Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

What going to Harvard at fifth attempt taught me about life

–Chika Ike, Nollywood actress

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For delectable actress, Chika Ike, stardom is not served a-la-carte. Since age six when she kick-started her acting career in her local church, she has remained consistent and has since grown into a super diva that many enjoy on various TV screens and in home movies today.  An actress with an exceptional display of roles and characters, Chika recently added a feather to her nest when she unveiled her first book, titled: ‘Boss Up’ where she opened up on details of her upbringing, her Harvard business school experience, her fears and successful business tips. She spoke with MUTIAT LAWORE

You were admitted into Harvard Business School after applying five times. Were you not discouraged at some point?

Of course, I was disappointed at some point. I didn’t understand the selection process until I went to the school and realised that not even the professors have access to who gains admission to the school.

I learnt that applicants’ forms are taken to another country where a board decides who is admitted. So, all those times, I was really depressed and sad because I wanted to go to a business school, not just any business school. I wanted to go to Harvard because I thought Harvard was out of my reach when I was growing up. But as time went by, I was like, “if I wanted to go to a business school, I should go to the best because I believed I deserved it”. I was really ready to do anything to go to Harvard. There were moments I cried after every rejection. But I kept trying and trying, and at the fifth time, it worked. Harvard Business School was a lot for me. I was in the same room with directors of companies, CEOs and people who control multiple businesses. But going there made me realise something, that in life, you must constantly push yourself.

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I went to the world of business to learn how to be successful in business.

You are about the most flamboyant Nollywood actress on social media. Are these things real or part of the fake life people accuse celebrities of leading?

It is real; nothing is faked. I try to live my life to the best of my effort because life is short. Whether we like it or not, life is a journey. This is someone that lost her mom at a very young age. My mom was very young when she passed on. Her death made me realise that life is very short and you don’t know what happens tomorrow. So, as long as you can, embrace and enjoy every moment.

With your new book, you exposed a lot of issues about your family. What steps have you taken to reconcile with your father?

The rejection I suffered from my father gave me all the courage that has shaped me into the woman that I am today. Although he is late now, I was able to do that with the help of my mother. We had a good relationship before he passed on like three years ago. We had moments where we had to sit down and make amends.

Do you now have a good relationship with other members of your family?

Definitely! This is one of the reasons you have to read the book to know how we got to that point. I think this is what happens to a lot of people because most times, you don’t know what you are doing until you are confronted with what you have been doing. My father is a wonderful man and good husband to my mother; whenever I look at their relationship, I always look forward to getting married. My father was full of surprises and this gave me the belief that marriage is beautiful and this largely depends on who you are getting married to.

You talked about your previous marriage, is there any part of the book where you addressed finding love again?

Yes, of course. In the book, I mentioned my past marriage, which I believe everyone is aware of because it was all over the social media and also there is a part of the book where I also took part of the blame and all of that.

With all that you have revealed about your past relationship in the book, are you not scared that you may be dragged to court for revealing too much?

Whatever I wrote in the book have been addressed in the court and in the media; there cannot, therefore, be any defamation of anybody’s character at all because it’s all there in the media. The court knew that I left my marriage due to domestic violence, which was very obvious. I don’t have a terrible relationship with my ex. I have forgotten and let go of all that happened and really I have moved on.

What will you miss most about your late mum?

I will miss everything because my mum was a very strong woman, passionate and, don’t forget, she was a pastor. She was educated and a very outspoken philanthropist. She was my pillar and like I always say to people, when your parents pass on, God becomes your father and mother and He will surely be there for you always.

When the media tries to play on your vulnerabilities, what will be your reaction?

At this point in my life, I see life as a two-way street, it is either good or bad. You embrace the truth and leave the bad. I am stronger right now and writing this book showed that I am ready.

How were you able to overcome those turbulent moments in your life?

I think one of the greatest challenges, so far, for me, was when my parents passed on. For two years, I was living but I was not myself because I was going through a lot of emotional stress. Six months after mum died, I lost my sense of being. What I mean by that is that I could not think straight because I was going through a moment of depression. I never knew that the loss of a parent or a family member can make one pass through this, but at the end, I prayed, went for counseling and I got better.

You equally said you took some blames in the book. Can you tell us some of such blame?

You have to read the book to understand all the phases I went through. Truth is, I took blames that were mine and how I overcame it is one of the reasons you need to get hold of the book.

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You ventured into real estate at age 20. Why did you still go into acting?

I have always loved to act because acting is my first love; it makes me wake up in the morning and feel happy. My latest movie is titled ‘Small Chops’ and will be out in all the cinemas across the country. Real Estate on the other side is equally one of my ventures because I am a business oriented person and acting has given me that platform to get favoured and be involved in several projects.

What is the scariest experience you have had in acting?

I was on clutches at some point and what made me to use that is part of the reason you need to read the book. That was one of my scariest moments because I thought I was going to lose my legs because the doctor told me I wouldn’t be able to do some particular things for some years; that was my breaking point in Nollywood.

How do you intend balancing being an actress and an author?

I am fine with Boss Up for now. It took me seven years to get it out. I don’t know if I can afford another seven years. But the truth is we are programmed to multi-task. We all are. It is just that at every moment of your life, you must know which one to put at the front burner and which one should be next. You must learn how to prioritise. You can have it all, but not at the same time. So, when you are balancing Nollywood and the business, it will be tough. One clear thing is that God cannot give you something you cannot handle. You must constantly push yourself because the most successful people in the world have several businesses. I will constantly push myself, and if I think I need a break or I need to step back sometimes, I will do that.

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