Actor, TV presenter, model and winner of the fifth edition of Big Brother Africa, Uti Nwachukwu, speaks to JOY MARCUS on his career, marriage and other issues
How did you come into the entertainment industry?
As a Big Brother Africa star, a lot of doors were opened to me. Inasmuch as I didn’t win the BBA 3, it still gave me leverage in the entertainment industry. I have not always had interest in acting because my first love was music; so, I always wanted to be a music star. Acting and hosting events came naturally to me, and I was doing it while in school. As for acting, I used to mimic a lot of people and my friends told me that I should become an actor.
What was your parent’s reaction when you told them about BBA?
I didn’t tell them; I only told my sisters. When I got back from the competition, they were proud of me but they said my dad was shocked. I made them happy though I was evicted the first time. Sadly, when I won the BBA 5, my dad had passed on. It was a difficult year for my mother; so, watching me in the house was the only thing that put a smile on her face.
Who gave you your first opportunity in the entertainment industry?
I was given my first opportunity in acting (movies) by Ini Edo and Moses Inwang but for television series, it was Ruke Amata. For TV presenting, I was given an opportunity by Diamond Group Production on a show called, You and I.
How much were you paid for your first movie?
As far back as 2008, I think I was paid N100,000 which was a huge sum as of that time; especially for someone who was not even popular. I was surprised but I reasoned that it was because of the BBA platform.
If you have the opportunity, would you feature in Yoruba movies?
I am an actor; so, I should be open to playing any role. I can’t speak Yoruba but I can learn. There are actors in other countries that learn new languages for a movie. I used to say I would never do an epic movie but I ended up acting in my first epic movie this year. The movie is titled, Trials of Ma’pe, and the reception was really great.
What is your view on the state of the Nigerian entertainment industry?
I will like to see more government funding in the industry. The government should take the entertainment industry as seriously as they take the oil and gas industry. In advanced climes, entertainment industries get a lot of support from their governments. At this time, we ought to have a movie village (in this country).
What are some of the challenges you face on the job?
I would say time management because sometimes, you have so much to do in so little time. However, I love it because it keeps me going. I have been able to prioritise and learn how to work my way around the time.
Since you love music, do you have the intention of releasing any single or album soon?
For fun and pleasure definitely but (not) to make money from it hopefully. I make alternative music; so, I will feature a couple of artistes that do same such as Simi and Adekunle Gold. Next year, I want to start featuring in more movies. I know I said movies don’t pay a lot but I have many friends who are also producers and they have started booking me for roles.
We hardly see you and Alex Ekubo on red carpets anymore, unlike before when the two of you were inseparable. Did you have a fallout?
Can we move to the next question please? I don’t talk about my personal life in interviews.
Some of your colleagues got married in 2018. When do you intend to settle down?
I don’t know when but when it happens, it happens. With the way people are marrying and getting divorced, one has to think twice before going into it. I have met more unhappy couples than happily married couples in my life. It is really scary because if marriage was such a beautiful thing, why are there many unhappy couples. If you check statistics, most married people are complaining. However, I will get married by God’s grace. I will not marry out of my own understanding. I don’t want to be a divorcee; so, I am taking my time. I am currently working on my patience and tolerance level. I am learning how to live peacefully because I am used to having things my way.
What were your childhood ambitions?
I am living it right now. I grew up in Ughelli, Delta State, and my parents prevented us from playing with other kids on the streets; so, they stocked the house with movies. This inspired me to become what I watched. The only thing remaining for me to be fulfilled is to cross to Hollywood; then, I will be satisfied.
Which schools did you attend?
I studied Computer Science and Education at the Benson Idahosa University, Benin City. I can actually practise and become a teacher. I finished well with a 3.9 GPA. If I wasn’t an entertainer, I would probably be working in a telecommunications firm.