Chuey Chu is a 25-year-old Pulse TV presenter, model and MC based in Nigeria. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He moved to the U.S at the age of 16 in January 2008. He took a course in Civil Engineering at North Dakota State University. Prior to moving to the U.S., he attended International School University of Lagos, which is popularly known as ISL. He moved back to Nigeria to pursue a career in the media industry. Chuey Chu is becoming a household name in his country.
Phyllis Ntim: Why are you working in the media industry and not in the civil engineering industry?
Chuey Chu: I have a passion for people, media, communication and entertainment. While I attended North Dakota State University, I was doing a bunch of media-related stuffs. I worked for a radio show and wrote for my former university school’s newspaper. I hosted a lot of events throughout my college years. It wasn’t like I jumped into it all of a sudden. I did some acting as well.
Phyllis Ntim: Yeah. I saw a picture of a stage play on your Instagram page.
Chuey Chu: Yeah. I’ve been acting since I was three years old.
Phyllis Ntim: And for the radio?
Chuey Chu: It was called 96.9 KNDS. I hosted a show called the Green Mic Show. Not a lot of hiphop music was played on radio stations in the state that I lived in. So I tried to bring more hiphop. I didn’t do the show for long because my program would regularly conflict with American football live broadcast games and people were more interested in that.
Phyllis Ntim: So why did you move back to Nigeria?
Chuey Chu: I was working as an engineer in North Dakota and then I got signed to a talent agency in New York. My visa only allowed me to work as an engineer. I wasn’t really enjoying my job as an engineer. I was making money but I wasn’t happy. When I’m home in Nigeria, I have a bigger freedom of choice with regards to career choices. I’m literally making money ten times less but I’m ten times happier.
Phyllis Ntim: But anyways, you love doing what you do.
Chuey Chu: Yeah. If you do what you love in the arts industry, you don’t make a lot of money immediately but down the line, it comes rolling in. So you’re making as much as an engineer then.
Phyllis Ntim: Tell me about how your journey started in the media and entertainment industry,
Chuey Chu: I realized that I was good at hosting shows after I graduated from the university. It wasn’t really working out for me in North Dakota with regards to frequency of opportunities. I wasn’t really saving clips of my past performances or posting them on social media. I went to shows and just left. I literally started from zero when I moved back to Nigeria. I went for tons of acting auditions. I only got one role but I ended up not doing it due to organizational conflicts. Some people can really be disorganized. So I spent a year doing my NYSC program. During that time, I did some networking, working freelance as a hype man to hosting events. I spent a lot of time on networking and going to places. If I see an event, I go there. By luck, I ran into a guy named Rich Tanksley at a show I was hosting. He knows me for a while now so he knows my story. After I didn’t get the job from a radio station in Abuja, where I did an audition, I went to Lagos to try my luck. I stayed there for a few days, during which I had visited Pulse and hung out there as well as applying for a job there. I was heading back to Abuja when I got a message that I was being offered a position at Pulse TV. I didn’t really believe it. When I was on my way to the airport, I got a call from the radio station based in Abuja, where I had auditioned to join, but they wanted to send me to a different location further north. I was offered positions on the same day. Obviously, Lagos is a no-brainer. I accepted the job Rich offered me and the rest is history.
Phyllis Ntim: For how long have you been working for Pulse Nigeria?
Chuey Chu: The end of February 2016 will make it ten months.
Phyllis Ntim: How is it like working for a renowned media house?
Chuey Chu: It’s great. It’s a growing brand.
Phyllis Ntim: For how long has Pulse been in existence?
Chuey Chu: Three years.
Phyllis Ntim: I got to know of the company last year.
Chuey Chu: Same here. I actually realized that I came across them before once when I was browsing the web. I attended an event where I was on a red carpet with a Pulse background. I only really knew about Pulse when I got the job offer.
Phyllis Ntim: How did you come up with the term ‘Chop Knuckle’?
Chuey Chu: I didn’t come up with the term. It’s a term that has been used a lot in Nigerian slang. It’s used a lot in social conversation circles.
Phyllis Ntim: Why did you decide to use that term on Pulse TV?
Chuey Chu: I use it in general. I guess when you understand your market, you understand what the target group likes. You do it to entertain people. You see stuffs they like. I noticed that they love ‘Chop Knuckle’. I was like: ‘Okay. Let’s run with it’.
Phyllis Ntim: So for how long have you been using it in interviews?
Chuey Chu: It’s been a longtime. The ‘Chop Knuckle’ term has been used in the very early episodes of Pulse TV Strivia. I think the first time I used it in an episode was when I asked a guy to spell aeroplane. I actually put that video on Instagram as the first Chop Knuckle video, as a throwback. He spelled aeroplane like ‘E-A-R-O-P-E’ or something like that. I saw the reactions on social media and I found it cool.
Phyllis Ntim: How do you manage to keep a straight face when you interview someone that says something funny?
Chuey Chu: That’s a million dollar question. When I’m rich enough, then I’ll answer that question.
Phyllis Ntim: What was the funniest experience that you had when you interviewed people?
Chuey Chu: There are many. I don’t know whether I can name one above the other but I definitely have a bunch of top rated ones. There was a guy that I asked about what he thought of the fuel scarcity. He said that he likes fuel scarcity. He likes the way they do their things. There’s only so much you see in 15 seconds. In the full episode, you’ll see that I actually told him that that isn’t what fuel scarcity is. It wasn’t totally his fault. I think it was due to the flow of the interview which got him confused.
Phyllis Ntim: I watched a 15-second video of that interview on IG.
Chuey Chu: I dropped two versions. One was when I finally told him what fuel scarcity is about. The full episode is on Youtube.
Phyllis Ntim: What is the worst experience that you had when you interviewed people?
Chuey Chu: Every experience was great but the one which was the worst or the craziest is when I told a guy to spell “their”. This episode was never released. He answered the question wrongly. I told him: ‘Chop Knuckle’. Then I told him that he failed. He didn’t know who I was then. When I told him that he answered the question wrongly and I gave the correct spelling, he started to freak out. He said: ‘No no no no! Delete it!’, at the market. ‘I’m going to call soldier. I’m going to make noise. Delete it!’, he said. My cameraman and I told him that if we delete it, we would have to delete everything we shot on that day. He said: ‘I don’t care. Delete it!’. Then I told him: ‘Dude, it was just for fun’. We still had to delete it though.
Phyllis Ntim: What are your plans for this year?
Chuey Chu: I will improve myself. Besides Pulse TV Strivia, I would like to do something different.
Phyllis Ntim: Which celebrities have you interviewed on Pulse TV?
Chuey Chu: A lot.
Phyllis Ntim: Name some of them.
Chuey Chu: Don Jazzy, Dr. Sid, Tiwa Savage, Adekunle Gold, Seyi Shay, Emma Nyra, Alex Ekubo to mention a few.
Phyllis Ntim: What is your advice to people that want to work in the media industry?
Chuey Chu: They should be patient. I think some people at my age are impatient. Work in the media industry for the right reason.
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