Chiwetel Ejiofor British-Nigerian actor believes Igbo name helped his career progress

Chiwetel Ejiofor has said he believes his Igbo name helped push his career forward.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor play

Chiwetel Ejiofor

(Jordan Strauss-Invision-AP)
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The Londorn-born 38-year-old actor, said he was advised to change his surname to get better roles, but he refused to do so and he believes it gave him more opportunities.

Chiwetel Ejiofor said:

"I couldn't understand what the problem was. I mean, bring it on. Let's do that!

They seemed to think it was a negative, but it allowed me to work in Africa, in England and in the States.

I didn't think I had a chance of being a film actor. My focus was trying to get into the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) or the National Theatre. The thought of being a star never occurred to me.''

READ: Chiwetel splits with model girlfriend

Speaking with Red Magazine, he said his mother wasn't initially happy with his ambitions:

''I got good grades, so she wanted me to go to university at least. But at 15 I was quite wilful and demanding. I got a scholarship to MALDA and said I'd support myself with this job and that. It was a fait accompli, you know.''

READ: Chiwetel spotted with mystery woman after breakup

The '12 Years A Slave' star's sister, Zain Asher, is a news anchor for CNN, a job he admits he isn't cut out for.

He said: ''I'm too sensitive to do what my sister does. She's interacting with the reality of the social and political world. It would drive me completely nuts.''

Talking about what he'd like to name his daughter, he said:

"There’s an Igbo name, Obianuju, it’s a girl’s name. The translation is ‘to come into a place where there is plenty. For me, it has always been the most beautiful name to call a child. Because we have enough, we have plenty."

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