Nengi’s fame post her run on the Big Brother Naija, Lockdown is undeniable. With over two million new followers across the continent, her epaulets are shiny with multiple brand ambassadorial deals and a Ramsey Nouah-directed Nollywood debut. She captivated Africa with her smoldering good looks, sassy retorts and her iconic Saturday night moments. Clearly, she is on a meteoric rise to mainstream celebrity status. We sat down with her during her brief visit to Accra to delve more into her life and career after Big Brother. With a relatively short time to prepare for a photo shoot, we set a day and created what we believe is a cute re-imagination of Nengi. If you ever thought she was fun to watch on TV, wait till you meet her in person. Enjoy!
If Nengi wasn’t known for Big Brother, what would she most probably be known for?
I’d be known for my shoe brand (shoesbyflora) and as an agent of change, which would be evident in Girl child/women development and empowerment.
Fame after Big Brother, how are you holding up? Did you expect this level of fame at all?
I am doing just well. Since after big brother, there has never been a dull moment; and in all honesty, Yes! I knew I was going to be famous. It was just a matter of time; I didn’t know it was going to happen at 22 though.
Before you entered the house, you mentioned you wanted the world to see the intelligent side of you and not just a pretty girl. Do you think you achieved that purpose?
Yes, I did. You know, before the house, so many people would see me and just conclude that, I am just a fine girl. But since I came out of the house, I’ve lost count of how many people I knew back then, that call to tell me of how much intelligence I exude. So yes, I think I achieved that purpose.
How would you say your personal relationship with your fellow housemates played out? Would you have it any other way?
It played out really well. I am so grateful to God for them, and I thank God we are all doing great in our various endeavours. And no! I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Has your being a BBN star affected your personal relationships with people you knew before entering the house? What has changed?
I’d be lying if I said No. I mean I don’t get to hang out with most of my friends like we used to. I am just too busy with work and they are busy people too. But I am planning on organising something for my friends soonest.
Reality TV stars are mostly seen as shallow-minded people. Do you think this perception is entirely true?
Well, anyone that took out time to watch the show and then witnessed the tasks, games and all, would definitely not say this. One thing is that, no matter how hard you try to change some people’s perception about a certain thing, it will never work so it’s okay for people to think as they seem fit.
What do you think of Reality TV being a platform best suited for showing one’s potential to the world today?
It’s actually the best platform, if you ask me; because reality TV will subject you to an all-round test. You have to be versatile to survive. In the course of that, you tend to even find deeper parts of things you can do, that you do not even know exists.
In today’s social media climate, how important would you say is your input in your popularity after the BBN exposure?
Social media is a powerful tool. Social media did a lot to my visibility, and even deals/endorsements I have bagged today. In this time, social media does 80% of the work.
You entered the house with over 300k followers on Instagram. Few months after the show, your following has risen to 2M and counting. Do you think they are just mere numbers?
Actually, it was around 12k followers, and no, they are not just mere numbers. They are people who believe in me, love my work and are ready to stand by me, through thick and thin. Yeah, shout out to Ninjas, you guys are the Best and I love you all.
How would you say your impressive following on social media can impact your society?
As an influencer, I have to be careful about what I post or put out there, because I am influencing a great number of people. I can’t possibly put out things that would mislead people, or things that my brand doesn’t represent.
You have affiliated yourself with many brands as their ambassador since the show ended. Do you think this was informed by your active presence on social media or your personality?
I think both had a lot to do in this equation. Brands look at your personality, and also how many people you can reach out to help spread the word about the products/services they render.
Do you have a particular strategy for Nengi, the brand, going forward?
There are strategies actually, but if I tell you, I’d have to kill you, because that’s my weapon/secret.
How was the experience on the ‘Rattlesnake’ set? Should we consider that a start to a Nollywood career?
The experience was exhilarating; it was all shades of amazing. Definitely the best way I could have started my acting career.
What else would we know Nengi for in the next five years?
Shoe Boss, Humanitarian and advocate for women and girls.
Tell us more about your philanthropic endeavours?
I choose to see myself as a humanitarian. Maybe I can be a philanthropist in the nearest future, but for now, I am more of a humanitarian, advocating and rendering the little support I can give. It’s something I’ve been really passionate about since my modelling days when I literally had nothing.
We would like to know your comments on police brutality in Nigeria?
It breaks my heart to be honest, the police do their best to try to safeguard lives and properties of citizens. However, you can never have it 100%, maybe due to the system and all. The bad eggs in the police force are really doing a lot of damage. You know what they say about doing something good and just five persons hearing it, and doing something bad and 50,000 people echoing it from different places.
Has Nigeria healed from the ‘End SARS Protests’?
I don’t think Nigeria will ever recover from that, with those clips I saw online, no way. Youth lives were lost, and so many talents and great people went with it. How does anyone ever recover from something like that?
You seemed to be passionate about women’s issues back in the BBN House. What concerns about women in Africa would you like highlighted and tackled?
GBV rate in Africa is alarming, and that’s where I am tilting to, when it comes to women in Africa.
What do you have to say about women empowerment in Nigeria today?
I am so happy that women are beginning to see themselves as more, they speak out now, and take on roles that they ordinarily wouldn’t even consider decades ago. We can still do more though.
How was the experience being on set with your all-time fave artist?
It was a beautiful experience; the artistry and synergy were great. That’s why the finished work came out the way it did. Still my favourite music video. I never get tired of watching it.
What has been the biggest perk of being a BBN reality star!
Access mostly! there were places and offices and people I may not have had the opportunity of meeting that I now sit to gist, laugh and break bread together with. So, it’s definitely the access.
What misconception about you would you like to clear?
I think I already cleared that! Just a pretty girl, no brains, which I corrected in the BBN house.
What would Africa be surprised to learn about you?
I lived my life for almost 3 months in front of Africa. Literally bore it all. I think people should know me to an extent.
Fave reality show?
I think you already know! Double dose of BBN please…
If you had children someday, would you let them watch your run in the BBN House? Would you advise them to participate?
As far as you are up to the age, why not? you can watch and also participate, and Yes, my child has to give me a show. And use their platform to sell positive narratives.
STYLE STEAL WITH NENGI
Whose closet would you like to raid!
Please give me a date with Kylie Jenner, and see what will happen.
What would you never be caught wearing?
I think I wear just about anything, depends on the occasion, or event, that’s because certain times, calls for certain looks.
What is the one thing you want to add to your closet?
A Rolex Watch.
What is the most expensive thing you own?
Has to be my cars.
What are the top 3 things in your make up bag right now?
Fenty Lip gloss, mascara and Huda beauty Foundation
Any type of hair accessory or no?
Fave make-up trend right now?
My fave makeup trend of all time is long wing liners
Describe a perfect night time look?
Pyjamas, loose, I like to be free when I am resting.
Oversized/baggy fashions or tight clothing?
Not overly tight, but tight clothing’s does the magic for me.
Aflluential by Charles De jeu.
Photography – Gilbert Asante
Creative & Styling – Brimah
Styling – Zynell Zuh
Garments – Zyellegant & MOD
Make Up – Lawrencia Owusu
Hair – Christele CODO
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