The thrills, downsides of living abroad –Naomi Nkechi Amara, Nurse Titi of TV series, Clinic Matters
“Hello, Nurse Titi.” That was a familiar line from the long-running TV series, Clinic Matters. The running hospital drama launched the careers of many actresses making waves today, among others, Naomi Nkechi Amara. The solid actress in the intervening years found love got married and relocated to the United Kingdom to start a family.
Away from the spotlight of Tinseltown, Nurse Titi is leading a serene marital life. In a recent interview with
The Nigerian Xpress, the actress speaking from her home in the UK, outlined her current engagement and the evolution that occurred in her acting career:
What are the particular challenges you’ve faced since you moved to the UK?
Having to work harder because we practically pay for every single thing here. From water to road etc, in comparison to living in Nigeria where you can get away with some things. But I like it here because I get to see what I am paying for and use them to my satisfaction.
Also, not having friends here is challenging. Coming from Nigeria where everyone is so jovial down to the passerby who you don’t know that would randomly greet you on the street as though you’ve both known each other for ages. Throughout my school days and career in Nigeria, I’ve always been in the midst of people. I was never alone. I used to beg to be left alone, but the reverse is the case here in the UK. In the UK, everybody is so serious, all they know is work, work, work! It’s that bad that I don’t even know my neighbours. It is really challenging for me as someone whose life was surrounded by entertainment and people. I have missed the gatherings and assembly of actors, comedians, musicians etc. Also, Covid-19 didn’t help the situation at all.
Food has been another challenge for me. The English don’t have a variety of food. Their food is centred on bread, chips and meat made in different ways, but still the same food. I am tired of all that. I have missed Amala Shitta, Surulere.
It might sound weird but I have kind of missed the noise of the city in the sense that it is too quiet here, and I am used to noise because I grew up in it. Noise from the Danfo bus conductor calling out bus stops for passengers, the person selling pure water outside, the Okada noise or even people fighting. I have missed such craziness. I know it might sound ridiculous but this is my ‘challenge’. I know it is good and sane to be in a quiet environment but you need balance. Quiet plus noise equals a good life. Nothing is one-sided in this life, otherwise, there will be a problem. That’s why when you have a rough day outside, you go home to a calm place to relax and everything just works together for good for your health. But having it one-sided either noise or quietness all the time can kill faster than a disease. So one needs that balance.
Are there opportunities for actresses of Nigerian descent over there?
Oh, yes, there are opportunities, if one can be humble and start from scratch. Their style of acting and filming is totally different from what is done in Nigeria. So coming over here as a Nigerian celebrity and thinking you can jump into big screens here just like that is not easy because you don’t know their style of acting and it will affect you as time goes by. It is highly advisable to start from scratch, go through training and then auditions and possibly register with an agency to get roles and if the actor is good he/she will be selected and will be given opportunities. Now, it is left for the actor to perform very well to shine. Because one breakthrough role is all the actor needs and other production houses will start seeking the actor. There are many roles to fit an African actor and they are looking for such actors, so the opportunity is available.
Why did you relocate?
God asked me to relocate through marriage. Who am I not to obey?
Are there any shared similarities between your real self and your screen alter ego, Nurse Titi?
Yes, Nurse Titi is reserved, so I am by nature. My case here is that of life imitates art. The Nurse loves to care for patients, and I love to care for people without expecting anything in return, especially people who are sick or down with one issue or the other which made me by the grace of God to create and run a healthy lifestyle channel on social media (YouTube, Instagram, Facebook etc) called Healthy Lifestyle With Naomi Nkechi Amara to reach a wider audience in helping people to live a healthy lifestyle through sports, healthy meals, healthy drinks, healthy routine and curative drinks, prayers, words of affirmation, fitness, declarations, meditations. And I thank God I reach out to people as far as India and other parts of the world. Nurse Titi also is dedicated to her job and I am so dedicated to whatever I do, that is why you would see in Clinic Matters how dedicated I was in playing my role very well and I delivered the role to the best of my ability which made everyone fell in love with Nurse Titi.
Nurse Titi is a no-nonsense person, she doesn’t accept defeat and loves challenges and that is why you would see her fighting and arguing with Nurse Abigail all the time so as not to be defeated. That is exactly who I am in nature. I love to win all the time and if it requires fighting for me to win I’ll always fight to win. About 80% of Nurse Titi’s character is similar to Naomi’s.
What are you up to now?
I am working, running my YouTube channel, managing our film production house, Breaking Screen Production and other stuff that are private.
Tell us about the side of Nurse Titi we don’t know
I am Igbo from Anambra State, the last child of a family of six children. I was born and raised in Lagos State and I am very fluent in the Yoruba language. I love Amala a lot. I also love boli and epa (roasted plantain and groundnut). I am a good cook. Ever neat, I love a very clean environment. I studied History and International Relations at the University of Lagos (LASU) Festac campus as a part-time student. I love fitness a lot and a healthy lifestyle. I like to party and network with people when I am in the mood and sometimes I love to be left alone all by myself. I am a Christian.
What lifestyle do you dream of having? Do you think it will be achievable as you’ve left Nollywood?
The lifestyle I dream of is between me, God and my husband. And I have started living part of it. The other part of it, I know, is coming soon.
As to the second part of the question. Nollywood doesn’t determine my future. God does. Nollywood is just an industry, just like every other industry. My life doesn’t start and end there. A lot has happened and is still happening for me outside Nollywood, so leaving Nollywood is not the end of my dream. By the way, I haven’t left Nollywood. I have been filming here in the UK under Nollywood. And I run my film production firm which is registered. So yes, my dreams are achievable with or without Nollywood.
What type of people do you click with better, both professionally and personally, And why?
Gender wise, professionally and personally, I click easily and better with men. I don’t know why. I just enjoy their company. I enjoy and love the way they live an easy lifestyle. No long talks. Straight to the point. They laugh and play a lot, not bearing anything in mind against one another other. They support each other to grow easily. They are strong and hardworking. They overlook irrelevant things a lot. They share business ideas among themselves without the fear of who would succeed better. Their belief is simple. If one is successful among themselves they celebrate it happily from the bottom of their hearts. They will wine and dine with the person and ask the person to share with them the way he made it so they can join. Men are generally open-minded. I also love the way they settle their differences, over a bottle of wine or a plate of food or a football match in just five minutes. It’s just so heartwarming. There’s no competition, no envy, no stress. They are real. Who wouldn’t want to be in that environment? Maybe I was meant to be a man who knows.
Generally, I click with people who are easy-going, who are real to themselves and others because I hate fake people. I click easily with neat people with good fashion sense, kind people, understanding people, people who forgive easily, intelligent people, generous people, people who aren’t too hard on themselves or take life seriously. I like those people who work hard and play harder. People with whom I can share a laugh and play easily without misunderstanding me or taking me for granted.
I click easily with the outgoing type of people and people who are not boring also people who don’t talk too much unnecessarily. I click easily with fun makers and fun harvesters. I also click with smart, sharp and well-spoken people.
Now you see why I click easily with men because they possess most of these qualities.
Your high points as an actress?
Charisma. I love to be delightful, appealing and enchanting to the viewers. Having confidence, intelligence, hard work, being highly Imaginative and loads of energy.
On the cast of Clinic matters, who did you have the best relationship with?
No one else but Francis Odega a.k.a Mr Okafor. Nurse Titi’s favourite and everyone knew it. Some people were even jealous of our friendship. We were very close, both on and off the set. We worked easily together and had fun together all the time. I miss him now just talking about him. He is a kind man. God bless him.