Contemporary celebrity culture is characterized by fast-track access to popularity and fame.
Reality television has been with us for decades, and as long as there’s been reality television, there have been people trying to springboard from those shows to success in other mediums—careers in acting, music, and even the business world. Of course, some reality personalities are more poised for breakout success than others.
The Big Brother Nigeria reality television show has proven to be one of the most effect ways to achieve fame and popularity
Reality TV stars are a special breed of celebrity. Fans grow to know and love them as real people, not as characters — which makes the loss hit even harder.
Daniel Adaaja of SIMPLE had a chat with Niyi Lawal, the recently evicted contestant on The BBNaija Season 6 Shine Ya Eyes Edition.
WHO IS NIYI LAWAL?
Niyi Lawal is a very simple, positive and energetic man. I am that guy who will always preach positivity even though I see the bumps and all of that. Before Big Brother Naija, I am a laid back family guy, your regular fashionista but not your regular celebrity. I’m a businessman, tiktoker and just your regular guy.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO GO FOR THE BIG BROTHER NAIJA SEASON 6?
I chose to go because I saw a huge platform where I could sell myself, my talent and my business. I actually saw a marketplace.
WHAT HAS CHANGED FOR YOU SINCE YOU LEFT THE HOUSE?
Everything has changed, I have the spotlight on me, but I’m kind of used to that, I have always been used to that in my life because I am a 6.6 feet man, every time I walk into a place I get all the attention, it’s just this time, everything I do is out there.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF NOW AS A CELEBRITY?
Kind of. I see myself more as an influencer; let me put it that way. There’s nothing to really celebrate than me influencing people in the positive way I can.
WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU’VE LEARNT FROM BEEN ON A REALITY TV SHOW?
One thing I have learnt which I’m grateful for is that no matter where you are in the industry (entertainment world) you should try to be yourself because that’s the only thing you will have to hold on to when it gets rocky.
HOW LONG DID YOU PLAN TO STAY IN THE HOUSE AND WHAT IMPACT WOULD IT HAVE HAD ON YOUR BUSINESS?
I did not know how long I was going to stay but I really wasn’t expecting to leave in two weeks. The impact it would have had on my business if I stayed longer is still showing people who I am and what I’m capable of. More screen time will actually expose me to more audience and you don’t know who’s watching. Those are the odds.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU COULD DO BEFORE YOU WENT INTO THE BIG BROTHER HOUSE THAT YOU CAN’T DO NOW?
Have a better and proper plan. Probably I will say, I really was not in tuned to the Big Brother program before going into the house so maybe I will have been watching more, maybe 3 seasons before actually going into the house then have a proper set up team. On things I could do before and can’t do now, nothing has really changed before and after the show. I love to dress, I love to put whatever I’m doing out there, I love to make videos, I love to interact with brands and corporations. So that’s me.
IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO GO BACK INTO THE HOUSE, WHAT WILL YOU DO DIFFERENT?
Nothing. Except create a proper management team before I go into the house. On myself, nothing will change, what you saw is what you’re still going to get if I go back into the house.
HOW IMPORTANT IS FAMILY TO YOU?
Family is everything; family is the reason why I’m here today. Family is a blessing for me.
HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO CONVINCE YOUR FAMILY, ESPECIALLY YOUR WIFE ABOUT YOUR DETERMINATION TO GO INTO THE BIG BROTHER NAIJA HOUSE?
Well, It wasn’t rocket science, she’s a businessperson as I am, we actually made and assessed plans and we saw an advertising platform to put ourselves out there. So it was more of a support from her and she knew the man she was sending into the house. There was no much hassle and yeah we came correct.
CAN YOU SHED MORE LIGHT ON THE LEAGUE OF ETRAORDINARY GAMERS AND OTHER BUSINESSES YOU OWN?
League of Extraordinary Gamers is a fantasy soccer platform. This is football fantasy where we major in English Premier League (EPL) and we’re also in other leagues and other sporting events like UCL, Rugby etc. Now we do peer-2-peer gaming, we assist you to find other gamers around Nigeria, Africa to game with, and it’s the number one trusted gaming platform in Nigeria you can trust. We are licensed and we have our office in Calabar and we’re opening one in Lagos right now.
