by Christopher Okagbue
“What if I stopped after it was impossible to get the registration requirements that Sunday morning? What if I stop now?”
The first time I entered in for the Gulder Ultimate Search competition, I was not chosen. They recorded the trials and in the build up to that season, they showed the run ups. So there I was on National TV with my shirt off undergoing medicals. The next day, everyone was excited ‘Chris, I saw you on TV. You’re going for Ultimate Search?’
I had to relive the experience of dropping out again. It made this failure clear and public.
Before then, I had starred in commercials for MTN, Coca Cola and the like. There was this award for models called Peak Awards and they nominated me for the ‘Best Model’ award. I remember dressing to the nines then jumping a bike to E Centre for the event. I won the award that evening.
Another Gulder Ultimate Search Season came: Season 8. Would I get back on the horse that had thrown me down? Let me explain what happened the morning of the trials.
The requirements for the competition include six cans of beer and a form that needs to be downloaded off the net. At 9: 00 a.m. on that Sunday, I am driving around the grounds of the University of Lagos looking for a laptop. The search takes me to Mariere Hall, Jaja Hall, New Hall, the Faculty of Social Science and back to New Hall. Still did not get a laptop. I was not that frustrated though. I had my best friend Richie with me, Tafa and some other friends in the car. They were guzzling the cans of Gulder since I only needed empty cans. The mood remained upbeat despite the frustration of going round and round UNILAG without being able to get a laptop let alone internet connection. That’s a different story entirely.
Anyway, after all that, I got into the competition and that is the season I went ahead to win. There were high moments after that like getting a big role on Tinsel, a few movie roles, some modeling gigs and producing my first movie Lotanna which premieres soon.
Then Gulder organized a season in which previous Ultimate Men could return to the show as ‘Gatekeepers’ by public votes for three favourite Ultimate Men. It was same adrenaline rush again: canvassing for votes, hoping you had enough friends who would go the length to vote for you, bothering about competition and always conducting a SWOT analysis of their capabilities. Again, I was successful. I was the first of three gatekeepers for GUS9.
Now, I am done with hustling in the (Gulder) jungle it seems. I am also done with looking for laptops on Sunday mornings. It also feels good to be recognized on the red carpet (insert wink here).
One thing I have realized in the midst of all these is that it is never Uhuru. At different points in my life, I might have stopped. I might have chilled and still been chilling. But dissatisfaction with your present point is all you need to move to the next level. Guess that’s why being an Ultimate Man, model, dancer, singer, actor and producer will not be enough.
I also value family. I have a wonderful supportive family-my sisters, twin brother, mum-who understand what it means to be in showbiz and have been very supportive. My friends are also great. I really value my friends who know me as ‘Okechukwu’.
I don’t know how to give advice. I like to just tell my life’s story which is still playing out. One thing I always think of in my alone moments is what if I stopped after the first Ultimate Search trial I attended?
What if I stopped after it was impossible to get the registration requirements that Sunday morning? What if I stop now? I guess it’s always necessary to recover from success: to digest it, make use of it and move on to greater things.
Christopher Okagbue is the winner of Gulder Ultimate Search season 8. He’s multi talented-successfully juggling different areas in the entertainment industry. He is a force to reckon with.#AnyBodyCanWrite
30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.