28 September 2022

BBNaija Season 7: “Phyna or Bryann will win the show” – Noble Igwe

Since its inception in 2006, Big Brother Naija has grown to become Africa’s biggest reality show attracting followers from across the continent and beyond. But the fans, really, are the soul of Big Brother Naija, and My BBNaija Story seeks to understand them and hear their thoughts about their beloved show.

PR and fashion consultant Noble Igwe is no stranger to the BBNaija scene.

Every season, he shares his unfiltered views about the housemates and their shenanigans, sometimes butting heads with other fans in the process. In 2020 during the Lockdown season, he very publicly declared his support for Ozo, unlocking a whole new level of fandom.

In this interview, which kicks off the My BBNaija Story series, he talks about his journey down the BBNaija rabbit hole, the most ridiculous thing he’s done for a housemate, and more.

When did you start watching BBNaija?

I watched the first ever Big Brother Naija in 2005 or 2006. I can’t remember the actual year, but I watched that. The one that had Katung as the winner, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Gideon, Ify as housemates. That was the first time I watched Big Brother Nigeria.

What’s your favourite season?

BBNaija Lockdown housemates during a Saturday night party

I’ve enjoyed different seasons, but I have different things I take away from each one. I liked the season that had Anto, Frodd, and a couple of other people in it. I liked the Lockdown season, because I kind of feel like that was the period when all of us were at home and didn’t have any other thing to do, other than wait for the vaccine, and watch Big Brother. So, I think that was the season that a whole lot of Nigerians watched the show.

Who was your favourite housemate, and why?

Anto and Noble (Twitter/Nobsdaslusshkid)

Anto Lecky. I feel like she was one person who was on the show, and didn’t really sell herself but who I have come to meet outside of the show, and has shown that she is a very strong person, she is very brilliant. I have worked with her on different projects, and she has delivered on every single one of them.

Tell us about being part of a BBNaija fanbase.

Ozo (Instagram/Officialozo)

During lockdown I supported Ozo, and that was the first time I went way down the rabbit role of Big Brother Naija. It was the first time I saw how people vote. I used to just vote from my house, but that was the first time I had to call people together, meet in some places, and try to get people to donate money so we could vote. It was my first and only time going down that rabbit hole. I don’t think I’m ever going to do it again.

Wow, that sounds interesting! Tell us more about what happens within the fan bases.

So for someone who is watching Big Brother from their home, you only see the housemates. You come on social media, see the fanbase that people belong to, but sometimes you don’t know how deep that goes.

I watched Lockdown to the extent that they released a clothing line for Ozo when he was in the house. I wore it, promoted it, asked people to go buy it, and then it got to the level where we needed to come together to ask people in the market if they had voted with their sim card. We would use their phones and vote for our person. I didn’t know it was that serious. I had to call my personal friends to donate towards paying for Ozo to stay in the house. I also put in my own money to buy a recharge card.

And let me tell you, the funny thing is that every member of what they tag as the VIP group on Big Brother Nigeria may have supported a different housemate in the season before. So what happens is, they choose new people, they come together, they now form a different group, and they also know that some people who used to be in the same group with them have now moved to a different housemate. So it’s like a cult of people who like Big Brother Nigeria, and who will do everything.

We see stories of housemates getting lavish gifts from fans, does this really happen?

Ex-BBNaija housemate Erica poses with her numerous 27th birthday gifts last year including a fully paid for house in Lekki and $10 000 worth of stocks in Tesla, Amazon and International Airline (Instagram/Elitesforerica)

Listen, some people have gotten houses, cars, fridges. Some ex-housemates have gotten things from people who may never get to meet them. It’s not a joke. I’ve seen people say “oh, maybe one man has gifted…”. Listen, I’ve seen it myself.

I was not in the BBNaija house and I got gifts. I’ve gotten perfumes, money, and I wasn’t even a housemate. So you can imagine people who were in the house. And these things were given to me by people who think I was supporting somebody they supported. I have gotten so many things in terms of gifts from people. Maybe like, older people who are in their husband’s house, maybe with their grandchildren, saying “I see that you support my person in the house, let me send you something for the weekend,” and it’s a real thing. I mean it’s hard to believe that, but it’s a real thing.

Compared to music artists and movie stars, why do you think BBNaija fans do more for their favourite housemates?

I’ve kind of felt that BBNaija fans do more for their faves because sometimes they see them (housemates) as coming from nothing to becoming someone. Sometimes they don’t believe that maybe the endorsements the housemates get will give them the kind of money that they need, so the fans feel like they have a role to play.

