Anita Alaire Afoke Asuoha is a Nigerian comedian, dancer and on-air personality, known by her stage name Real Warri Pikin.
She is one of the funniest comedienne currently making waves in the entertainment industry. Married to Ikechukwu Asuoha with two kids together, in this interview, she spoke on a whole lot of issues, including how she has enrolled her daughter in Taekwondo class to learn self-defence in the midst of high cases of rape in the country and how she has learnt to use low moments as fuel to grow her brand.
Most people know you by your stage name, Real Warri Pikin. Why go with a stage name instead of your real name and how exactly did you come into comedy?
I go by the name Real Warri Pikin because it’s a brand. I portray realness; I’m promoting my root where I come from, which is Warri, so I had to use a name that will tell a story. As to how I got into comedy, I have always been doing comedy passively while I was in the university, I was doing comedy and dance but I was doing the dance more like professionally because, I felt that was all there is and I was doing the comedy here and there but it wasn’t too serious. I know I had it in me but in 2018 I had to like say this to myself that, this is the thing trending online and this I can also do, why not do your own thing and that’s how I started doing comedy.
It’s really funny because whenever I tell this story, I laugh and it’s a testimony as well. In January 2018, Boss AY announced that he was coming to Abuja to shoot Merry Men 1 and that he needs over 300 extras, so I went for the audition in Transcorp Hilton. I was picked as one of the extras and I was in the first scene but you will not see me because, the waka pass role wey dem give me, dem use me take fill chair, at Ireti Doyle’s 50th birthday. But after that 2018, God buttered my bread and I met Boss AY and I told him that I was in Merry Men 1, and he goes “really?” Then he said he would make sure I got a speaking role in Merry Men 2.
As for the role being challenging, it wasn’t at all because I’m a natural and it was an amazing experience.
Between comedy and acting, which one are you more comfortable with?
I’m more comfortable with comedy than acting. I started respecting actors more when I was on Jenifa’s Dairy set, that was when I really did acting like back to back and I discovered it’s not easy. I can do both but I prefer comedy because it’s not as tedious as acting. In acting, it’s all about cut, action, let’s take wider shot, let’s take close up. No be small thing o! You need gas o!
Is it true that you are worth $400,000 (about N200 million)?
You burst my head with this question but don’t worry as God dey my back like hunchback and my street go soon get streetlight, no worry I go soon worth that amount and even pass am.
How did you meet your husband, Ikechukwu and how did he propose?
I met my husband in the church. I didn’t see him but he saw me because it was my first time in that church. He is an altar guard and so when they called me out as a first timer he saw me, I didn’t see him. So we later saw that day at the home cell, he happens to be my home cell leader. It’s a very long story but the bottom line is that I met him in July 2012; we got married after nine months. He proposed to me on my birthday, October 29th, and here we are today after eight years happily married, still happy.
You once said that you discovered your comedy talent through depression. Tell us more about it.
Like I said in 2018, I said let be explore this other part of me since it was what was trending and I could no longer dance like I used to. Something happened and I was depressed in 2018 and so I felt let me use the situation I went through to give hope to people but in a comic way. And then it began to make sense and this is where I am today.
To what extent has motherhood affected your career as a radio presenter, comedienne and actor?
Motherhood has affected my career as an OAP (on air personality), comedienne, an actor, it has affected my entire life, and motherhood changed me. I used to be very scattered, carefree, I don’t care. But once you are a mother you will know you are to be responsible for your kids, you know people are looking up to you. Marriage and motherhood have changed me and I know it has really influenced my career in a positive way.
What’s your greatest moment as an entertainer?
To be honest, I cherish every moment but the one that is by far better than other moments is when I hear testimonies from my fans, when they say stuff like – your message gives me hope, your message brought me out of depression, I was crying and then I saw your video and then I stopped crying, because of you I have hope in marriage, I have peace in my home because of you. You know when you hear things like this it just gives me this complete joy and I get it daily. So that keeps me going.
Have you ever had a low moment since you came into comedy?
