Interview

STAR SPOTTLIGHT:EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTABEL EKEH

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A year ago, I met this stunning Ghanaian talent and she wowed me with her presence. I sat down to have a one on one with  her about her career, the state of the Ghanaian movie  industry and  a host of other topics.  I did this interview for Ghanacelebrities .com but I feel I am  not doing any justice to my blog if I don’t post this here  for my valued readers. Check out the full  interview. Exclusively mine.

The Ghanaian film industry seems to be growing in size by the day with unsullied faces. While many are quick to criticize the industry for the congest  of unprofessional people and certain talentless individuals, some see the good in the industry and can easily identify a sect of young, talented and hardworking  new players in the industry who may be what we call the real deals.  One of such talented newcomers or “real deals” in the industry today is Christabel Ekeh.

Born about 22 years ago by a Ghanaian mother and Nigerian father, this beauty has not only made inroads within this short period in the acting industry but also in the beauty pageantry world.

Christabel Ekeh was the first Runner-up of Miss Malaika 2008. As a student at the University of Ghana, she  juggles between school work and her two passions, acting and modeling with much ease.

For a couple of years, all she got were small movie roles but that did not stop her from pursuing her dreams of becoming one of Africa’s finest.

Christabel has proven to be unwavering and a breath of fresh air in the movie industry . She has successfully worked her way through extras to becoming a lead. Evidently, she keeps rising as an actress and a model.

As a model she has been featured in some major photography , commercials and music videos.

Her most popular stints in the movie industry till date are her roles “ Efia” in College Girls and “Kafui” in Shirley Frimpong Manso’s investigative series, “Peep”.  She has starred  in movies such as Waist Beads, Wrong Target,  Ladies with Wings, Corporate Love and many others.

She has starred alongside big names like Prince David Osei , Kofi Adjorlolo,  Jackie Appiah,  John Dumelo, Yvonne Nelson,  Yul Edochie among many others.

Where many have failed she has succeeded and she still strives to define her success.

Before  GhanaCelebrities. Com caught up with her for this exclusive, we had already formed this notion of her: gracious,  stunning , intelligent and well-mannered and she proved to be that and more. We hope Ghanacelebrities.Com readers will feel the same too.

Read below for our exclusive chit chat with Christabel Ekeh…

GhanaCelebrities.Com:  You were in a past beauty pageant (Miss Malaika) as a contestant, tell us how the experience shaped you and how you were able to move from beauty pageant to movies…

Christabel Ekeh:  In fact I like the word “shape”. First of all I entered the pageant not only with the aim of clinching the title or crown. It was my intention to learn as much and as fast as I could because I am one who believes ardently in learning. Before entering the pageant I had a thing for movies. I didn’t just see the pageant as a competition but as a learning ground. So I took every step or phase of the competition seriously and imbibed much knowledge as I could.

When I joined Miss Malaika, I was very young, 17 to be precise and about to graduate from S.H.S. See, I am the first of three children so I don’t have any elder sister to learn from or trail after, which is in fact a good thing in a way because really I am not leaving in anybody’s shadow (laughs) but the down side is that there wasn’t any one to learn from or teach me the ropes.

The pageant really exposed me to the world and taught me to really fight hard for my dreams. It gave me the necessary confidence to strive beyond competition in any industry. It improved my modeling skills, articulation and a lot more. In a nutshell, I gathered all my positive experiences from the pageant and intelligence skills. And after the pageant I knew I wanted to act so here I am pursuing my dream. So yes, I have been well shaped.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Let’s delve a little bit into acting? How did it start for you?

Christabel Ekeh: I started acting in St. Mary’s Senior High School, my alma mater organizing plays as I was the entertainment prefect at the time. And I had interest in literature. I always won the best literature awards in school so after the pageant, it was just right for me to pursue my dreams.

I started with auditions and I went to all the production houses in Accra. Back then it looked like it was a long walk to success but every step I took brought me closer to realizing my dreams. From one role to another and to another and here I am.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:  Many people have this impression that once you become a star or a public figure then the move into any other industry becomes easy. How has it been for you and would you say it has been an easy ride for you in the movie industry?

