Nollywood actress, Eberechukwu Nwizu, formerly known as Bhaira Mcwizu, recently added another feather to her cap in the movie industry. The actress, who came to limelight after winning the third Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO) reality show in 2007, joined other women in the movie industry like Kemi Adetiba, Omoni Oboli to become a movie director. In this interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, she speaks about her love for directing movies, her selfdiscovery during 2020 lockdown and her childhood dreams that are yet to be achieved.
Is there a reason you chose to change your name back to your birth name?
No colourful or controversial reason. I reverted back to my full birth name, which is Eberechukwu Nwizu. Just a preference.
Have you premiered in any movies recently? Are you working on any movie and are we expecting new movies soon?
I am always working. Silent Murder and Crazy Grannies just premiered in the Cinemas these past weeks and I am super happy to announce that SILENT MURDER got three nominations at Tietie film festival for Best supporting Actress for my role ; for Best film and Beat supporting Actor for Wale Ojo. I think we were the only Nigerians recognized.
Plus I just finished directing my own movie titled ‘Ask Gina’ which was premiered on DSTV showcase. I have a new movie in the cinema, called ‘Crazy Grannies’ that featured myself, Shaffy Bello, Ngozi Nwosu, Princess and many others. And there is also ‘Silent Murder’ that is in the cinema presently. I was featured in it too.
You became a movie director recently and if I am not wrong, it’s like a new pedestal in your career. Tell us about it. Absolutely, it’s a new pedestal and after I finished directing the first movie, I said I would never direct or produce another movie. Story, story!!
After like a week or two weeks I rested, I was looking for another script to shoot. Filmmaking is like a magnet that pulls you if you have the passion. I just love making movies. I don’t just like filmmaking for the sake of making films. I like to entertain and I also love to pass a good message across in my movies.
Our world, our young people need encouraging stories, inspiring stories. Even if we have a failed government, the most important thing is to find a way to make a difference.
Did you take courses on directing movies to become good at it?
I have not gone back to school yet but I have been taking classes online on di- recting and cinematography. I also learn on set because I have a lot of friends who are already professional in the field that are always willing to help. But definitely, I will go back to school to offer a full course.
Film directing sector is mostly male dominated, and sometimes they tend to intimidate women trying to find their way into the field. Have you felt intimidated before?
No, I have never felt intimidated. People are entitled to their opinion. People may watch my movie and say they love it and another person may watch the same movie and say they don’t like it.
So, opinion differs. That does not make your work bad. Men already know that women are great at what they do. In my own experience, the men have been very supportive. But people have their opinion and you cannot stop them from having their opinion.
Biodun Stephens is a Movie Director, Kemi Adetiba, Mo Abudu, Tope Osin are Directors; Omoni Oboli is a Director; so, there are a lot of women coming on board directing movies now. So I am not alone. I don’t think it’s a matter of taking over. It’s a matter of expression.
Female filmmakers in Nigeria are expressing their God given talents and skills at the highest level and creating their own niche, whereas before, no one was giving them the opportunity.
But now, you can’t deny that they know what they are doing. For me, it’s a case of do what you do well and the rest will fall into place naturally. It’s nothing about superiority. It’s science and common sense.
Tell us about your movie ‘Ask Gina’. What is the story about? ‘
Ask Gina’ is about a young lady, who has a blog where she counsels other women. Through her blog, she is trying to make a difference in the life of young women. So, women call her to ask her questions about their marriages, relationships, about losing weight. Women come to her with these questions because she is very popular but this same woman who gives solutions to people’s problem has her own secret problems.
She has complex, she does not like women because of what happened to her in the past, at childhood to be precise. She has very bitter and painful past that she has to deal with. One thing led to another and everything about her was exposed and the journey became how to resolve everything and get her fans and career back on track. You have come far in your career.
