Nollywood actress, Ifeoma Okeke named brand ambassador, talks about her ordeal in bad relationship
I’m Not Fighting For Marriage Again
Nollywood plus-size actress, Ifeoma Okeke has been unveiled as the first ambassador of indigenous health products manufacturer and herbal slimming formula, JOMS.
The Nollywood actress who was unveiled in Lagos also spoke about her ordeal while in a bitter relationship.
Speaking with The Guardian on her journey to becoming the ambassador and why she decided to slim down, she said, “I am one of those that hate climbing the stair; it’s one of the things I dread so much. In fact, if I go to the hospital, doctors and I always fight about climbing the scale. I would just tell the doctor, Oga, I am obese, and as long as you weigh over 120. We must tell ourselves the truth. We don’t want to tell ourselves the truth but when you get to the hospital you have to tell yourself the truth. I’m 5:85 by height, but my size will not let anyone know that I am tall.
I’m someone who is confident in her body, but I had to tell myself the truth for health reason. And since I started in October, I have dropped 10kg.
My doctor will tell me exercise makes the body firmer. First, you have to break the fat, and there are certain exercises you need to do to break fat, you can die in the gym and not coming down, but for me, I have never really wanted and I don’t want to be a slim girl, I just want to stay healthy and be alive.
Speaking on her depression and how she gained weight, the actress said, “I grew big out of depression; depression is real but we just shy away from talking about it. I was in a bad relationship and there was this pressure to settle down. I dated mostly Yoruba men, but that period, I met an Igbo man and I jumped at him as an Igbo guy, he came with his proposal, and I gave him my all, but men being who they are, it turned sour and battery came in. I tell everybody, ‘the truth is that you see the signs, you lie to yourself, I didn’t want to come out because the first problem you have is where do I start? Because it was a three years relationship. Everybody had already been calling me Mrs Obi. It was already taking a toll on me in the industry because that was when I was at my peak; I’d also invested so much in the relationship. I will be at the location and see his call asking me if he was not going to eat, and I immediate, I will jump on a bike from Epe to Festac, then I would cook, and immediately he finished eating, he would jump on his feet and tell me he’s going, I would beg him to stay with me, went to the door and pretend to prevent him from leaving, then he would pounce on me and after beating me, he would blame me that I made him to do so and I would still beg him. And as stupid I would be, when he beats me, he’d be like: “Jesus, I’ve never beaten a woman before. You just made me touch you.” I will go down on my knell and cry, begging him. And he continued. I keep telling people I never end a relationship because of cheating.
So, when that relationship ended, it was tough for me. It was bad. Picking up, I didn’t know how to start. I didn’t know what to do. I lost myself. I didn’t know if I should hide or run away. I was never drinking alcohol, but I became an alcoholic. I wasn’t coming out.
So for five years, I wasn’t dating. I was gone. He would some time beat me up and use my extensions wire to tie me up. My siblings will talk and I will shun them. Asking them to mind their business.
I don’t know the spirit that enters women that are being battered. You would be protecting him. He once dropped me on Third Mainland Bridge when we were going for the HipHop award because my phone rang. He said one of my exes called me.
He dropped me and left me on the bridge and said I dare not board another vehicle. He reversed and still picked me, we got to the event and he was cleaning my eyes when we got to the event.
That’s how traumatic it could be but that day, in May that year, you will not be the last person that may not get married, you can even be a second wife. You will not die. Just stand up and leave.” And I hated men for whatever they are. I moved without looking back.
So, when people see who is big, you don’t just abuse or body shame the person. Something must have happened. There is a process. I think that was what affected me and I learned to live with it.
So, and I got to this age again and I decided that I want to slim down. Not only that, but I want to stay healthy and this brand has helped me to reduce my weight, slim down and staying healthy.
I had a close friend who died recent. When I got to the house, they narrated how they were struggling to carry her from up where she was staying, while she was already struggling with her breath that night. Something just struck me, “Ifeoma, if you’re sick now, how will they manage to carry you out?” There’s this realisation point. I’ve never been bothered by my weight. I can do anything; I can stand for 24 hours. I’m that flexible with myself. But that struck me. I felt if she was a slimmer person, she could have survived.
Even after her death, I tried to shake it off. But I just woke up one day and I said to myself: “Ifeoma, don’t you think you should do something about this?”
And I just decided to go slimmer. It’s not marriage. I’ve come to that point where I’ve said that maybe marriage is not meant for everybody. It’s not about age. I’m not old. I’m not fighting for marriage again. I just want to have my child and be okay. So it’s not about marriage for me. It’s about living healthy and staying alive.
My doctor once told me that if I want to have a child, we can’t inject anaesthetics because of my weight”. So, if my doctor could tell me that I have to shed my weight, I have to checkmate.
On why she decided to sign the contract with the firm, she said, “I’ve seen companies producing slimming tea but uses my slim colleagues as ambassadors. This company has been around for about 10 years but I’m her first ambassador.
On her achievements in the industry, she said, “I got the best comedy actress in 2013. That was my first award and I didn’t see it coming. I went to Abuja for the Nigerian Goodwill ambassador because of my foundation. My foundation, Rachael Okpokpo Foundation (ROOF), is 22 years.
I won Best Star Award in London, Best Supporting Actress. I’ve won Best Comedian, Best actor in comedy too. I’ve won a lot of humanitarian awards.
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