Sapele, Delta-born beauty queen and screen siren, Gwen Ello Okutele is passionate about youth literacy, the welfare of widows, orphans and the less privileged. The pretty role interpreter achieved a life-long dream last year when she was crowned the winner of the maiden Miss Nollywood Nigeria; and that’s in addition to her being the Face of Niger Delta – a beauty queen indeed.
In this chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the recently-engaged student of Ekiti State University (where she is studying Business administration) spoke about how she combines schooling and her career, her crowns, engagement, her passions and more
What do you have in your hands right now career wise?
I am presently on a movie set that will be out in a couple of weeks.
What are some of the movies you’ve featured in, and which is the biggest for you?
I have featured in several movies, including Jack n Jill, featuring Aki and Pawpaw; Men in love featuring Tonto Dike, John Dumelo and Muna Obiekwe; My Fantasy featuring Tonto Dike, Ajibola Dabo, Unthinkable featuring Jim Lawson. I will say all of them have their own uniqueness and come across as big to me.
Which Nollywood stars have you worked with that have left an impression on you?
I am a very careful person and consequently take my time to observe people a lot. This has made me to see the beautiful and interesting qualities of anyone that I work with. I will say majority of the people I have worked with have impacted positively on me in one way or the other and this comes across as memorable to me.
What’s your unique selling point as an actress?
My quick wit and ability to interpret roles spontaneously.
What is life as an upcoming actress like; do producers, directors sometimes look down on you?
Though it is always the same for all upcoming actors and actresses, however, my case has always been a little different in the sense that meeting me for the first time easily makes directors and producers see the uniqueness of my personality. And this has really helped me alot.
Who are those you look up to in the industry?
Regina Askia, Agbani Darego and Genevieve Nnaji
Let’s talk about your crown. What was the first thing that flew through your mind when you were announced winner?
I felt on top of the world and had a sense of accomplishment because I had fulfilled my childhood dreams of becoming a beauty queen. I have always desired to be a beauty queen right from my childhood.
What has life been like as the maiden winner of Miss Nollywood Nigeria?
Though this was my second crown, the first being the maiden edition of Face of Niger Delta where I won the coveted crown, however being Miss Nollywood Nigeria has opened alot of doors for me and has consequently enabled me to be strategically positioned in the middle of God’s plan and purpose for me, which is to make light the burden of widows, orphans and less privileged.
Tell us more about your campaign to promote literacy among youths?
I strongly believe in the power of education. Education is what brought me this far and I believe it is the natural equaliser between the rich and poor. So, when the youths become literate by being adequately empowered with education, a lot of vices and challenges will be eradicated or brought to its minimal state for our common good.
Congratulations on your recent engagement. How does it feel?
Thank you very much. It honestly feels good, the way and manner he proposed was really shocking. Before I knew it, we became trending on the social media for weeks. I even got calls from my friends in the UK and US as a result of this.
How did you meet?
We are from the same town. And we met by divine arrangement when I was contesting for the Face of Niger Delta in 2013. We lost contact until we met again and struck off immediately and like they say, the rest is history. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He supports and encourages me. And we complement each other. I give God the glory for giving me my own.
What was that thing that attracted you to him?
His genuineness and simplicity got me attracted to him.
When should we expect wedding bells?
Very soon, by the grace of God.
How are you preparing for life as a married woman?
I grew up with my mom and grand mom, this has naturally prepared me for womanhood.
How do you combine school and your career, must be tough?
Yeah, though combining school and my career has been very tough, however, I always find my way around somehow because of my love and passion for both school and my career.
Are you treated any differently in school being an actress and beauty queen?
Though I experience it sometimes, however, since I am a very easy-going and down-to-earth person, I blend easily with my course mates and school mates as well.
Finally, tell us about yourself, your family, background?
Like you already know, I am Her Eminence, Queen Gwendolyn Eloho Okutele and my friends call me Queen Gwen Ello, I and my family are from the Adagbrasa clan of Amukpe village in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria.
I am 5.5feet tall. My parents are business oriented and I am their first child. I grew up in Sapele just like any other child from relative obscurity. My parents love me so much and they never hid it from me, they stood by me and are still standing by me all along, right from my primary school, to my college days at Davogha Model College Secondary School.
I read Mass Communications at the OND Level at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State and presently, I am a final year student of the Department of Business Administration, at the Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State. All this while, I still maintained a great relationship with my closely knit family. My family has been my pillar all along.
– MICHAEL NWOKIKE