The fans also feel because they played the role towards making this person, they have to make sure this person succeeds in life.

So in music you can buy an album, download it, whatever, but in Big Brother Naija, they support this housemate, fight for this person, come together to vote, so when the person finally comes out of the house, they feel like ‘yes! I played my role towards this person being succesful.’ So, I kinda feel like this is a big deal, just because these people have followed the housemates from Day 1, where he or she was just a single name, and maybe by the third day, he has followers, and they are now called, for instance, Ozones (Ozo supporters) and Ninjas (Nengi’s supporters). They have been part of the process.

Sometimes music stars already have a name, they already have something going for them before they become famous. But for Big Brother Naija, these are everyday people who went for auditions, and were lucky to be picked, so then the fans have to now play the role into making them stars. They also think if they can make this person a star, there is also a great opportunity for them to become stars themselves.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve done for a housemate on the show?

I think the most ridiculous thing I’ve done for a housemate was calling my friends to donate money. It may sound like it’s not a big deal but imagine me calling people to say “Hi, so Big Brother is happening, there’s this person, he’s up for eviction, it would be nice if you can help send money so we can buy a recharge card and vote for him.”

I went to a voting centre off Orchid Road. Listen, I stay in Lekki Phase 1, and I drove all the way to Orchid Road. I left my family to go and vote, I mean, yeah I won’t do that again.

What’s your favourite thing about BBNaija?

The fact that people most times leave their home with a strategy, get into the house and life happens. Like you know, you try to say this is who you are, oh, you’re not going to kiss on TV, oh, you’re not going to do all those things, but reality sets in and there’s really nothing you can do that stops you from being you.

What are your thoughts on the Level Up season?

I like the season, I like the fact that there are younger and older people, even though I feel like they should have added more older people, so people like Diane could have people who are probably their mate they can play with or have conversations with.

But I like the fact that the young people were not pushovers. I just sort of wish that the voting was not as complex as it was at the beginning, because I feel like the young people who left would have a lot to contribute to the house.

What has been your most painful eviction this season?

Amaka BBNaija
Amaka in the BBNaija house (Instagram/the_real_amaka)

Amaka’s eviction. I kind of feel like she deserved better, I feel like she was a strong person in the house. I didn’t think she deserved the way she left. I sort of wished her fans could have been given an option to either keep her in the house or let her go.

What has been your biggest moment so far?

The time that Phyna, as one person, was able to put Segun and Bella in their place, on the sofa, and she did it without asking anybody for help. I mean personally, I don’t think I want to get into a fight with Phyna any day.

I didn’t like the classism of certain housemates feeling they were too cool for school, and people like Phyna, because they are from the streets, shouldn’t have an opinion. So I like the fact that she fought for herself. I mean, she might have said things you might not agree with, but, there is nothing wrong with somebody who feels like she is an underdog, and she needs to fight for her position, I like that.

Who do you think will be this season’s breakout star?

There are few people who I think, not one person. I think that Bryann is going to do well in music, as long as his team sells his music beyond the BBNaija fans. Let them see him as a complete artist, and not somebody whose fans need to buy his music for him to blow. If they do that, then he will do well.

I think Groovy will have his thing with modelling, but the thing is people who have dressed well in the house end up not being able to do anything in fashion in Nigeria. I’ve noticed that people who dress well, when they leave BBNaija because they are not refined, they are not a total package, they don’t make it. But, I like the fact that Groovy looks like a great model.

I also think that Hermes is going to do pretty well. Also, Phyna obviously, and I think if she moves to Lagos. I kinda feel like if she wants to be a hype girl, we don’t have any popular hype woman in Nigeria at the moment. And I feel if that’s the route she wants to take, she will definitely do well. And also because of her popularity, a lot of people would want to work with her.

Who’s in your top 6?

My top 6 has got Groovy, Bryann, Phyna, Bella.

And the winner?

I kinda feel like it’s between Phyna and Bryann, for some reason I don’t know.

I feel like Bryann has a Gen Z following that is dedicated to his cause. I think that Phyna has a following of people who say “we may be the underdog, but we are going to make this girl the winner.”

Watch the teaser trailer for upcoming Showmax Original, Diiche

What’s on your Showmax playlist?

Diiche is something that I’m looking forward to, but presently, I’m watching Bosch. Also House of the Dragon. I haven’t watched it, but it’s on my to-watchlist.

What will be the cost of vengeance? Empini S1, coming soon
Ultimate Girls Trip SA: What happens in Jamaica?