Monday, 19 October 2009
BY FLORENCE UTOR
IT is often said that reality TV shows open doors for contestants in the entertainment industry. For Nwachukwu Uti, one of the housemates in Big Brother Africa 3, it is no different. He is gradually following the steps of Jennifer Hudson, who though did not win the American Idol contest, is now an Oscars Award winner with her role in Dreamgirls, which also features Jamie Foxx, Beyoncé Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Anika Noni Rose, Keith Robinson, Sharon Leal, and Hinton Battle; Gaetano Kagwa of Big Brother Africa 1 is a well-known AIDS advocate and host of MNet’s travel programme, Studio 53, and a morning radio show on Uganda’s Capital FM and Nigeria’s Ebuka Obi Uchendu of Big Brother Nigeria fame, who is also on the tube.
I ran into Uti recently; and he affirms that he is being topping his career in the industry.
What has been happening to Uti?
“Immediately after BBA3, I was invited to Angola to host a couple of shows with Ricco. We also had a lot of television appearances too,” he says.
Your school, have you forgotten about it or are you are still running your programme?
“School?” he asks. He heaves suddenly, “I came back home and went straight to school to graduate because in Nigeria, if you don’t do that, people will see you as a half-baked celebrity. Meanwhile, I was getting invitations to come and act in movies but because I was busy reading to graduate being in my final semester, I couldn’t answer them. I eventually accepted two of those calls just to build up my movie profile. I starred in one of the movies, Busting Out, with Genevieve and the other one with Ini Edo, both movies will be released this year.”
He adds, “I also yielded to one more call. This was in the middle of my examinations. I had a three-day break and I took off to Uganda to host Navio’s album launch, he is a popular musician in Uganda, before then, my project had been cancelled three weeks to my examination, I had to start all over again and I was doing all this at the same time. Mind you, some of my lecturers refused to give me continuous assessment and I still graduated with a second class degree (upper division) in computer science and education, double honours. I think this is one achievement I am most proud of.”
Also while in school, as revealed by Uti, he was invited to a motivational concert in Benue State, where he was a speaker alongside Ramsey Nouah and Desmond Elliot. “I have also been invited to present an award alongside Mercy Johnson at the SoundCity Musical Video Awards. I have been on the cover of several magazines including True Love, Genevieve, and a host of others. I was Hunk of the month in a magazine called African Woman in Uganda. I have been on celebrity runway, I took part in Genevieve’s fashion show, which was strictly for charity, and I was also in Ghana with Sheila — a co-housemate in BBA3— to star in Mimi, another housemate’s musical video.”
He smiles, “I have a single that is playing on Abuja radio stations, it should have been out by now but I was not satisfied with the video so I am going back to the drawing board to do something better before it hits the market.”
Talking of radio, he says he has handled several shows as a guest presenter. He adds, “I have compered at different events all over the country. I was the prince of OSigor at the Carnival Calabar, last year.”
The handsome hunk says he will soon float his company. “The vision statement and all those basic things have been drawn; I just need to put a few more things in place before launching out fully,” he retorts. “The company will be handling artistes packaging, scriptwriting, music production, recruiting of models, comperes and all that. It is going to be more or less a packaging company to help artistes move along with the current trend. It’s about being different, being unique so that you can be remembered for that which you have done.
“Big Brother opened a lot of doors and I have been networking… you know all and all. The list is endless. I have done many other things I can’t even remember, so, I have been busy since I left the Big Brother house.
Comparing the Big Brother Africa Revolution to the previous show he was part of, he says, “I still prefer the one I was part of because this people’s alliance thing is just spoiling the whole thing. Everybody is only focused on bringing the other person down. It takes away the fun of the show, because in my time, you will not know, who is against you; you only use your intuition; in this one, everybody is just concentrating on, ‘are you part of my alliance?’ or ‘let’s bring this man down.”
According to him, “in our time, if you whispered or gossiped, Big Brother will punish you, but now, they are allowed to do all that; so, for me the fun of the game has been taken away, ours was fun. Now you have several people representing one country, in our own time, representing your country as the only person already made you a winner.”
For Uti, “the only thing present in this one that interests me is, everybody evicted gets $2500, but I still take my own over and above this one anytime.”
ON what to expect from him in the next five years in the entertainment industry, he laughs. “I don’t want to sound arrogant or over-confident but I see myself heading a company that is of international standard; I see myself being the next Hollywood’s big black actor because that is my target. There is Denzel Washington, Will Smith but there will be Uti.”
And what is on his radar, he says, “I am currently working on a big endorsement, I am going to be an ambassador of a big product that I cannot mention now because we are still having meetings; so, if everything goes well, you will see my face on one of the most notable products around. There is also a television bit that is about to come for me, am going to host a very big TV show, there is more to come generally.”