WHAT’S THE FUTURE FOR THE LEAGUE OF EXTRA ORDINARY GAMERS?
The sky is the stepping stone, as you all know, we are reconstructing football from what we used to know to digital and we can only go a step higher from here on.
YOU HAVE BEEN PUBLICLY ROOTING FOR WHITEMONEY IN THIS YEAR’S BIG BROTHER NAIJA, IF HE GETS EVICTED; WHO ELSE WILL YOU BACK TO WIN?
Yeah, it’s a game, anything can happen. If WhiteMoney get’s evicted tomorrow then I will also root for someone else, I see him as the favorite to win the money does not mean that he is the only one I’m interested in as a person. The people who I connected with are the people who I am definitely rooting for.
YOU ARE KNOWN BY DIFFERENT NAMES BY YOUR FANS, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT?
Honestly, I am just hearing that for the first time. I haven’t had time to really figure all of that out. Niyians, I don’t know, just hearing that and Nouns I think it came from fans and I really love them for that and I am just going with the flow.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO THAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE?
I really want to help people the best way I can, I think I’ve been doing that but I feel like I’ve not done enough. I think the whole stardom and celebrity status comes with responsibility, I see it as the need to guide and lead people to a better way or a better shape in life that you can possibly get them to.
HOW HAS BEING IN BIG BROTHER NAIJA AFFECTED YOUR BUSINESS?
It has affected my business positively, I have had partners who have reached out to me, they want to know more about my business and share more ideas with me because that is not the only business I have. I also have an event business that I share with my wife, we’re partners on that. I had numerous approaches since I came out of the Big Brother House and I’m looking forward to more.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR FASHION SENSE?
I don’t really know how to describe it, but I love fashion and it started with me not being able to get what I really like. As a tall man you just go for anything you see. I wear a size 50 shoe, I really don’t have to say ‘hey I want that style or this style’ I just walk into a store and ask do you have size 50, and if they give me anything, that’s what I have to deal with. So overtime I learnt that I needed to create my own style. I needed to make people see that it’s not just about you being tall; you can also have style while being tall.
ON YOUR TATTOOS, DO YOU STILL PLAN TO GET MORE?
No I’m not. This tattoo was actually a promise to God that was 2016 or so. I said ‘if something happened, I will get the tattoo’ and out of the blue and it happened and I had to get the tattoo.
ARE THERE ANY MISCONCEPTIONS YOU THINK PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT YOU?
Well, people felt like I spoke about me being married too much, but unconsciously I really did not know how many times I said I was married. I think I needed to be saying that in the house just to remind the girls, but it is what it is.
WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?
I am grateful for life, I’m grateful to be here today, I’m grateful for being privileged to speak to people and reach out to as much people as I can. It’s powerful.
IF YOU COULD CHANGE SOMETHING ABOUT YOU?
I really don’t know what I could change about me. I love my life, I love myself, I love who I am and I can only just enhance that as a person.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH CRITICS?
I don’t deal with critics, I feed off the positivity of whatever comes off the Internet and social space.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE WORD PEACE?
Peace is a very comfortable place, where you’ve been able to identify that you have a sense of understanding – understanding life, where you are and accepting it. That’s what I will describe peace as.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG PEOPLE WATCHING?
Chase your dreams. There is no such thing, as you can never start now.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Everything is next for me. I love entertainment, I’ve always been intrigued by entertainment so I want to explore that path as much as I can, I love to act, I love to be an all round entertainer. Business is always going to be major for me, I’ve always been business minded and I love business a lot. You guys should watch out for me.
A WORD TO YOUR FANS?
I love them so much, they actually treat me as a king, and I appreciate them for that, and I cannot appreciate you guys enough.
Watch full interview on Youtube;
Interviewed: Daniel Adaaja
Photographed: Rayo Kasali
Videograph: Ebiniyi Fisayo
Production Assist: Anuoluwapo Dada & Adebayo Adetola
Executive Producer: Edun Adedamola