Onyinye Muomah of NEXT recently interview Big Brother Africa 2010 winner, Uti Nwachukwu. Check out the interview below.
Uti Nwachukwu first came to limelight as a housemate on the third edition of international TV reality show, Big Brother Africa. After getting evicted, in that edition, the 28 year old was called back by the show producers to be part of the 2010 edition which was tagged ‘All Stars’ .Despite having to deal with news of his father’s death during the run of the show, Nwachukwu remained in the game and went on to win the $200,000 prize money. The actor, musician and TV personality tells us about the life lessons he gleaned from his experiences in the Big Brother House, controversies with other housemates, his romance with fellow ex-housemate Sheila Kwamboka and his latest projects.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I’m the last child in a family of 4 girls and 2 boys. I grew up in Ughelli and Sapele (Delta state) and moved to Lagos in 2005. I attended Igbinedion Education Centre, got a Diploma from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Education from Benson Idahosa University, Benin City.
Prior to appearing on Big Brother Africa for the first time, what were you doing?
I was just a student with huge dreams of making a mark in the entertainment industry. I was into modelling and I featured in a few (TV) series. It was all about the entertainment hustle.
What inspired you to be part of the show and what did you hope to achieve from it?
I remember sitting at home one day with my sisters watching the daily high lights of Big Brother South Africa. I asked, what is this Big Brother all about? From then on, I was roped in. I had never seen such a platform where you could be exposed and air your views. I decided that if this ever came to Nigeria I would want to be part of it. It was a chance to launch my career in entertainment.
Going back the second time, was it a difficult choice to make?
Of course! I kept telling myself that after the controversy surrounding my participation in the last BBA it would be awful if I didn’t win. I was so scared and unsure but made sure I kept a positive mind.
What were you doing in between the two editions?
After the first one, a lot of doors opened for me. I started anchoring events, I starred in two movies, anchored a TV show and toured some parts of Africa. I also graduated at the top of my class with a 3.9 GPA.
Was it a tough decision you made remaining in the show despite the news of your father’s death?
It wasn’t a tough decision. I was going to leave, plain and simple. The (show) producers gave me an option to leave when it was time for the funeral and to come back afterwards if I wanted to. My family called the producers to let them know.
We had a monitored conversation and all agreed on this. but nature was on our side. There was a bad case of flooding (back home) so the funeral was pushed forward to November which fell after the show.
How did you cope in the House from that time on?
It was God that got me through it. I guess being away made it seem like a dream so it was easier to shut my brain down as opposed to being back home mourning with the rest of the family. I broke down so many times but I prayed each time and managed to pull through.
Why did you attack Mimi so much in the BBA3?Was it part of the game or did you simply hate her guts?
(Laughs) Mimiii!!! She attacked me first. I’m like a boomerang. What you throw at me is what you get. It was part of the game, adding more fun and drama to it. I don’t have hatred in me. No way! The good thing is that we are now great friends and she treats me really well anytime I am in Ghana. I love that girl. She is a strong woman and I admire her drive and courage.
Are you still in close contact with anyone from either of the editions?
Sheila, of course. Ricco, Mimi, Lucille, Lerato, Liz, Meryl, Mwisho, Jen, Kaone, Kweku T, etc! We are all still good friends.
Are you dating Sheila?
(Pauses) You all know by now that is the last thing I’m going to talk about to the press.(Laughs) Let’s leave it at: we are very close friends, we keep in touch constantly and support each other.
Has your relationship been met with any opposition from friends and family based on her sexuality (she has claimed to be bisexual)? Also did her sexuality initially serve as a deterrent to you?
First of all, I do not come from a judgemental family. I do not judge people and most definitely do not hang around people that judge others so no one is going to chastise her because of her background. It’s what is inside that counts and she is a wonderful human being. I always saw beyond her sexuality. And that goes for any other person I’ve known and come to respect.
Apart from the money and fame what else have you gained from the Big Brother experience?
Knowledge- especially about stereotypes and typical human behaviour. I have also grown spiritually. Faith is the strongest weapon ever and anyone that knows how to use it will surely excel.
What has been the downside of your fame so far?
No downs! I’m loving my life and I’ve never been so happy. Thank you God.
What are you currently into?
I’m a presenter for the newest and biggest show in Africa right now- JARA. It is an entertainment news show focused on Nollywood. My co-host Helen Paul makes the job really fun and easy. The response has been amazing. People have moved on from calling me Uti BBA to Uti JARA!! It’s surprising how people accepted the show so quickly and we are entirely grateful for that. Apart from that, I have been offered movie roles and I still anchor shows. I was also made a tourism ambassador for Cross River state and youth ambassador for Delta state. So it has been work work work.
What about your foray into music? Is music a big thing for you, something you would like to parley into a career?
Music was my first love so yes it’s big for me and that is why I’m not going to rush into it. I’m going to take my time so that I’ll get the best. I’m eclectic so I’m into all genres as long as it sounds really good! I have currently have four singles out: ‘Go Down’, ‘Once in my Life’ (feat. Mtrill), ‘Nuwa’ (feat. Ken Okolie) and ‘Teddybear’ (Churchill Feat. Uti)
Who has been your inspiration?
My parents. They always made me know that I was special and expected the best without pressuring me. God knows I miss my father every hour of each day. I wish he was here to see all this. My mum is so proud. I speak to her as often as possible.
What more should we be expecting from you in the nearest future?
A lot! This is just the beginning of great things to come. Can’t you see? Just when it seems like God is through with me, he shocks and inspires everyone once again with my life.I can’t imagine the next thing God is going to use to shock and inspire people concerning me. I am so grateful for all He has done for me and I’ll always put HIM first!
© 2010 NEXT/Timbuktu Media