Uti Nwachukwu is now one of the most popular faces in the entertainment industry. From movies to presenting to modelling; we just may have lost count. However, we must keep up with the pace of this young and intriguing gentleman who was the winner of the Big Brother Africa All Stars (BBA5) reality show while he climbs the entertainment ladder with so much speed. Certainly there’s no stopping this extremely patriotic, passionate and God fearing individual. In a brief interview with 360NoBS, he tells us about his experience thus far, after the BBA show.
360NoBS: Describe yourself in one word.
Uti Nwachukwu (Uti): Mysterious. This is because I can’t really place a finger on one thing. There are so many versions of me, some are true and some are false.
360NoBS: Tell us about the Uti before BBA, and what do you think has changed?
Uti: I’m the same Uti I was before BBA, nothing has changed. Although, I’ve got a lot more money (Lol). I’m loud, down to earth, joke a lot. I’m a hard worker and a hard player, I’m not a helpless romantic, but I’m sensitive, deep and I’ve got high intuition. I’m also very outgoing.
360NoBS: What was life like before BBA?
Uti: Life was simple. I liked to be around people. I grew up in a very small town, so I didn’t have too many friends. I was usually indoors, watching television and nurturing my talents. I did regular things. I attended the University of Nigeria where I graduated at the top of my class with a 3.9 GPA. I went for a couple of modeling auditions as well. I couldn’t afford some things I wanted then, or afford to go to places etc as opposed to now. But I was ambitious, still am, and I had big dreams.
360NoBS: What did the BBA program expose you to?
Uti: A lot of platforms. I’ve always had multiple talent; it has helped me explore those talents and also given me leverage. I’m a television presenter, MC, model, actor and I’ve been able to go into music as well. I’ve also found a lot of favor with people. People always want to do favors for “celebrities”, and it’s nice. Also, I’ve been able to help people. When God puts you in a position to help people, there’s joy. For me, that has been the height; when people come to you and you can help them, it’s totally amazing.
360NoBS: Did people’s attitude change towards you?
Uti: Oh, but of course! Some negative, some positive. Where do I start? There were some people that I’d joke with in the past and it would be seen as a joke, then all of a sudden, I joke with this person and the next thing I’m hearing is “Ah, why Uti go dey talk to me like this? Na because e don hammer now”. It was really heart breaking. Also, when I participated in the first BBA and didn’t win, people made a lot of nasty comments and the second time I participated, I won, then all of a sudden these same people had nice things to say. I know God still has a lot in store for me, so it freaks me out to see that it’s already affecting people this way, when God hasn’t even started with me, and it’s really painful when these people are your close friends. But on the positive side, people are always so nice to me, they want to help me, sometimes I go somewhere and I don’t have to queue and stuff. LOL. I always say this and I heard it in a movie; “Money don’t change you, it changes the people around you”. Although, it does make you paranoid.
360NoBS: You are an attractive young bachelor who gets loads of attention from the ladies, how do you handle this?
Uti: My personal life is something I’ve chosen not to speak about, it’s my personal life. Everyone has access to every other part of my life. I have to be Uti as Uti sometimes, I can’t be Uti the celebrity all the time. I don’t sleep around. I’ve had my fair share growing up, so it’s not new to me. Some people can’t phantom that I’m not like that; promiscuous, changing ladies like underwear. I’m all about progress, moving forward, doing the right things to inspire the right people. I like the attention, because it puts me in a position to help and inspire people. A lot of ladies approach me with sexual intentions and end up leaving with enriched lives. To me, it’s the same thing as a boss sleeping with a co-worker, so I don’t do it. Thank God I’ve been raised well. 🙂
360NoBS: Are you seeing anyone?
Uti: That’s for me to know and for y’all to wait. The only time y’all are going to know is when I’m about to get married. I’m a man, I’ll see someone at some point, but there’s nobody steady or worth knowing yet, y’all are going to have to keep guessing.
360NoBS: You are the brand ambassador for Martini sparkling wine, an actor, a television presenter, model and MC, how do you juggle these?
Uti: Honestly, I can’t tell you how. I give God the glory. Every morning when I wake up, I hand my day over to Him, tell Him to take total control and to order my steps. Sometimes, I do 3 different things in one day – I could present, be an MC at an occasion and model, all in one day. I don’t know where the strength comes from. When I have a lot to do, I just ask for strength. Sometimes in a month, I have just 4 days of rest, and those 4 days I always treasure. I enjoy it and I’m getting paid to do what I love, my life is awesome.
360NoBS: What’s your take on the Entertainment Industry?
Uti: Entertainment has been an alternative source of income. It plays a huge role in the building of the economy. In the industry, you have to be dedicated and serious. If you’ve got any issues, you have to hang them outside before getting into work mode. Entertainment should be encouraged in Nigeria especially as it rapid grows. It is interesting and fulfilling if you know what you are doing. Entertainment touches lives, entertainers touch lives.
360NoBS: You are now fully immersed in the Entertainment Industry, how are you finding that?
Uti: I’m finding it wonderful and glorious; I’m living my dream everyday. Although, sometimes it can be a little quiet in the sense that you may not have much to do in a month. Other times, it can be very hectic and I’ll be looking for spare minutes. It’s erratic and I love the uncertainty; I’m an adrenalin junkie, so I like the anticipation. I absolutely love it. I believe I’m at the training stages, Hollywood awaits me, with God on my side, nothing is impossible.
