Read excerpts from her interview with PUNCH:
I am from a Muslim home and I was raised in the United States of America. My parents practically raised us like children living in Nigeria, though we enjoyed the social amenities in America. We ate Nigerian food, knelt down to greet elders and bathed with buckets. We were guarded when it came to the friends we kept and our parents made sure we didn’t take our studies lightly. I have four siblings – three girls and a boy. I am the third child. My parents are from Edo State.
Thanks to my Nigerian parents and their focus on education. I was considered a gifted and talented student from when I was little. For my university education, I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where I studied Exercise and Sports Science. I got a Master from the DeVos Sports Business Management Programme at the University of Central Florida. I graduated with dual master’s degrees – Master of Business Administration and Master of Sports Business Management.
Growing up, I thought I would become a surgeon. However, I got involved in sports in high school and I fell in love with it. Though I still went to the university with the intention to read medicine, I fully changed my mind once I started taking “those difficult” science courses. I decided to study sports because I was a fan and sport in America has always been a big business. But over the years, I realised that sport is one of the few things on earth that can connect people of diverse backgrounds. People’s love for sport is what we need in all facets of life.
I think my parents would have preferred that I studied medicine. Years after getting my masters, my dad would still bring up the issue of medical school. But now, my dad usually jokes that I have made more money in my short career than he has in all his years of working.
Big Brother Naija changed my life for the better. But it is annoying when people, who don’t know me, talk about me. I don’t regret taking part in the show but I do miss my days as a salary earner at times. The joy of being paid every month is exciting, but there is nothing like being your own boss. The greatest thing I learnt in BBNaija was that I could relate with people younger than me. Many people in the house were like my younger siblings. I still hang out with them like friends and I don’t have to play the big sister role unless it’s needed. Given a chance to go back to the house, I wouldn’t have done anything differently except taking home the grand prize. I could have been wilder or more reserved but it wouldn’t have necessarily made me win the prize. I’m now winning in life and that’s the most important thing.
I hope to work on bigger and better projects that would increase my earnings. I plan to do more work outside of Nigeria to expose our country to the world. Since I left BBN, I’ve been living my best life, trying my hands on all my dreams and seeing what works best for me. I’ve been acting, modelling, hosting and changing the world.
Since I don’t know the lady (TV personality, Shade Ladipo) who said I would be forgotten soon, I’m not worried about her opinion. People were more insulted by her comment than I was. Let’s just hope she never needs me for anything in the future because I can be very petty.
I love Genevieve Nnaji because she is classic and timeless. She has been in the industry for years and she is still loved by many. She is also a silent achiever; she is doing her best to put Nigeria on the international scene.
Also, I met Toke Makinwa recently and I admire how she is focused on her business and life. Regardless of what people may think or say about her, she does what makes her happy.
Most times, I would rather keep to myself. But when it’s time to have fun, I take part as well. I’m very focused on my personal growth and happiness. I am not bothered about the opinions people have of me.
I am a private person when it comes to my relationship. I like people to respect that.
This is something I struggle with. I love to read but sometimes, reading feels like a chore. I would love to visit the beach every week, but I have lots of things ahead of me.
I wear what I like. I love T-shirts and jeans, but I don’t mind rocking a beautiful gown when the need arises.