Christabel Ekeh: Being a public figure or a star means you are a great success in something you do but that does not necessarily mean that you can be popular in another industry. Every industry has its rules and it applies to the movie industry as well.

A lot of beauty queens have ventured into this industry and only a few have made it. When I came into the movie industry I was determined to learn the trade, persevere and even more so make it to the top. So I refused to let beauty queen get into my head and rest on my laurels or throw my weight around but rather use what I gathered from the pageant to move forward. My experience from the pageant played a vital role but it wasn’t an easy ride, as I started from scratch, auditions, and movie roles and with God I got here.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:  You are in Shirley Frimpong –Manso’s investigative Series, Peep? Tell us about how you landed the role? And what drew you to the character?

Christabel Ekeh: I have always wanted to work with Shirley but I was waiting for that opportune time. I had a call one day and I was invited for an audition. After a couple of auditions  I landed the role  “ Kafui”, an investigative reporter.

And I had never played anything like that  so it was interesting and refreshing for me . The series was very different so it felt really exciting.  I wanted to give off my best. Don’t get me wrong that does not mean I don’t give off all my best with the other roles I am given  because really given my very best  is my hallmark.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:  What do you look for in accepting a role in any movie or series?

Christabel Ekeh: I always look out for a good story because the story is everything to me. And most importantly  my role has to be very pertinent  to the plot. I need to know the other cast members, create some chemistry or jell with them before we start shooting . The crew is important as well and most importantly the director. Hey, not to say money doesn’t  count (laughs)because it does.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   What are your greatest passion and fears?

Christabel Ekeh: My greatest passion is what I do. I have so much fate and belief in my job. It is my greatest hope that I achieve something great in this industry here and beyond.  That I achieve in this industry what no one imagined an African could ever do.  My fears, my fears… do I have fears Oh I fear just one thing, and that is God. I fear God.

GhanaCelebrities. Com: You seem be a very Godly person because I keep hearing God in most of your statements. Would you say you are a spiritual person or a religious person?

Christabel Ekeh: hmm, I must say  I try to be spiritual and religious at the same time. So I would say I am a little of both. The most important thing is I love God.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   You are into modeling as well; I would like to ask one spare of the moment question, which one do you enjoy most-acting or modeling?

Christabel Ekeh: Well, they are both very interesting jobs, quite similar in some ways, like in modeling you sometimes act in commercials and in acting there’s some modeling. Yeah, there are both similar, you need both in poster shots, photo shoots, red  carpet appearances and a lot more but sometimes I like acting because it is deeper than  what we see on the surface. It requires more skills and challenges me more. Nevertheless I enjoy being in both worlds.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:  As a fast rising Ghanaian actress, where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Christabel Ekeh:  Three years ago, when asked the same question, I said the best of me is yet to come. And now with where I am I still believe the best of me is yet to come.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   You have worked with several Ghanaian movie stars and film-makers.  Which movie stars and film-makers have you enjoyed working with most and why?

Christabel Ekeh: Honestly so far I have enjoyed working with all of them because they all helped me out one way or the other. They corrected me. Most of them were pretty nice to coach me. I enjoyed working with John, Jackie and Kofi Adjorlolo especially. I like working with him a lot because he has always been like a father figure both on and off set.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Which actor or actress (African or International) do you dream of working with?

Christabel Ekeh:  Angelina Jolie. Definitely Angelina Jolie. I would love to work with her on an action or moving movie because that’s where my interest lies. I love action movies. And African, I am definitely looking forward to working with Genevieve Nnaji too in Nigeria.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Let’s talk about your personal life GC readers would not forgive me if I don’t ask these questions. How old are you, really?

Christabel Ekeh: Really( smiles) I turned 22 last month (October)

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Tell us about growing up. What schools did you attend, the interesting and naughty things you did as a child? You know GhanaCelebrities.Com does not leave any stones unturned, Spill it.

Christabel Ekeh: (laughs) I went to St Mary’s High School before then I was in Santa Maria Complex and I went on to Secondary School. I became the entertainment prefect in St Mary’s . So entertaining people is nothing new to me. I did a few naughty things here and there, well  if you didn’t do that in school then tough! I used to go home often, I get myself exit claiming I am sick so I could get home for some clothes and shoes just to organize some entertainment shows at school.

