Allure Cover: Lucy Essien – Embracing her dreams
By Rita Okoye
Lucy Essien was among the 20 housemates that stormed the just concluded, Big Brother Naija Reality TV Show (The Lockdown edition) that kept Nigerians entertained for 70 days.
Over time, she became the favourite of many fans for her sincerity and bubbly personality.
For the 30 year old entrepreneur, partaking in the Reality Show was a lifetime achievement as she got a rare chance to showcase herself to the world.
Lucy Essien who hails from Akpabuyo local government of area of Cross River State is holds a degree in Elementary Education and Teaching from the University of Calabar.
Although the tenth housemate to be evicted from the Big Brother Naija House, Lucy promises not to leave any stone unturned in making good use of her new found fame and fortune.
Lucy, who ran Luciana Grills, before BBNaija came calling and has started rebranding already, tells Vanguard Allure that she would continue her grill business, and perhaps expand it into a full-blown restaurant.
What inspired you to participate in BBN 2020?
The culture of the people in the house and the way they lived resonated with how I lived my life. I’m a private person but I felt I had something to show the world that was worth watching. I’m a young girl with dreams and I was sure that if I get a chance to showcase myself to the world, it will open up opportunities for me and bring me closer to my dreams.
Was it your first attempt?
Yes, it was my first attempt ever and that was why I was really excited when I was called because I’m aware that a lot of people have tried several times, unsuccessfully. I guess I was lucky.
How did the whole journey begin?
The journey started with me wishing I could be on the show, and when the opportunity presented itself in form of an online audition, they asked us to send a two-minute video. It made it even easier compared to other editions when people had to be there physically to audition. So, I sent mine and the rest is history.
What edge do you think you have over other contestants that also came for BBNaija 2020 audition?
Every individual is unique, just like everybody else. I feel like me looking a certain way and behaving in the exact opposite direction of what the audience expected, brought some spice and gave me an edge.
You had a lot of emotional outburst during the show; what triggered them?
Usually, my reaction to people is based on the vibes they give to me; so, I act accordingly and the same thing applied in the house. Considering that I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I had expected to explode a few times. But the number surprised me as an individual because it was quite a lot. Maybe this was because of the number of us in a place over a period of time too. Like Biggie would say, it’s 20 individuals with different personalities and from different backgrounds, locked together for a period. So, a lot is expected and emotions are bound to be stretched.
Would you say wearing your emotions on your sleeves actually worked for you or against you in the house?
I can’t really tell if it worked against me or in my favour but I do know that I was determined to be myself, without any pretence. So, whatever happened, I believe it was all for good. It’s a reality show and I was real at every point. Expressing my emotions helped me keep sane and I think it’s a healthy thing to do; whether or not people appreciate it.
Can you recall your three best moments in that house?
My arrival in the house; you know that’s the moment it finally dawns on you that you’re actually going to be on the show because even up to the last minute, some people were still taken out. The second is my stay in the house with all the emotions and experiences. I had quite a stay and I wouldn’t trade any of it. The third is my exit. It was more like freedom at last because every Sunday, we went through same routines of adrenaline; you’re up for eviction and you don’t know if it’s your last day in the house or not. So, finally when I left, it was more like “Finally!”
Your exit was a memorable one; why didn’t you hug your other housemates?
Well, being a very emotional person like you all got to realise eventually, I felt like I would burst into tears if I stopped to hug people with all the bottled-up emotions from the week. So, to avoid that, I had to walk out with my head held high. But we have since seen many times and hugged after the show; and it’s all love.
Looking back, what would be your regret?
I have no regrets. I am however grateful that these great individuals crossed my path in this life’s journey. Lessons have been learnt, beautiful friendships have been formed as well and focus is now on the future, building my empire by God’s grace; and with the help of the media and my fans.
Would you say you played your game well?
I didn’t play a game; I went to live my usual life for the world to watch, enjoy and decide if they liked seeing me enough to keep me in the house. For me, the game was for the viewers. Not the housemates. I felt that if I was good enough to be chosen for the show from a two-minute video that was just me, then my real life must be worth watching.
How would you describe your relationship with Ka3na?
I would say it is real friendship. We shared a lot of fun moments on the show and now, out of the house. Of course, friendship will have its ups and downs eventually but I believe it will be a long-lasting friendship.
Aside K3na, which other housemate do you miss and would love to work with?
Literally all the housemates. I got to love all of them differently in so many ways and I’m already planing some projects with a few of them on the low. At the right time, everything will be made public.
You recently reached out to Erica, saying you miss her. What made you make such move?
Like it or not, I got fond of every single person in the house and after a while, I began to miss them and wanted to check up on them to be sure they’re doing fine. I was particularly worried about Erica because of how she left; and luckily, that same day, I saw her at a dinner party and she was well and fine—which gave me peace because despite everything, we’re first humans before anything else. It’s in our nature to care.
Should we look forward to Erica and Lucy working together on a project some day?
I’m a business woman. If the opportunity presents itself, why not? For the records, I have nothing against any of the housemates; it’s all love and light from here. The house was one small part of the rest of our lives that is now ahead of us; and like I said earlier, I’m focused on building my empire with as many people as possible.
How have you been handling your new found fame?
I am still trying to get the hang of it. I still feel like the ordinary girl that walked into the house. My stubborn side has refused to accept that things have actually switched in two months beyond my dreams; it humbles me each time. The love has been overwhelming; the negativity as well. But my team is also helpful as they nudge me in the direction each time I derail.
What would you say this whole experience taught you about life?
I learned that life is completely unpredictable, tables can turn so fast and we need to be decent humans every time we get the chance. It’s the only way to not miss the blessings that lie ahead of us. Also trust the process, celebrate other people’s wins and don’t feel pressured because when it’s your time, everything will fall into place easily.
Now a public figure, what would certainly change about you?
(Laughs) Hopefully the size of my bank account as I’m all about the business and giving back to society. So, the fatter the bank account, the more people I’ll be able to help.
What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to setting up my business empire, creating employment opportunities for a lot of young people, eventually getting married with a set of twins, and having a beautiful home. I believe a woman can have it all. I’ll love to tour the world and impact my society in the little ways that I can as well.
What is next for Lucy?
Well, first of all, the Luciana’s Grill, then my cooking show, my restaurant, touring the world, going on great adventures, and possibly, documenting all that into a show as well. I also look forward to representing a lot of brands both as an ambassador and as an influencer. I may start my vlog as well. Above all, I just want to be happy.
For Luciana Grills, should we expect a next level?
Most definitely. Luciana’s Grill is my baby. It would be same recipe, very tasty but better packaged to accommodate all spheres of the society. I’ll also ensure that the price is relatively affordable.