For Cross, former BBNaija season six housemate, where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Despite enduring a difficult past, the 31-year-old socialite kept his cool during his stint on the ‘Shine Ya Eye’ edition and won the hearts of many lovers of the show with his charming personality.
His stay on the show was dominated by discussions about his relationship with Saskay, Angel, and a heated clash with Nini.
In this interview with TheCable Lifestyle, Cross, born Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo, opens up on his past struggles, failed football career, surviving kidnap attempt, and future plans.
How has been the reception since coming out of the house?
Honestly, the reception shocked me. I can’t even put it in words. Words can’t define how I feel about the reception. I have the understanding that BBNaija is a big thing but this is huge.
Can you briefly take us through your background?
My upbringing structured me into the man I am today. After I lost my dad and I saw my family turn against us and saw some people trying to kidnap me and tried to assassinate my mum and my siblings. This kind of thing changed my perspective about life. It kind of makes you realise that this life as you know it is not really all that. Things can easily change.
So, that changed my mindset and I got to realise that I must make it in this life no matter what. But making it means I had to know my strengths and start developing my skills and luckily for me when I moved out of Nigerian to overseas, I never had an issue with the people I stayed with.
It turned out that I could adapt to every household that I lived in. I got to know that one of my strengths is accommodating people. I have good communication skills and I have this energy people love. These are the things I discovered as I travel around London, Birmingham, Wales, and Leeds.
So when I got back to Nigeria, the attitudes were obvious and that was how I became popular in Abuja and especially in the entertainment industry.
How did you come across the nickname Cross?
My real name is Cross. It was given to me quite late. My real name is Cross Ikechukwu Sunday Okonkwo. I like the name, it means a lot. The name means to cross over every obstacle in life, over every problem and temptation. I guess after all I’m really crossing over so many things in life.
To many, you were a well-made socialite before coming for the show, what prompted your foray into BBNaija?
I wasn’t well made before coming to the house. I was hustling, being in street doing all kinds of things. Yeah, I have touched money and that’s why money doesn’t move me. At the end of the day, money is just paper, mere currency. You can use it for a lot of things but it shouldn’t define you.
I wasn’t well made but I have a lot of financially strong friends and they have supported me. I have rich friends from the presidency, to the vice presidency, governors, senators, tech giants, business owners, and the entertainment industry. So they are the rich ones, and I am the broke one.
That apart, it was interesting because I knew BBNaija will definitely improve my platform and take me to a stage where people can see and understand the kind of person I am. I don’t think I am the most typical human being, I like to have my things extreme.
When I’m having fun I do it extremely, when I’m trying to make money or do some good things I do it in an extreme way.
How do you intend to leverage the fame you have gotten from the show?
I think the best thing that ever happened to me is having the best team around me. Because with the best team, I will have the best advice and they will push me as far as I can go.
I already have things I want to do planned out which are Cross fitness hub, boutique, and fat burner. I want to push it more into the health sector, I want to grow it bigger for Nigeria and Africa to know more about health.
Also, Cross overnight has become a thing and I want to make it big as possible. Push it into different cities across the world. I also want to go into acting as well. I learned how to act in the ‘Shine Ya Eye’ house. I did a lot of play and I’m not going to say I’m RMD of course, but the more I do it, the more I get better.
Can you tell us more about the Cross overnight?
The Cross overnight thing is something that is going to be broad. I’m going to work with a lot of partners and teams. I want to take all my fans on a journey where they are going to see 24hours entertainment. It is going to be in different in cities across the country.
It necessarily not going to happen on the last day of every year, but it is going to happen at different weekends and different locations in the country. It is pretty much an entertainment initiative.
I also love music, I have something coming up with Ajebutter22 sometimes before the end of the year, it is called ‘Feeling funky’. It is an amapaino sound. I’m just looking to take every human that gets to know me on a fast and interesting ride.
You had a stint as a professional footballer during your days as a student at Hull City, what happened to your football career?
I loved football. It was one of the greatest passions I ever had, I was so good that they called me a terminator.
I was so fast, I had the strength and the height. I was a proper striker until one of my friends gave me a rough tackle that I never saw coming and it messed up with my right knee and ever since then the dream to become the biggest footballer to come out of Africa disappeared. I played for Swanfield FC, York FC, and I had a trial at Hull City.
What would you say to people calling for the ban of the show?
Big Brother or no Big Brother, it is what it is, the show just reveals what is happening in our society. It enlightens us so we know how to tackle it in our family, in our day-to-day activities.
It shows us what is engaging in the world, many people don’t know what is happening in the world. BBNaija basically shows us different aspects and people, so you can definitely know what our society is all about. If some people are calling for the ban of the show that is bad. I don’t think it will be banned.
Look at how much it took for the production, over N4 billion. Do you know how many families are being fed with that? Do you know how the government is making revenue from that, so it is a win-win for everybody?
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