I almost ran mad the day my videos went viral –Miss Ezeani
Ezeani Chinaza, popularly known as Miss Ezeani, is a 21-year-old online content creator with a following of over 76,000 on Instagram. She told Timileyin Akinkahunsi how the ideas behind her viral skits are conceived including the challenges she has faced so far.
Your following on Instagram grew so fast, how did your journey into comedy start?
I never really thought I was funny at first. I just started recording myself while talking and posted them on Instagram; I never expected that it will take me this far.
I used to post videos a few years ago but I stopped during the last strike by university lecturers because I was supposed to proceed with my final clearance in school. But when the strike action lingered, I had to resume posting videos to keep myself busy. The strike gave me enough time to explore and develop my skills in this area.
When I started performing skits a few years back, my friends used to encourage me to stay consistent because I used to procrastinate a lot. Making a good skit can take close to eight to 12 hours. That is how tedious it is.
How would you describe your childhood?
I was a very curious and inquisitive child. I would read books beyond my age and go to places I wasn’t supposed to go to as a child. I was the only child of my parents for 14 years before my mother had my younger brother.
What inspires the content of your skits?
I am very observant, so when things happen around me, most of the time, I end up performing a skit out of them.
For example, there was a skit I made about different types of secretaries you meet in an office. That skit was inspired by the treatment I got from a woman I met in my lecturer’s office in school on a particular day. She complained about my nails and hair, so in my mind, I was just smiling because I knew I was going to make a joke out of it on my Instagram page.
Many people have similar content as yours; have you ever been accused of plagiarism?
Yes, several times. When I started initially, people were accusing me of trying to copy a popular female comedian on Instagram. I am aware of the fact that she is very talented but I never had any intention to be like her.
Your skits are usually centred on the character of an African mother, Mummy Chinasa, is this character a reflection of your biological mother?
My mother is actually a very cool woman. African mothers have similar character traits, so I just exaggerate some of their traits for humour sake.
When I was growing up, my mother was very strict with me as an only child. I think she didn’t want to pamper me. When I grew older, she changed and became lenient. She is like my sister and friend now.
How does she react when she sees your skits?
She laughs over them and she is very proud of me. Her friends always tell her they see my skits all over the social media. Hearing this makes her very happy.
Which of your videos shot you into prominence?
That would be my skit about how Nigerian movies portray grass to grace stories. The video was reposted by most of the major blogs on social media.
When my posts went viral on famous platforms I almost ran mad, I couldn’t believe it.
What kind of doors has social media opened for you?
I have had the opportunity of meeting people I wouldn’t have met if I was not a content creator. Many celebrities in the entertainment industry have reached out to me personally to tell me they like what I am doing. These feedbacks are encouraging and make me very happy.
Some people have described you as the “Mercy Johnson” of comedy skits, has she ever been your role model in any way?
She has always been my role model. While I was in secondary school, people used to call me by her name. I was referred to as a drama queen and subconsciously this made me look up to her. I just love the way she handles everything about her career and family.
Would you say you have made an impact on people’s lives through your videos?
Yes, I get that every day; people always thank me for helping them out of depression and making them smile.
There was a social gathering I attended recently, I was overwhelmed by the kind of love I received from the people I met there. It was a very emotional moment for me.
Have you ever been a victim of online bullying?
There are cyber bullies everywhere. There was this particular man that used to insult me for not being original when I just started. I took his insults as a challenge to push me further. The irony is that currently, he is always begging me to repost his videos on my page to gain more traffic. He doesn’t know I can remember him, but I do.
Some people even go to the extent of calling me ugly, but it doesn’t get to me.
What has been your worst experience on social media?
When I started, it was discouraging because I used to have a low number of views and comments on my page, but it has improved now.
What are some of the efforts you put into shooting your skits?
Sometimes, I have to move out of my comfort zone to make some of my skits. I use my phone to record my videos with the aid of a tripod. I am always indoors, so it gives me enough time to shoot. I use my mother’s clothes when I need to act as a mother in my skits.
There are many comedians on social media, what makes you different?
I am not trying to compete with anyone. I was just doing this for fun when I started, I didn’t begin with the aim of gaining a huge following on social media.
What kind of feedback do you get from your family and friends?
They are always proud of me, even though when I started some of them didn’t support me. They would always watch my videos without dropping a comment.
However, when it was obvious that I was going somewhere, they came around me.
Have you ever had any reason to block anyone?
Yes, I have done this a few times. There was a time someone dropped a very harsh comment on one of my posts. The annoying aspect was that another person went directly to that same comment and started laughing. I had to block that person immediately.
What has been your most controversial post so far?
There was a post I made about different types of people having their bath during the Harmattan season. I was wearing a black sleeveless while I was shooting and when I posted the video, people thought I was actually naked. I tried to explain to them that I wasn’t but they didn’t believe, so I had to leave them to their thoughts.
Have you ever considered quitting social media?
In some of your videos, you usually use the Igbo and Yoruba accent in a humorous way; have you ever being lambasted for doing this?
Yes, there was a time a lady told me my Igbo accent was deep, I replied her that I am Igbo and can’t have a British accent.
Everybody has an accent; I am Igbo, so I should have the accent.
There was a skit you made about failing Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Senior School Certificate Examination, was that from a personal experience?
No, it was from a friend’s experience.
There was another video you did about African mothers sending WhatsApp broadcast messages, was that from your personal experience?
Yes, my mother believes most of the broadcast messages she reads on WhatsApp. She still believes that if I answer phone calls in the kitchen, something bad might happen.
How much do you spend on data and do you edit your videos yourself?
I spend a lot of money on data but I have made a reasonable amount of profit from my contents.
Yes, I edit my skits on my phone and laptop.
Have you ever wished your popularity on social media was the same in real life?
Indeed, I used to wish I was popular in real life as I am on social media. Even at that, it is getting difficult to handle the little fame the Internet has given us.
How has fame changed your lifestyle?
There are some things I can’t do anymore because I am scared of being recorded by someone else and being put on the Internet. If I get angry with someone in public, for example, I can’t just react anyhow.
Do you get a funny request from men?
Yes, a lot. Some of them tell me they want to pay for me to come over to their place and have sex. A few of them even clearly state it that they want to get me pregnant.
There was skit you did about the struggle to lose weight, have you ever had to battle with staying fit?
I can be a fitness enthusiast but anytime I stop, it is always difficult getting back to full fitness.
You are currently waiting to undergo the compulsory one year National Youth Service Corps programme, do you have plans of getting a job after that or intend to expand on what you currently do?
I don’t have plans to dump my Instagram page; I started it because it was fun for me. I actually wanted to act in Nollywood at some point but things didn’t go as planned for me.
For now, I am happy with what I am doing and we’ll see about the future.