Ex-BBNaija housemates making waves
The Big Brother Naija competition has gone on to become one of the most popular reality TV shows in the country. Beyond the mouth-watering prize of N90m, the show is usually a delight to watch for many because of the controversial activities of some housemates. Some have also said the show is a veritable platform and launch pad for young people. In no particular order, Saturday Beats takes a look at some of the former contestants of the show that are still doing well in their careers
Lawyer, model and media personality, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, was a contestant on the first season of Big Brother Naija in 2006. Though he did not win and was evicted on the fifty-first day of the competition, Ebuka has gone on to have an eventful career.
He has hosted quite a number of programmes and shows including the Glo Show, Guinness Greatness TV, Rubbin Minds (on Channels Television), The Spot (EbonyLife TV), Naija Politics (EbonyLife TV) and Men’s Corner. In the run-up to the 2011 presidential election, the fashion enthusiast hosted the presidential debate between the then major presidential candidates. Undoubtedly, the icing on the cake of his career is his hosting of Big Brother Naija (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021). With this feat, he is the first and only former contestant on the show that has returned as a host on the same show. A lot of Nigerians have commended his composure and charisma as the host of the show, while his choice of outfits is also a regular talking point of the show.
Meanwhile, he is also the host of another reality TV show, ‘Judging Matters’, which is overseen by a retired Lagos State judge, Justice Olusola Williams.
Undoubtedly, Ebuka is one of the most successful Big Brother Naija alumni and he doesn’t seem ready to rest on his oars anytime soon.
Olamilekan Agbeleshe has severally been described as a record-breaking Big Brother Naija housemate. He won the ‘Lockdown’ edition (2020) of the show. While in the house, he was said to have broken the competition’s voting record by over 200 per cent. The ‘Pepper Dem’ edition was said to have garnered 240 million votes, while the Lockdown edition had 900 million votes, with Laycon said to have about 600 million of them. He won the finale with 60 per cent of the votes cast, and that marked the first time a contestant would win the show with over 50 per cent of the votes cast.
Though Laycon got into the house as an underdog of sorts, he soon won the sympathy of many Nigerians, who voted for him en-masse. It was believed that most of the guys in the house were more handsome and had better charisma than him. Also, he seemed very attracted to another contestant, Erica Nlewedim, who had her eyes on yet another contestant, Kiddwaya. It was a classic love triangle and many believed Laycon didn’t stand a chance against Waya. Pictures of him looking moody whenever Erica and Kidd were together soon went viral on social media and many used him as a meme.
However, that seeming ‘disadvantage’ soon became his ace as several celebrities and other Nigerians campaigned massively for him. Many gave out airtime to their followers to vote for the University of Lagos graduate, while some organised physical rallies to drum up support for him. When Laycon was eventually announced as the winner of ‘BBNaija Lockdown Edition’, it did not come as a surprise to many. Meanwhile, he is reputed to be the first contestant to have one million followers on Instagram. However, Liquorose, a dancer and contestant on the current BBNaija ‘Shine Ya Eye’, also had one million followers less than two weeks into the show. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Liqourose already had 700,000 followers before the competition. In Laycon’s case, he had only 3, 835 followers before the show but it grew to one million after 63 days.
After the competition, his reality show, ‘I am Laycon’ was the first original series to be released on streaming platform, Showmax, and it was adjudged to the show with the highest first-day streams on the platform.
The music artiste also released an album titled, ‘Shall We Begin’, on April 30, 2021. Some of the songs off the album including ‘Fall For Me’ and ‘Verified’ have been enjoying significant airplay.
Shortly after he won the competition, Laycon was made a youth ambassador of Ogun State by Governor Dapo Abiodun. The Ogun State indigene was also given N5m and a two-bedroom bungalow. The singer is also a brand ambassador for many companies.
To the ‘uninitiated’, the words, “No leave, no transfer”, might not strike a chord. But, for die-hard Titans, like fans of a former BBN contestant, Natacha Akide are known, it is a phrase they are all too familiar with.
Tacha can be described as one of the most controversial housemates of the show over the years. However, she was also a fan-favourite and many confessed to watching the show just because of her. She was a housemate in the BBNaija ‘Pepper Dem’ edition (2019). She was viewed by many as a top contender for the prize money until 89 days into the competition, and only few days to its end, when she was booted off the show for what ‘Biggie’ considered to be an act of violence. She had been involved in an argument with the eventual winner, Mercy Eke, and as tempers rose, she (Tacha) grabbed an electric iron and wanted to hit it on the latter. Before that particular incident, Tacha already had two strikes (warnings).
Since then however, Tacha has continued to enjoy her romance with stardom. Her fan base, Titans, is very vociferous on social media, and those that have been at the mercy of their trolling would testify that they are not one to mess with. She is also a brand ambassador for many products and companies.
The Rivers State-born social media personality is a vlogger and she makes money from her monetised YouTube channel. The social media influencer also owns a make-up line called, ‘Everything Tacha’.
On her 25th birthday (December 23, 2020), Tacha’s fans presented her with a cheque of N6m, delivery bikes and vans to aid her business.
Like Tacha, Erica Nlewedim, was also disqualified from BBNaija for threatening violence against another housemate, Laycon. She claimed that Laycon was using her to chase clout and was not being straightforward with her.
