Chinonso Ibinabo Opara, popularly known as Kim Oprah, is a model, television presenter and entrepreneur. She is a former beauty queen and one of Big Brother Naija’s (BBN) Pepper Dem 2019 housemates.
Opara, born in Imo, has a degree in psychology, guidance and counseling from the University of Port Harcourt. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, Opara, who coined KIM for “Keep It Moving,” shares his passion for exploring travel as well as other projects.
Share with us your childhood and how it influenced your passion for what you do?
GROWING UP with a single mom really influenced my passion because I saw her overcome a lot of obstacles and struggles while being a nurse and an entrepreneur and raising children in our society. She had to do a couple of jobs to be able to put food on our table and make sure we had everything we wanted. So I have been working since I was young. I started buying and selling when I was in high school. Because I watched a lot of movies back then, I would buy DVDs for N200 each and then resell them for N150 after I finished watching them. So I’ve been in business for a long time. I had to learn to fend for myself from an early age. I am a goalscorer and determined.
Tell us about your name Kim Oprah. Why did you choose to stick with it?
I was obsessed with Kim Kardashian when I was in high school. Even now, I’m still obsessed. I didn’t have an English name. None of my siblings had an English name because our parents didn’t give us any. So I thought since I loved Kim so much, my nickname should be Kim. In fact, my friends gave me this idea. Also, in high school, they call your first and last name. So I was called Chinonso Opara at school. But when I started going by Kim, it became Kim Oprah. It’s combining the names of two powerful women from different industries and you can imagine what that means to me.
What prompted your decision to enter the BBN house and what do you consider to be your fun memories in the house?
Then I was directed by my friend and he suggested that BBN would be a platform for me to showcase my skills, for people to know about me so that I could get more jobs. I was already doing well, but I needed to progress faster in the industry. That’s how I went for BBN. One of my funny memories would be when I got the veto. It was one of my best times in the House because it felt like I had an authority figure and I love authority. It really made me happy.
As a multi-faceted person, how do you manage to hone your skills and perform at your best?
Honestly, being a jack-of-all-trades or being multi-faceted isn’t easy. Sometimes you don’t know which of your skills to take more seriously than the others and you end up leaving half projects in almost every skill you have. VJ Adams said something to me in the past when I was still trying to make my way in the industry. He said, “Once you master one skillfully and everyone knows you for that skill, it’s easier to slip into anything else you want to do”.
For example, everyone knows him as a presenter, then he got into music and then into acting. Now he is a DJ. It’s easy for him to break through because people had already seen that he could do it. So if he enters an industry, people will know he’s going to do well. I really like traveling because I have always loved to travel. I have these other skills as well, but right now I’m trying to harness my skills as a traveler.
A little bird tells us that you are about to launch your fashion, beauty and skincare brands. What does running a business look like?
On the low, I’ve been doing Kim’s Secret for a while but haven’t done an official launch for it. We are currently in the process of having a walk-in store and a walk-in spa. This would be the new project I’m involved in.
Who are your style icons?
My style icons would range from Kim Kardashian to Ciara, Michelle Obama and Melanie Trump. For me, it’s just like pieces of different things that I like from different people.
What does fashion represent for you?
Fashion, for me, is who you are, your way of life. This is how you can express yourself without having to speak. This is how you want to be treated and treated. Fashion is how you want people to relate to you.
What’s your style ?
I would say my style is chic and classy.
What is your most treasured fashion accessory?
I feel incomplete without my lip gloss.
What are your hobbies?
My first hobby is travelling, then watching movies because I’m a movie buff. I can watch movies from morning to night.
It’s Women’s Month and as a woman in the entertainment industry, what advice would you give to aspiring colleagues to break down the stigma?
Dare to be different, think outside the box. It’s good to follow the trends once in a while, but it’s very important to have your own identity in the crowd. Make sure your identity is known. Make sure you don’t hesitate or lose yourself in the struggle to succeed in this industry. More importantly, cling to God.