(aka Mo) is back for a guest run in Holby City. Here she chats to Yours about what makes her tick and why good manners are so important
Manners cost nothing
My parents were very strict on my brothers, sisters and I having manners. We’d walk into somebody’s house and, if you hadn’t said hello within two seconds, you’d get a glare. If you see someone that needs a seat, you get up. It’s important, but simple to be polite. It’s about respect. I learned my work ethic from them, too. My dad was an accountant, my mum was a midwife and now has a nursery. Their ethos was to work hard and always be gainfully employed.
Ignore clothes sizes!
Some of the best advice I’ve been given is about clothes. Helen Ashley, costume designer on Holby City, said: “It doesn’t matter what size it is as long as it fits well and you feel good.” There were times she’d buy me clothes and take out the label. We get so hung up on sizes, but what’s an 18 in one shop could be a 14 in another.
True friends are so precious
I’ve a friend called Akiya who, if I needed her, would drop everything, get in the car and come over. A true friend will always pick up the phone. A true friend will text out of the blue to check up on you – that’s been important when I’ve had bouts of depression. People text to say: ‘Just checking in on you today…’ They know not to call – there are times you really don’t want to talk – but a text that says: ‘I’m here when you need me’ is a sign they’re thinking of you. It means a lot.
Take people as they are
It’s scary how fast time flies. You haven’t got time to worry about whether people like you or not, or if you have a few wrinkles. In the grand scheme of things, nobody cares. Let it all go. I’ve stopped obsessing with my weight or what I look like, it just doesn’t matter. I think if someone doesn’t take you as you are then they are not worth being in your life.
Being trustworthy is a very important quality
I think three words that best describe me are animated, unpredictable and trustworthy. People say: ‘Don’t say anything, but…’ and they’ll talk about somebody else. I’d never tell the other person – I don’t think it would help. I don’t like creating conflict. I’m trustworthy in that way and also in a relationship. I’ve never cheated because I’d never want to be cheated on. Loyalty is important. And, as Judge Judy says: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to have a good memory.”
Laugh as much as you can…
… that’s my life philosophy. Have fun. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t wait until somebody dies to send them flowers. Save a bit of money, yes – we all need to pay the bills – but don’t hoard your money for a rainy day. It’s raining now. This world is just going to hell in a handcart, it really is, so while you can, enjoy your life.
■ Holby City is on BBC1, Tuesday evenings, 8pm
■ Chizzy was talking to Katherine Hassell
Back on the wards: Chizzy as surgeon Mo Effanga
Actress Chizzy Akudolu