So far, would you pat yourself on the back that you have achieved some of the childhood dreams you had while growing up? I have achieved most of my childhood dreams and every day, I am making new dreams. I wanted to be a dancer. I have not achieved that yet. My mother was always worried that I was al-
dancing and singing. I knew that I was going to be an entertainer, playing on world stage. Somehow, I ended up in acting. The dream is unfolding and I am glad. Definitely, I am going to do a movie that involves singing and dancing.
So far, how would you rate the year 2021?
The year 2021, has been rewarding on different levels. But the insecurity and unrest is a matter of concern in Nigeria.
2020 came with a bang, we all never expected. How did you cope during the total lockdown?
It was one of the best things that happened to me. The lockdown months were intense moment of self-reflection and self-discovery. It’s why I am who I am right now. So I thank God.
Are there new discoveries about yourself during the stay-at-home months?
Oh yes! I cook better. Far better! I thought I knew how to cook well. I mean I cook really well but after the stay home months, I cook far better. Plus, I know how to bake really well too. Also I found out that I care a lot about people. Now, I invest more time in people and things that matter.
Did you also discover your passion for directing movies during the lockdown too?
No, I always knew that I wanted to direct movies. I wasn’t sure about producing but I am sure I would love to direct movies. I wanted a way my stories could be told. When the lockdown happened, I started working on my stories.
I wanted to start influencing the world and stop complaining about what is not working and start doing something to help. The COVID-19 period helped me to reflect and put things in order.
What are the major challenges you face as a celebrity?
Managing my time! So many Apps you keep up with in making movies; so many books to read, projects to make, etc, hence the need to be a master at time management.
We understand your former Instagram account was hacked. How did it all happen?
Long story on the hacked Instagram account! Well, basically as a celebrity, do the necessary security requirements for your Social media accounts and don’t click on any unverified links. You’re welcome.
What efforts have you made to recover it?
I have a new IG account @EBERE_ NWIZU. You can follow me there right away. I know fans have been searching for me.
But there were so many @ BayrayMcnwizu on IG I had to stick with my birth name Eberechukwu. I clearly remember when I first started my account. There wasn’t a single soul bearing BAYRAY. Now there is Bayray-this’ Bayray-that’ on Instagram. Hahahaha. I’ve literally made that name famous. BAYRAY came from Ebere. Public and press do kindly take note.
Looking back, what would you change if the hands of the clock were turned?
Well, I would’ve made extra efforts to speak my language Igbo. I speak Igbo but not like Phyno, if you know what I mean. I’m a proud Igbo girl. But the importance of learning one’s language wasn’t emphasized in my home with all due respect to my wonderful parents. And I say this with no intention of disrespect.
Maybe, my words today will help other parents locally and globally to realize the importance of language culture at home. It’s your tribe. Just like my birth-name Eberechukwu which means God’s Mercy.
I sound like a Super hero! No more shortened forms. I’m sticking with Eberechukwu (Ebere). What lessons did motherhood teach you? Motherhood is a Crown. Only the strongest will s u r – vive.
What’s your current relationship with baby’s daddy?
That is my private life.
Most Nigerian actresses are scared of marriage due to the rate of marital crisis rocking the industry. Are you on same page?
I welcome marriage. The challenge is I just have to make time to get married.
What are your relationship goals?
Putting God first! Everything else naturally follows suit. Then money, beauty, time management, strength of character, Sex etc.
What kind of man would you not date?
Probably a man who doesn’t forgive easily or care about others except himself. For example, his immediate environment, his staff, his parents.
Let’s talk about Liposuction. Would you go under the knife to enhance some parts of your body?
Liposuction is a gift to humanity from science in my opinion. But I haven’t thought about going under the knife.
What are the changes to expect to see in Nollywood, this 2021?
I don’t want to be a spoiler but you’ll be blown. Look at Kemi Adetiba, Biodun Stephens, Mo Abudu, Omoni Oboli, RMD, Austen Peters. Haa, Hollywood will be in for a great competition soon