- ‘I don’t dress to be centre of attention’
Ebuka Obi-Uchendu is not just the good looking host of Big Brother Naija Reality Show. He is also the face of the the Big Brother brand. Many housemates have come and gone, some forgotten but Ebuka remains the personality that is constant. His personal style is one of the qualities many wormed up to the charming host. Over the years, Ebuka’s fashion and style has evolved on the big screen. The man who pioneered the Agbada style frenzy is one of the deities to consult when it comes to fashion, what to wear and how to wear it. In this interview with IFEOMA ONONYE, Obi-Uchendu speaks about his Law degrees and what is happening to the certificates and why Big Brother reality shows have been successful
You have not been spotting earrings before. When did you pick up this trend?
I will say it’s part of evolving. I turned 40 this year and I decided to start doing things that I wouldn’t usually do. I know people say that I don’t look my age. I mean, if I don’t do it now, I don’t know when else I would. They say, live begins at 40. So, basically, it’s like my life has been reinvented now. It’s just to do interesting things. Once in a while, I wear the earrings. Other times, I don’t.
Would you also blame it on the fact that you are mostly in showbiz?
Yes! I host several other shows. I have a show on Channels TV called ‘Rubbing Minds’. You would not see me wearing earrings on ‘Rubbing Minds’for example. So, it depends on the circumstances of the event that I am hosting.
You are a certified lawyer. What is happening to that certificate?
It’s still there. I am an entertainment Lawyer. I got a Masters Degree in Entertainment Law, which doesn’t need me to go to court. So, I do use it once in a while. I have worked with artistes in contracts. I have reviewed a few contracts here and there.
With the kind of work that I do, the legal profession needs your full attention as well. So, it is not something I can completely leave my work for but it has been something that has been there. It’s a certificate I worked very hard for. I have four certificates in Law and I don’t intend on throwing them out anytime soon.
The law career and the career as reality television show host, which would you say gives you more money?
What I am doing now gives me more money. It’s why I left law in the first place. When I tried practicing before and realised that my salary was not healthy enough, I had to leave it. Hopefully, I can make more money anytime I go back.
Which other career would you say you have passion for. I have heard Psquare say they played football at some point before music took over?
I did play basketball back when I was in the secondary school but I don’t know if I was good enough to make money from it. So, I didn’t try it out. I dreamt of being a pilot at one point in my life. I am presently doing what I love.
About your personal style, what comes to mind when you want to dress up?
Comfort is paramount to me. It doesn’t sound interesting to people but that is what I go for. I need to be comfortable. I like when I am walking into somewhere, I am confident in what I am wearing and people understand that I am not necessarily trying to be the centre of attraction but at the same time, command the attention that matters. Ultimately, it’s comfort that works for me.
You pioneered many colours that are tagged not to be for men, like yellow, pink, wine red. Have you had people tell you certain colours you wear are not manly?
I didn’t care. Who made the rules anyway? Women have always worn trousers but men can’t wear skirts. It doesn’t mean that I am going to wear skirts. But who decides who wears what colours?
I believe there is a reason the colours exist. And I have never bothered about what people think about me. I wear what makes me happy and that is all.
You been the host of Big Brother for a couple of years now. Is there something you are doing differently that has kept you on the show this long?
I don’t know about doing things differently but I guess when you are doing something good and you are doing it well enough, I guess people appreciate it. I am very honoured and privileged to be part of what I call the biggest show on the continent. You know that when Big Brother is on, the country almost shuts down. It is testament to the fact that I am doing something good. There are other people who are doing great as well. I am sure if they have the opportunity, they would also put their best foot forward.
What do you enjoy most about hosting Big Brother?
Being able to connect to people across the continent and even internationally now because we broadcast across the United Kingdom in the last two seasons. And also watching these human beings evolve. When you watch these housemates going on the show and see how they turn out after the show, it’s always very fascinating for me and it is a testament to the fact that we all as human being enjoy watching people.
Whether we like it or not or pretend that we don’t, we like to watch people. The reason the show is as big as it is, is because we like to watch human beings and we all have one or two housemates that we might identify with. That is why the show is relatable. You might say, if I were this housemate, I would have played my game this way or that way.
Have you ever had a favourite housemate who you really wish could win the show?
Of course, I am a human being. I always have a favourite every season but it is my job not to let that affect my work. I will be lying if I say I don’t have a favourite.
Has any of your favourites ever won the show?
I once spoke about my favourite relationship. Let me talk about that. My favourite friendship in the last season was Bryan and Daniella. They were very good friends. It is often common to see a guy and a girl who are just friends to connect on that level without anything romantic and I really like that. It doesn’t mean they were my favourite housemates. I just enjoyed their level of friendship.
Which among the personalities you have invited on Rubbing Minds gave you the most pleasure?
I have had a few people that were interesting and one of the few that stands out is Reminisce, the artiste. I always say that because I underrated his intelligence which is a very bad thing. He came on and he talked about a range of things.
It was a testament to the fact that interviews are always a good thing. You know, you judge people based on their work and not necessarily understanding how their mind works. I sat down with him and I was just blown away at how smart the guy is which is why I enjoyed having him.
When you clocked 40, your wife said you know a bit about everything. How were you able to develop yourself to be that versatile?
I am an extremely curious person. I used to read a lot but I don’t read a lot anymore but I watch a lot of things on television. I watch everything, news, cartoons, movies, and documentaries, reality shows all with the same level of interest.
And one thing I have, is a curious mind and gathering information.
You are one of the best dressed media personalities. How did you get your fashion sense from?
I have no idea. Nature, my parent maybe. It’s something that has evolved over time and I just realized that how you present yourself is very important.
What are your expectation about the forth coming Big Brother Titans?
I am looking forward to the interaction among housemates from the two countries and how they would relate in the house. I also look forward to viewer’s reaction to it as well. It should be an interesting season to watch.
Tell us your thoughts about Big Brother Titans..
Big Brother Titans is about two countries coming together. These are the two countries on the continent that have had their own Big Brother.
This is saying, you have done three seasons of Big Brother in South Africa and we have done several seasons of Big Brother Naija. Let’s see what happens when both come together for one unique season.
It’s an experiment, but also I feel like every season of Big Brother is like an experiment. You throw strangers into the same house and expect entertainment, which is what we are hoping to achieve this time.
What should Nigerians and South Africans look out for in this Big Brother Titans?
We have a very healthy rivalry on so many fronts. Whether it’s music, fashion, football. I know that will extend to this. I call it a healthy rivalry because we strive to better in a good way. So, I know it’s going to be entertaining.