morning person. I am up and early and about my business. There are going to be a lot of things I would be doing soon but right now I am thanking God for the free schedule.”
Everybody has words that encourage them and people they look up to. At the risk of sounding cliché but still proud in her belief, Chigul attributes everything to God.
“God is my biggest motivator, he is my biggest source of strength, and he inspires me to do what he has called me to do which is what I believe. He keeps opening doors for me. He is my everything, it might sound like a cliché but God is literally my everything.”
There is more to meet the eye when it comes to Chioma Omeruah aka Chigul. She is a big dreamer, she is confident and just like her dad, and she is a goal oriented person. From a voice note to the stages worldwide, she has hit the big screens and we haven’t seen the last of Chigul. We would love to listen to her jazz albums, we would definitely love to see a movie produced by Chigul. We would love to see the wonders she can create with her surfing on the wave to stardom. Chigul is many things and a comedienne is just one of it.