Ebuka Obi-Uchendu says he didn’t plan to go into entertainment before he became the host of the Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) reality show.
The 39-year-old media personality recalled his humble beginning when he featured on Schick Magazine, a Lagos-based media brand.
In 2006, Ebuka went in as one of the 14 housemates on the first season of the now-popular reality show, finishing in eighth place. In 2017, he was announced as the host of the second season and has been in charge ever since.
Speaking of his outset, the media figure, who is also a lawyer, said: “I wasn’t really excited by Law practice at the time. I wanted to study for a Masters abroad. I saw an ad for this show with a $100,000 prize and that was all I needed.
“I had no plans to go into the media or entertainment industry; I just wanted to win the money and disappear!”
On his eviction, Ebuka said: “When I got evicted and saw the crowd outside screaming my name, I was like, wait, you mean this show is popular? I almost ran back into the House to re-strategise! It was very eye-opening.
“I was now also thrown into this world I knew nothing about; fame. I had to figure out how to make a life out of it.”
Ebuka stated that his first deal in the industry was with ‘Friend or Foe’, a game show that aired on NTA.
“Thankfully, there were a few people willing to take a chance on me and they should get a lot of the credit too because many others didn’t think I was worth betting on,” the TV presenter added.
“I think every TV host in Nigeria, if not the continent, always has an eye on hosting Big Brother. We continuously aspire to reach the top. So from the day I started hosting my first TV show in 2006, I started picturing it.
“I figured it would make for a great story, seeing a former housemate host the show. But I didn’t sit around feeling entitled to it. I got on with my work, believing the opportunity would come. So, when it came, I was fully prepared.”
I’ve never had a stylist… I’m completely in charge, says Ebuka
Ebuka has received a lot of acclaim from various quarters for his fashion choices, yet, said he doesn’t use stylists.
“I don’t mind [the acclaim]. I also don’t mind being known for being stylish; doesn’t harm me in any way,” he said.
“I just don’t want to be known only for that. I have a whole career with too many parts to simply be seen as ‘the fashion guy’. As long as people appreciate it, but also recognise it as one of my many parts, I’m good.
“I’m completely in charge of all of it. I don’t have a stylist. Never really had one. I basically have ideas of what I want, have a conversation with the designers I like and we make it work.
“I’m not comfortable with letting someone else be in charge of my image, so I’m glad that I’m able to handle that.”
Ebuka also spoke about his marriage as well and how he met Cynthia Obianodo, his wife, on Twitter.
“We talk about any and everything. Nothing is off-limits and that honestly helps. We’re evolving into a true partnership and I’m hoping it can only continue. Still, a long way to go.
“It’s very tough on different levels. For me, I get very riled up when she is attacked or talked about. I’m very defensive and protective of her. For her, while she’s also defensive of me,
“I think it’s more the fact that she was suddenly thrust into this life without knowing what to expect, so it took her a while to come to terms with it. She still fully hasn’t, but it’s a lot easier now.”
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