Mercy Eke: Living Her Dream
Words by- Josephine Agbonkhese
Our cover personality Mercy Eke needs almost no introduction. Since 2019 when she emerged winner of the Big Brother Naija, BBN, Season 4, Eke has grown in leaps and bounds, evolving from just a reality TV show contestant, to a video vixen, brands’ ambassador, actress and successful real estates entrepreneur.
The Imo State University graduate is an embodiment of boldness, style and energy; three features that have continued to distinguish and endear her to many.
In this interview, she speaks of her newly-launched platform for giving back: The Mercy Eke Foundation, life as the only woman to have won the BBN grand prize so far; her love life and much more.
How has life been since 2019 when you won the Big Brother Naija Season 4?
Life has really been good. Life has been amazing. I can’t take anything for granted. God has been so wonderful to me and I’ve really, really been working hard. So I would say life after Big Brother has been amazing.
Has the win translated into gains as much as you expected?
Well, I would say win plus hard work equals growth. I mean, there’s been a lot of changes and a lot of growth. I’m doing a lot of things. So, yes the win translated into growth.
How have you been handling the fame and celebrity status/lifestyle that comes with winning?
Well, let me breath in first. It hasn’t been easy. Ah! Celebrities! God! It’s so hard to be a celebrity in Nigeria or in Africa. It’s so hard like, it’s so demanding but, you know, I just have to take it slowly and a step at a time. But we’ll get there.
Growing up, did you dream of a life of fame?
Yes, I did. I had a lot of dreams and one of the major one was being famous. That was why I auditioned four times for BBNaija because I felt that my redemption might come from there; and it did!
You remain the only woman to have won the grand prize in the competition. What do you think women in each editions haven’t realised about winning?
Yes, I’m the only woman to have won the grand prize in the competition for Big Brother Nigeria. Like I always tell people, it’s a game. It’s not a do or die affair and at the end of the day, there can only be one winner. I tried my best, and Africa and Nigeria were behind me; and they crowned me.
I don’t know how other women see it but for me, I am happy and I can’t wait to welcome the next female winner because my back is already hurting me. I need someone else to join me on that seat.
It’s hard to be the only female winner; so I pray a woman wins this year’s Big Brother Naija.
What’s your opinion of the ongoing BBN Season 6?
I think the season 6 housemates are unique in their own ways, but of course some people stand out more than others. So far, Maria, Whitemoney, Liquorose, Angel and Cross are giving me the vibes. As a BBN fanatic, if I have the power, these will be my top 5, and I will be so happy if any of them ace the game.
Do you see yourself in any of the housemates?
I see myself in Maria, Angel and Whitemoney; selfless, loving and outspoken.
Who has the biggest chance of winning?
They all stand a chance of winning and may the best man win.
Tell us about your recently launched foundation?
Yes, I just recently launched my foundation; which has been, one of the things I wanted to do a long time ago. The Mercy Eke Foundation is about giving back to the society; giving back to the people that have nothing, giving back to the people who need it the most, and giving back to the people who made me what I am today. Helping small business owners, helping kids on the streets, single mothers, widows, students and more. So, yes, my foundation is just about giving back to the society.
Why did it take you this long to set it up?
Well, it took me so long to start up my foundation because I wanted to get it right. I don’t want to start a foundation because everyone has a foundation. I want to do it and I want to do it right, and also impact lives in the process. So, I had to take my time.
Has it always been your dream to formally giveback to society or did this come as an afterthought?
Yes, it has been my dream to give back to the society. I’m a giver. My heart is so big; I can’t stand people suffering. I wish I could even do more. And it’s been on my mind to help people; especially people that really need it. Our country is so bad right now that every day, I put this country in my prayers. I just want to see millions of struggling people in this country have at least, two square meals a day. So yes, I’ve been giving, and giving back has always been my thing. I’m glad I am able and I can do this at this point in my life.
We haven’t seen much of you in Nollywood as expected, aside Fate of Alakada, a few skits and in the forthcoming TV series ‘TRIPS’. What’s happening?
Yes. You haven’t seen me so much in Nollywood as expected because coming out as a winner, I had a lot of things I had to do and I have been doing. Like now, I’m currently shooting my reality show, setting up my business, foundation and working as an ambassador for brands I represent.
But right now, I’m doing more of movies. I recently finished shooting a movie, Shanty Town, which is yet to be out. And I did another one Trips, which is a TV series. There’s also another script I’m currently on; so, I’m ready for Nollywood. I think this is the time. And remember, whenever you wake up, it’s your morning. So right now, Nollywood, here comes your girl!
Does this have anything to do with your venturing into the real estate sector last year with the establishment of Lambo Homes?
Yes. I wasn’t accepting the scripts then because I wanted to set up my businesses and also push other things. So, yeah, I think those were the reasons you all haven’t seen me so much in Nollywood.
The BBN Lockdown Season’s reunion was staged recently; what do you think of the various housemates?
I think all I see is growth and I love it. All of them are doing amazing. I’m so proud of them.
Who was your favourite and why?
I think all of them. You know, they’re all unique in their own ways.
Can you recall your three best moments since 2019?
I think the day I entered the BBN house, the day I came out of the house, and saw my parents from the stage and I was like “Mama, I made it”, and also, the day I paid for my first home. These are my three best moments.
Your fans were hopeful about your relationship with Ike Onyeka; what contributed to its crash?
You know, I was there and I have been there. Breakup happens and it is what it is. What crashed the relationship? I seriously don’t know. I think we were not compatible; so it crashed.
So who’s the man in your life right now and what do you love most about him?
I can’t mention his name. You know what they say about protecting people you love and cherish? That’s what I’m doing. I have a handsome, loving man by my side who supports and loves me. What I love about him is that, he is so consistent and intentional about me, and also, he’s not about the social media life. He’s a businessman and I love that he loves God. I just love him.
What’s your biggest regret?
I don’t think I regret anything because everything that has happened to me is either a blessing or a lesson; so, I don’t regret anything.
Who inspires you?
I have quite a number of people and women who inspire me across the globe. A lot of people inspire me, especially people I can relate with; people I see myself in. People that have been through a lot.
From which of your parents did you draw your resilient, goal-getting spirit from?
It is from my mother; she is a hardworking woman and has been there for my siblings and I despite how we troubled her. My mother inspires me the most; she’s my biggest supporter and she’s my everything.
You did a butt job; what advice do you have for young women who also want to have cosmetic surgery?
Well, do what makes you happy. Do what you want to do; it’s your body, you call the shot and it is your money — spend it how you like to. Do whatever makes you happy.
Describe your style in two words?
My style in two words will be glam and fun.
What do you look forward to? I look forward to greatness, opportunities, more growth, and everything good because I deserve everything good. I also look forward to good health, more business opportunities, open doors and all the good things of life.