Princess Chineke is one of Nollywood’s fast-rising role interpreters. A graduate of Computer Science from the University of Benin, Princess won the Miss Uniben beauty pageant while in school, after which she modelled for Samsung, Federal Palace Hotel, Maggi, Bachus wine and Mouka Foam. In February this year, Princess made headlines after a colleague bit off a chunk of flesh from her thigh during a fight at a movie location. NEWTON-RAY UKWUOMA met Princess at the 2016 City People Awards and brings the conversation he had with her and a colleague.
What has been happening to you since the bite incident?
I took a break from acting to take care of myself. I have fully recovered and I am ready to have my groove back. Princess is back and back for good. I’m 100 percent all right. I am healed emotionally, mentally and otherwise.
We hear the case is in court, do you still want to pursue it?
To me, I would have left it for God to handle. I believe it was not ordinary. In my whole life, I have never heard that someone was bitten like that. It was scary. The police took the case to court. I’m merely appearing as a victim. The case is not in my hands anymore.
Can you recollect what happened that fateful day?
I came in late to the movie location. The hotel rooms were fully booked so I was asked to share a room with her (Chrystabel Goddy). Few nights she stayed in, she was always making midnight calls. So I asked her to go out of the room or make the calls in the toilet with the doors locked. The other night she made calls at 1.00am putting the caller on loudspeaker. Hearing a male voice from sleep, I woke up thinking a guy was in the room only to discover it was her caller. I complained to the management. They said they will get me another room the next day. I told her she was disturbing, she insulted me. We exchanged words that day. I ended up sleeping on set the next day. When I got back to the hotel, I had my bath, laid down on the bed. She said she wanted my space. She called the Project Manager telling him to throw me out, that I was not supposed to be in the project and the hotel. I told her I came just the same way she came. We started exchanging words. She insulted my family. I told her she had no right to decide when I should leave a job since it wasn’t her father’s. In seconds, she bounced on my thigh with her teeth. She hit me, but before I could hit back some men came in to separate us. She said, “Check your leg. See what I did to you.” I didn’t feel the pain until I went to pee. I saw that she had ripped my washed pants in the bathroom. I pulled the pyjamas I was wearing and that was when I saw a chunk of my flesh falling off. I showed it to everyone who ran into the room. The management took me to another hotel, then to the hospital.
Was the location in Lagos here?
Yes. We were shooting in Iyana Ipaja on a movie project titled Behind the Smile (working title). The incident happened at 11:30pm on a Friday.
How did you pull through the pain and healing period?
[Opens her laps] You can see the scar. It was such a huge scar. I never believed such a thing could happen to me. I went through a lot, but that was in February. I have fully recovered and moving on. I was in church all through that period. Friends, family, colleagues were all there for me.
What has that taught you about life?
This whole drama drew me closer to God in a special way. Now, I don’t get close to people anymore. I just learn to keep my distance. Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I don’t dare come close. I can only wave at them from afar. I am smarter, more careful and sensitive now.
Has Chrystabel reached out to you? How do you relate with her now?
I don’t have anything to do with her. I didn’t know her from anywhere before [then]. I don’t expect to relate with her in any way.
What if you come on another set and meet her there, what would you do?
[Laughs] Honestly, I don’t look forward to that. Not at all.
How has this year been for you?
This year isn’t exactly how I planned it. But whenever there seems to be a problem, there is always a blessing around the corner. I believe God is still working His wonders in my life. I believe that the coming months would be a lot better.
You are a very pretty lady, is Mr. Right around the corner?
[Thinks for a while]. No!
How come it took you a while to arrive at that answer?
Of course, I know it would lead to other personal questions. So to be on the safe side, let me just say No to save us the stress.
How do you cope as a single lady?
[Laughs] I sleep with my blanket, that’s all.
For you, what makes an ideal man?
For a good start, I am so scared of marriage. So my ideal man is that very man that can convince me on the reasons I should get married to him. He should be able to tell me why I should spend the rest of my life with him.
You are scared of marriage?
My dear, these days you see people getting married today, they are apart the next morning. I keep asking myself what happened to the love they shared while dating. The worst part of it is that once they break up, they take to social media to air their dirty linens in public, which is very bad. It hurts me a lot.
Do you see yourself marrying an actor tomorrow?
I have never thought of that, but for now, I don’t think so. The job is hectic. I wouldn’t want anything that would jeopardise my marriage.
What if he tells you to quit acting?
Then he doesn’t love me, if not why would he tell me to stop acting?
He can’t tell me to stop acting. If he loves me enough, he should be with me, support my job. Well, I can agree to give a break, have kids, raise them and then come back.
We heard you once had an affair with ex-president, Olusegun Obasanjo, is that true?
I was in NewYork. I went to do something for the United Nations. The event was graced by different presidents from different countries. The ex-president was there too, so for crying out loud, I had to work with him. We took lots of pictures together, but it wasn’t just me. Some other people took pictures with him too. I wonder why anyone will say that. Well, I guess it is part of the showbiz, people would always talk. So, let them keep talking.