Media personality, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu speaks with THEWILL Shade Wesley-Metibogun on career, clocking 40 and sundry issues
How does it feel clocking 40?
It took me a while to accept it because it sounds like a very big number but I am living in my truth and being very happy and accepting that age is just a number. I feel great. It’s nice to have all these experiences and still be doing the work that you absolutely love. It’s great really, I am enjoying it.
What is the best thing about turning 40?
I don’t know. I am still enjoying myself, I am still being me. I am still doing great work, it doesn’t feel any different and I will still do more work in the future. It feels the same. I didn’t know that anything switched that day, except that my knees are now a little bit weak.
What exactly happened to your knee?
I don’t know but I have a history of arthritis in my family so let me blame that for it.
You look young for your age. Is there a secret to it?
I don’t know any secrets. I know that I have worked out for about 13 or 14 years. I am not working out to look muscular or be a body builder or to look as if I am going to the stage to perform. It is all about looking and feeling healthy. I have been working out since I was 26 years, I have been consistent with it since then for 13 years. Maybe that has helped out with the way I look. I am also a huge fan of water, many people think water is underrated. I also have a pretty healthy diet, I don’t take too many crazy things.
You’ve been the host of Big Brother Naija 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, people will 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 Naija 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 broadcasted across the United Kingdom in the last two seasons. And also watching these human beings evolve. When you watch these housemates going into 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 favourite ever won the show?
No comment. 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 who connect on that level without anything romantic. I really like that. It doesn’t mean they were my favourite housemates, I just enjoyed their level of friendship.
You also host ‘Rubbing Mind’ on Channels TV. Which among the personalities you have invited gave you the most pleasure?
I have had a few people that were interesting and one of the few that stands out is rapper and actor, Remilekun Khalid Safaru aka Reminisce. 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 on the show.
When you turned 40, your wife said you know a bit about everything. How were you able to develop yourself to be this 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 I think I just have a curious mind and love gathering information.
You are one of the best dressed media personalities. Where did you get your fashion sense from?
I have no idea. Nature, my parents, maybe. It’s something that has evolved over time and I just realized that how you present yourself is very important.
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 not considered masculine, like yellow, pink, wine and 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 were not wearing 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, life 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, but you would not see me wearing earrings on ‘Rubbin Minds’ for example. So, it depends on the circumstances or the event that I am hosting.
What are your expectations about the forthcoming Big Brother Titans?
I am looking forward to the interaction among housemates from the two countries and how they would comport themselves in the house. I also look forward to the viewer’s reaction to it as well. It should be an interesting season to watch.
Do you think you would probably venture into acting in the near future?
I don’t think I am a good actor, that is why I have not involved myself in it. But let’s see, maybe in the future, I can take acting classes and try my hands on it.
You are a lawyer. What is happening to that certificate?
It’s still there. I am an entertainment Lawyer. I got a Master’s 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 your 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 thing do you have passion for?
I did play basketball when I was in 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.