I got myself into a couple of troubles yeah and all that…but hey, those where the good ‘old’ days, you definitely have to live through these times to have a thing or two  to tell others and may be your kids in future.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   What will you call your relationship status?

Christabel Ekeh:  Err…Amalgamated. It is a combination of all the statuses, single ,attached , married. You know what I am saying. But I feel like I am married most of the time, married to my fans.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Has your career affected your love life in any way?

Christabel Ekeh: Yes, it has. Let me just open up a little bit. Oh,  I haven’t disclosed my relationship status yet but the kind of business I am in has affected my love life in a way. It has not been easy for me in my past relationship because in this business you get people talking and raving about you all the time.

…About the things you have done and haven’t even done yet.  Yet still it is hard for your partner to hear from other people certain things that are contrary to what you have told them. The thing about this industry that it is show business. And it is pretty hard to have private time with your partner.

You cannot wake up one day and say okay, today I am  going to have fun in the streets with my partner without any interruptions. Well, I know it comes with the territory but sometimes it  gets to the partners involved. Most of them tend to be uncomfortable with the people looking at you or for want of a better word idolizing you . So you definitely need an understanding partner.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   How do you manage the attention of your male fans?

Christabel Ekeh: Well, I appreciate them all and make them know that I appreciate them for liking me for  the job I do but when I realize they are going overboard or taking it to the personal level then I draw back a bit without being insulting or offensive or anything of that sort. I just make them know I appreciate and love them for  loving the work I do and that I need their support more.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Your male fans will like to know what kind of man tickles your fancy?

Christabel Ekeh:  Oh wow, I want my man to be attractive to me alone. He will have to be intelligent and a very supportive man who understands and appreciates what I do. Once you choose to stick with the person there is no turning back, you have to be able to stick with the person to the end. That’s my kind of man. And he has to be sexy, very sexy… I love a dark strong man. I don’t know but I certainly have it in for dark men. You know,  the  darker the berry the sweeter the juice. But hey if my Mr. Right comes in the form a Boris Kodjoe look alike then why not. But really I am drawn to dark men.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Who are the people who have inspired you or given you the push?

Christabel Ekeh:  My mom, she’s always there for me, my family and my growing fans, they make  me work hard to please them and above all my God, the giver of life.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Every movie industry has its own problems, so far what are some of the things you would wish to see change in the Ghanaian movie industry?

Christabel Ekeh:  I wish we had sets of our own where we can go and shoot without interruptions.  At this stage of our development and progress,  one will not expect that we hustle to change in cars and also get reproached by irate or livid neighbours and property owners for shooting around their homes. It is sad that we have to go through this in this industry. But I really hope it gets better in this respect.

I won’t lie the industry of today has immensely improved but  I wish everyone will be as professional as possible because I think with that we can all move the industry forward. If we have slow thinking and shallow people in the industry it makes things difficult but if everyone will strive to improve on whatever they are doing be it acting or where ever you may find yourself in the industry , in front , behind, beside the camera , I think it would move the industry forward faster.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Are you working on any new movies or projects you would want your fans to know about?

Christabel Ekeh: My latest movie is out, State of Emergency starring Prince David Osei and Kofi Adjorlolo this week so I want my fans and movie connoisseurs to grab copies of them. I am looking to go to Nigeria soon, for now I am in my exams period at School so I am on a little break.

GhanaCelebrities.Com:   Lastly, as an African woman, what values guide your existence and lifestyle?

Christabel Ekeh:  Okay, as an African woman I believe in respect, I believe in respecting elderly people and everybody. In Africa, when you are growing up, you are told that if you want to live long you have to respect your parents and everyone. It is even in the bible.

So as an African and the African woman for that matter, respect is very crucial to me, so I find myself respecting some people who do not even deserve it. (laughs) sometimes you think about it and later you realize that this person that I respected so much does not deserve it. But at the end of the day, respect is still my watch word , Respect pays off. I make sure I respect everybody everywhere I go… hey, with all due respect to MTN. And humility is very important to me and being God fearing. I always put God first in all I do.  He is my ultimate source of inspiration.

GhanaCelebrities.Com: Thank you for granting this interview with us.

Christabel Ekeh: Well, thank you for having me and really I do all this for love.

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