Nkiru Umeh had been building her beauty brand, AngelNikky Beauty Complex, for four years. But a few hours of fire was all it took for it to go away. Still, the Nollywood actress remains positive.
On March 15, Abule Ado, a part of Lagos State was rocked by an explosion. The explosion led to the loss of many lives and properties, the Nollywood actress, who has starred in films like “Egg Seller,” “Who Won the Battle?” and “The Judgment,” one of those to suffer tragic losses.
Still, Nkiru is one person who is grateful to have survived. She lost her beauty complex and house that were not far off from the site of the blast, Bethlehem Girls College, but she is resilient in her positivity.
Nkiru Umeh spoke to BellaNaija about her experience with the fire. How she’s been able to stay positive, how she’s now rebuilding her life, and what she’s most grateful for.
How long had the store been in existence before this incident happened?
The brand AngelNikky in the beauty industry has been in existence for 4 years in general. But the fashion line and the makeup line came into existence roughly two years ago, all in a rented apartment. Then in a quest to have all my businesses under one roof and also avert huge rentals, I built AngelNikky’s beauty complex which was officially opened on November 18, 2018, and my clothing line was also officially launched on that same day. Unfortunately, the thorns of life came piercing hard on me on March 15, 2020. I lost my family house and the beauty complex and all goods and properties worth over N200m to the Abule Ado explosion. So my beauty complex was barely a year and three months before the disaster.
Can you fill us in on what your brand is all about?
My brand, AngelNikky’s Clothier is all about fashion and style, we create, sketch, cut, tailor, design and style all types of wearable apparels for women and children. While AngelNikky’s Beauty Place and AngelNikky Cosmetics are about unisex beauty salon and spa, skincare, etc. AngelNikky’s makeup brand is also under this beauty and cosmetics. So generally the brand ANGELNIKKY is all about everything fashion and beauty.
As humans, even when we face tragedy, there’s sometimes a silver lining. Looking back, is there anything you’re grateful for?
I have so much to be grateful for, even though I lost my home, my complex, cars and all I had, I didn’t lose any life. God preserved my life and that of my family, properties can be replaced but a lost life cannot be retrieved. I am not in any way better than those that lost their lives that day. But here I am, alive and healthy with my family making plans to bounce back because I am alive. I will forever be grateful to God for this.
View this post on Instagram
My beauty complex and my house were directly opposite Bethlehem girls college and the explosion happened right in front of the school. Everything went down. I thank God for life. Still in shock to even talk but my anger is that the media houses and the government are lying to the public. All the same. It is well. I will narrate on this more when am out of shock. For now my hands are still shaking. God just showed me how special I am. How he loves my family, yes I lost 2 houses, 2 cars, all properties, cloths, shoes, AngelNikky Cosmetics goods worth close to 10m. My beauty complex and everything inside worth close to 50m and of course my resident mansion and properties inside which only myself and whoever have been to my house can tell how beautiful it was. Should we talk about my closet? If you know AngelNikky you can imagine AngelNikky’s closet. Fire took it. All it’s well is what I can say because I have my life, my husband, my children, my PA, my husband’s boys, we are all alive. By the grace of God, material things can be replaced. No one can replace life. Gratitude to God remains my attitude.
How has the business been since the incident, especially with the fact that it happened before Nigeria was on lockdown due to the pandemic?
All these happened at the worst time ever, during the global pandemic, losing my home and my business complex with everything in it. I was left with just what I wore on my body to church that day and nothing else, clothes, cars, goods, house, everything burnt to ashes in a twinkle and tight after that the COVID-19 lockdown happened.
The lockdown and restricted movement did not help at all, but God came through. Presently, by God’s grace, I have been able to resuscitate the fashion business a little to keep up with orders coming in from my old and new clients whose love depends solely on AngelNikky’s Clothier, I have to go keep them looking good while working on getting a convenient space to bounce back again in business. The beauty and cosmetics business is still on hold for now. Is all about the fashion brand for now.
How have you been able to remain positive since the accident?
Since the incident, I try as much as I can to remain positive, is not out of place to feel down sometimes especially when I have flashbacks of the episodes of that black Sunday. Is traumatic, but then again, when I remember those that lost their lives that day, I put myself together and say thank you, Jesus, for the testimony of not losing a life. God has been faithful. My husband my backbone and my children my inspiration.
I stay positive because I believe that whatever God gives is guaranteed not to fail, he spared our lives that day for a reason because it is indeed a miracle that my family survived. We narrowly escaped death as that explosion happened when we left for church. I am certain that God will surely replenish all I lost. If he can sustain my family, He will surely restore all I lost.
You’ve been quite active in promoting your brand. We admire your strength for this. Was there any time you felt like giving up? If yes, how did you get back up?
My brand is a God-given talent, I am on my lane of success, it is inbuilt, this incident has created an ambience of extreme determination than ever, my brand inspires a lot of people, I have fans who are always on the look to see my designs, If God could keep me, I will always be there to cheer my fans up through my brand. This is not a time to Give up. It doesn’t exist in my dictionary. I am even determined now more than ever.
What’s the plan for Nkiru Umeh moving forward?
Well, God has plans for me; I rely on God for that while I work hard for the almighty to bless the work of my hands. The way He will do it, I do not Know. But I am sure everything will play out well in my favour to the glory of God. God knows everything.
Also, when are we seeing Nkiru, the Nollywood actress on our screens?
My journey in Nollywood has been off and on or rather in between long breaks to balance wife duty, mummy duty and businesswomen duty to make sure all gets the best of my time. My family first in everything I do. My passion for acting is still burning big time because I am a damn good actor and I know it. So I am an actor for life.
Last year I had a knee injury that I had to undergo a knee surgery a few months ago to treat the injury which was the major reason for the recent long break from Nollywood as I am still recovering from the knee surgery, I have three scripts with me at the moment so I will be back on set soonest.