However, upon leaving the house, Erica’s profile has continued to rise. As an actress, she had featured in some movies before BBN, but after the competition, she has acted in a couple of high profile movies including, ‘Devil Wears Agbada’ and ‘Bitter Rain’.
She also has a reality show, ‘Inside Life’, which airs on music channel, MTV Base. This is in addition to being a brand ambassador for several companies and products including Diamond Bank, Hollandia, Globacom, Jumia, Zaron Cosmetics and Peak Milk.
She is the Chief Executive Officer of Beluxia Global Links, which she co-runs with her mother.
Her relationship with Kiddwaya has also been the topic of several gossips and has ‘trended’ on social media on a number of occasions. Meanwhile, she seems to have mended fences with Laycon as both of them recently appeared in a video together, dropping hints that they are now on good terms.
Before Bisola Aiyeola contested in BBN See Gobbe edition (2017), she was not a stranger to reality shows. She had participated in Project Fame West Africa in 2008 and emerged the fifth. She had also appeared in some movies and skits, even as she had released songs before BBN. However, it is unarguable that BBN catapulted her career to greater heights.
While in BBN house, Aiyeola courted controversy over her relationship with another contestant, Thin Tall Tony, who was married. However, she was widely regarded as one of the most interesting personalities as she always gave viewers something to talk about.
After the competition, Aiyeola’s career has continued to grow. She has appeared in films such as ‘The Breaded Life’, ‘The Kujus’, ‘Dwindle’, ‘Pay Day’ and ‘The Bling Lagosians’. She has also released songs such as ‘Heartbroken’, ‘Controlla’ and ‘Good Old Days’. She was made an ‘education ambassador’ of the United Nations in 2017. She also attended the 72nd General Assembly of the UN in New York, United States of America, that same year to campaign for girls’ education.
When Tobi Bakre left a well-paying bank job to contest Big Brother Naija Double Wahala edition (2018), many thought he had lost his mind. But, three years after, it is all too apparent that he made the right decision.
While in the house, a lot of ladies drooled over him because of his handsomeness and physique.
After the show, he has gone on to work with brands such as Lord’s Gin, Unilever, Amstel Malta and Jumia.
Also, he has appeared in films and TV series including ‘Sugar Rush’, ‘Mokalik’, ‘Fix Us’, ‘Hustle’ and ‘Jenifa’s Diary’
Alex Asogwa, popularly known as Alex Unusual, was a contestant on BBNaija See Gobbe edition (2017) and she was one of the most notable personalities on the show.
After the competition, she has acted in films such as ‘Merry Men 2’ and ‘Love Me Enough, Love Me Now.’ She also represents brands, including Campari, Mypaddi, and Bobo Food and Beverages.
She is active on social media, especially Instagram, where she has three million followers.
Almost immediately she stepped into the Big Brother Naija house (Lockdown edition, 2020), she became the cynosure of all eyes, largely because of her huge mammary glands.’
She eventually emerged as the first runner-up of the competition and many fans were endeared to her because of her personality.
However, over a month ago, she stirred controversy when during the reunion show for contestants of the Lockdown edition, she revealed that she had oral sex with another contestant, BrightO. According to her, after the intimate encounter, BrightO refused to talk to her.
As a testament to her business acumen, Bachor launched a lingerie line called MFC Lingerie for plus-sized women. She stated that she was encouraged to go into that line of business because of the problems she usually had when shopping for underwear due to the size of her boobs. She is an ambassador for brands such as VSP Botanics, Mapia Tea, Urban Vibes London and Lucious Virgin Hair.
Her fans have also presented her with several gifts such as a Mercedes Benz CLA 250. In an earlier interview with Saturday Beats, Bachor had stated that for about two months after the show, she didn’t buy anything because she was constantly ‘bombarded’ with gifts.
Mercy Eke entered the ‘history books’ of Big Brother Naija when she became the first female to win the show.
Mercy contested in the Pepper Dem edition (2019) of the show and she wasn’t without her fair share of controversies. Her fight with Tacha led to the disqualification of the latter, but she has since put that behind her and is focusing on her career. While in the house, not a few men drooled over her sexy physique. She is said to have undergone cosmetic surgery to make her butt bigger before the show. She has also maintained that she is open to going under the surgeon’s knife again.
In addition to the N30m prize money she got, she has also received several gifts such as two plots of land in Lekki (Lagos), from her fans.
After the competition, she had a spin-off reality show called ‘Mercy and Ike’ which focused on her and another colleague and then boyfriend, Ike Onyema.
Pretty and reserved, Rebecca ‘Nengi’ Hampson, is one lady that would turn the heads of many men.
As a contestant in the Lockdown edition (2020) of BBN, Nengi was never short of admirers. But undoubtedly, one of her greatest admirers was another housemate, Ozoemena Chukwu, aka Ozo. Ozo never hid his affection for her but Nengi did not give him the ‘green light’. She later stated that she wanted to concentrate on the show and did not want to be encumbered by romance.
After the show, she was appointed as a Senior Special Assistant on the Girl Child to Governor Douye Diri in her home state of Bayelsa.
She appeared in pop star, Davido’s music video, ‘Jowo’ to wide acclaim and she has stated that she is open to doing more in the entertainment industry. On her birthday (January 2, 2021), she got a Range Rover SUV, a ‘money cake’ and other notable gifts. She works with brands such Guinness Nigeria, Get Glow, Itel and Remy Martin.