360NoBS: You present a show called JARA, how did you land this role?
Uti: I was called in to audition like everybody else. I met the best of the best there. I was nervous about it. I watch a lot of television. I watch a lot of shows/programmes presented by Ryan Seacrest, Richard Quest, and a host of others, so some how, I’ve tried to cocktail all their personalities in one, and work with it. I got the role, because I got merited and I had to go for series of interviews. I love my co-presenter Helen Paul, the chemistry is amazing and I always look forward to recording. Imagine, presenting a show with a comedian – She’s hilarious.
360NoBS: Are you allowed to take on any other presenting jobs besides JARA, and are you looking at taking any?
Uti: I’m allowed to, as long as they aren’t direct competitors or are not alternatives of the same kind of show. MNET is very flexible, they are about promoting and not restricting. I get offers, but I would only settle for the best. Back in the days, I accepted whatever came my way because I was trying to establish myself, so I believe I’ve paid my dues. When the big ones come, I go “Hallelujah”, so when Martini approached me, I was like “Hell Yeah”. Also, when it puts me in a position to help people, I’ll definitely take it. Getting to the top alone is boring; you’ve got to help people.
360NoBS: Tell us about your acting career and how you are finding it.
Uti: My very first acting experience was when I went for “The Next Movie Star” and I came out as the first runner up. Although my first love was music, my friends saw me more as an actor, so I decided to give it a try. I was in Tinsel for a bit, but I had to leave to go into the BBA house. Also, I was in the Bachelors which was produced by Ruke Amata and ‘Bursting Out’ where I won an award for the best actor West African collaboration at the Ghana movie awards. I love watching movies; I watch movies back to back and I’m a big movie critic. If I’m given a script and it’s interesting, I’m game. I have 7 movies with my name at the moment; “In The Cupboard”, “Weekend Getaway” which is the most anticipated for me – its a movie were old Nollywood meets new Nollywood and directed by Desmond Elliot. The others are “True Citizen”, “Speechless” which I’m also looking forward to; starring myself, Uche Jumbo and Tonto Dike. Also, due in April is the first ever thriller to be shot in Nigeria, I’m in it and I’m excited about it – directed by Ajua Dixon.
360NoBS: You are considered to be a fashionable gentleman, where do you draw your fashion sense from?
Uti: Honestly, I don’t know. I’m a TV buff so I see a lot of what’s happening in the world of fashion. I like the way the Italians dress. Once what I’m wearing fits me and it goes with my skin color, I’m good to go. However, James Johnson is going to inspire most of my dress sense this year. He says I’m someone that can pull off anything. He watched me on the runway and liked me. My first outing in his colors got me the People’s Most Fashionable Showbiz Personality, and I’m like ‘Are you people sure? With all the showbiz people out there?’ Lol. Once I look in the mirror and smile, I’m alright.
360NoBS: If you weren’t already in the entertainment industry, what industry would you have liked to be in?
Uti: Telecoms. Probably in the marketing or events department. This is because they are the most relaxed when it comes to white collar jobs. I’m not very good with authority, also, my patience level is low; I pray for patience daily. Basically, something relaxed, I hate to be tensed, makes me depressed.
360NoBS: You seem to be a very busy man, tell me about your typical day.
Uti: I wake up at 6 or 7, shower and rush to the studio. During recording breaks, I may have an interview. Afterwards, I rush home to get ready for an event. See family, reply mails, keep up with the fans, see friends and sleep.
360NoBS: How do people react when they see you?
Uti: It depends. Most of the time to be honest it’s positive; especially from the ladies. Not in flirtatious manners though. It may be because of something I did or said on television that inspired them. Other times, I may not need to pay for food at restaurants or pay for stuff at supermarkets. It’s all really nice and I thank God, because it’s only Him that can make people love you unconditionally.
360NoBS: How are you handling your success and all the pressures that come with it?
Uti: I stay grounded, stay close to family and don’t forget where I’m coming from. I put my life in God’s hands. I worry less, because with worry comes old age and stress. I keep my head level and surround myself with good positive people. I don’t have so many friends or cliques anymore, so that if something happens, I know exactly where it’s coming from.
360NoBS: In a country where people refer to celebrity lifestyle as a job, is there any other thing you do?
Uti: I have 2 major projects. The first one is “Uti Leads The Stars”. Basically, myself and my celebrity friends pick a day to spend with the less privileged. We take along food, toiletries, clothing items or any other concrete item we believe they might need. It was a success last year and I’d like for us to do it 3 times a year; Easter, my birthday and Christmas. The second one is a prostate cancer awareness programme. It took my dad, and I need people to know that it can be averted.
360NoBS: If you could do anything differently in your life right now, what would it be?
Uti: Nothing. I love everything. It’s all a learning process. It has shaped me into the man that I am. Because at some point, I’m still gonna have to re-learn them, so no, not changing nothing.
360NoBS: A lot of young people look up to you, what words do you have for them?
Uti: Be true to yourselves. Don’t be encouraged by fake lives. Dream big, accomplish what people say you can’t achieve. The only being who can help accomplish these things is the Supreme Being which is GOD, so, hold unto Him.
Interview by Isoken