Of course, you need both high and low moments in your life to grow. I do get those moments but I use them as fuel to grow. When I first came into the limelight, I got a lot of body shaming calls like – you are too fat and you see some ugly comments and then I realize that most of those people if you take a look at them properly, you will discover you are better than them. They are just keypads lords, when they see you in person they cannot say those things to you. I use to get low moments but then I built capacity over time and then use them as fuel to grow.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to you?
Funny question. You know because of my brand, my fans tend to put up this sort of energy when they see me because of the energy they get from my brand. So when they see me even if I am not in the mood, I must enter the mood. So I can remember one time, I went for an event at Transcorp Hilton and I had to use the rest room and this girl literally followed me to the rest room, she was so awe struck that she followed me inside the rest room, I was like can you at least allow me ease myself?
How would you define love?
My definition of love is patience, tolerance, and forgiveness. I don’t see love as perfect, I see love as bring your half and I bring my half and we become perfect. Love is sweet, love is selfless.
You talk a lot about husband as your support system; tell us more about that and how you keep your romance alive?
He is not just my support system, he is my team. Like when I say person dey my back like hunchback, Ikechukwu is that person. He is quiet, he doesn’t talk, he is not on social media but most of the things you see out there, his contributions are immense. You will see him chat with clients as if I am the one doing the talking, he is into it and I can say I wouldn’t have gone this far if Ikechukwu has not been this supportive. He supports me mentally, physically, emotionally especially that emotional part. With the kind of job I’m doing if you don’t have a supportive partner it will affect you. I mean he is with me… I don’t even know how to explain it. Ikechukwu is my support system, he does everything with me, gives me ideas, writes my script, he is everything.
What life lessons can you share for the benefit of women?
I will use my depression story because in this part of the world we come from, a lot is expected from women and so we have to take it easy. Na who first buy moto buy old model, new arrival for store today go turn to sales tomorrow. All I’m saying is that let’s not put pressure on ourselves, let’s take one day at a time, because whether you do or not people will still talk. Let’s take it easy on ourselves, people are different, people have different callings so don’t compare yourself with anybody, some people are born with backup and you may not have that back up and want to put pressure on yourself, so let’s take it easy on ourselves.
How was growing up like for you and did your parents influence your career choice?
Growing up for me was great. Funny enough the brand the Real Warri Pikin today wouldn’t have been if I didn’t come from Warri. I grew up in Warri with my parents and siblings. I take after my mum, her mannerism and everything and so I could say that my parents really influenced my career.
As someone from Niger Delta what’s your reaction to the revelations from the NDCC probe?
This NDCC matter is ugly. The same thing that late Saro Wiwa fought for us is repeating itself, it’s just ugly. But it’s good that they are exposing themselves, that is the first part of the revolution, this is what we have been praying for. There is a lot of detoxing, sanitizing of the system going on with these revelations and I know the people of the region will be the ones to smile at the end of the day.
How do you feel about these issues of rape that had skyrocketed especially with the COVID-19 pandemic?
This rape issue is a personal thing for me, I detest it, and my spirit forbids it. At the end of the day, when you see the way the society sees it especially when a woman is a victim, there is no law protecting the vulnerable especially the girl child, even the Child Rights Act is not all the states that have domesticated it, it’s just clear that we just have to protect our own as individuals. My daughter has started Taekwondo class for self-defence, and I am not joking. So before the government will wake up from its slumber, we need to wake up and protect our own. If you check now the perpetrators are familiar people, uncles, and aunties so trust no one. Create this environment for your children to tell you anything; you just have to protect them.
How has this pandemic affected your industry and how are you navigating through?
The entertainment industry is the worst hit by this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s no joke. But at the end of the day, we are creative, if one door closes another will open and we will navigate through no matter what. At the end of the day we will come out stronger, it’s the new normal and so we have no choice.
Where is your favourite holiday spot?
It’s my home with my children and husband. But it doesn’t mean I will not like to travel to Bahamas, Dubai, Paris but there is something about my home with Ikechukwu and my children, Jesus…