Widely regarded as one of the underdogs of the recently-concluded edition of Big Brother Nigeria, Nina Oyenobi never knew she was capable of gathering a huge fan base until she secured a place as one of the show’s five finalists. Oyenobi rose to fame as one half of MINA, a strategic as well as romantic partnership that involved Miracle Igbokwe, the show’s eventual winner.
Since leaving the house, the light-skinned beauty who critics of the show that gave her stardom often dismiss as not ‘sharp’has birthed her own fashion company and hair line, Nina Ivy Empire, giving the impression that she is ready to make a name for herself apart from being regarded as Miracle’s witless paramour.
This was also the impression we at NET TV had when we invited her over to our studios for an interview, a month after the show ended. The interview which was nearly marred by poor logistics (she didn’t have a car and had to be brought over in a Taxify ride we got for her) and ‘African time’, started on a rather ridiculous note when the Big Brother finalist declined to go on air because she was not pleased with her makeup.
‘I can’t use this colour’, she said. ‘I react to some brands. It’s showing the pimples on my face. You guys won’t be there when people are abusing me on Instagram.’ Her staunch refusal suggested to us that she was concerned about how people perceived her and as seen on the show, seemed unsure of herself. She was then taken to a name brand makeup studio by her handler.
They returned almost three hours later but more surprises lay in wait as the interview started. Apparently in a bid to prevent gaffes and Instablog9ja type of WTF statements, her new ‘team’ comprising of an official manager and an ‘Auntie’ – attempted to screen the questions she would be asked. Of course we declined. But no sooner than the interview started did they start shouting answers at her. Anytime she started to answer a question, they literally cut in to tell her what to say. We asked how she felt about Cee C. Her team called out from behind the camera ‘Just say unique. Unique!’
Matters came to a head when this writer asked her about the car on screen lover Miracle promised to buy her. Even Nina could no longer stand the duo’s constant intrusion and cried out in frustration, ‘You people are not letting me do this interview well, you people are distracting me.’
Eventually the interview was wrapped up and it was clear that Nina herself was unhappy with the overbearing nature of her handlers. It is expected that as she starts a new life as a celeb, her manager may want to guide her interactions with the media. However there’s a wide gulf between guidance and puppetry. This seemed like the latter.
Two days after this interview, she was gifted a car by celebrity stylist Toyin Lawani. Fans were happy for her but wondered if it wasn’t a Greek gift. The giver herself was compelled to address the matter, saying there’s no ulterior motive behind the move.
Big Brother has afforded the 22 year old some measure of popularity and would find out that new friends – which she suddenly has a lot of- do not necessarily mean all of them want the best for her. Will she grow out of her timidity or continue being a pawn at the hands of more adept players? Only time will tell.
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