by Wilfred Okiche
26 year old Ehizojia Okeguale was ushered into the big leagues last year when he defeated over 2000 hopefuls to win the MTV Base VJ search. For him, life has been on a fast lane since then and he spends his days moving from one recording to the other and chatting with some of the continent’s biggest acts.
He stopped by at the offices and found himself on the opposite end, parrying questions about his growing up years, life on the fabulous side and Lupita Nyong’O.
Enjoy excerpts from the conversation.
How challenging is working on television?
I have done radio and tv and both of them are different. Radio is like boot camp for television, the advantage being that you can get away with not feeling your best, or not looking your best. Tv is a whole lot of work. No matter what you are going through you have to bring that energy.
There are times when you don’t feel like smiling, days when you are not interested…
I am always interested, but true, there are days when I have had enough but have to keep going. Imagine shooting for 6 hours straight, it tends to get to you at times. But it happens to anyone human I imagine; doctors, lawyers, conductors.
Your choice of hairstyle is interesting. Why the locks, is it your way of standing out?
I locked my hair in November 2011 before I got on tv but before then I was carrying an afro. I have never really had short hair since my secondary school days. I locked it after university because I needed to be my own man; free from school worries and I did not want to go knocking on offices looking for jobs.
I learnt you studied engineering…
Yes I did Computer electronics at Lead City university, graduated in 2011. I actually attended 2 universities, the first was University of Benin but I had to drop out due to some family issues.
By family issues do you mean cult problems?
No I mean real family issues, both parents were involved. Come on do I look like a cultist? I don’t really like to talk about it but I had to do what I had to do.
A lot is not known about you prior to winning the MTV Base VJ search. Could you fill in the blanks?
I grew up in Ikeja, now live in Lekki. I went to Providence Heights in Ikeja. I am the last born but I did not necessarily get everything that I wanted but I had everything I needed. Just the normal Nigerian childhood.
What is the most interesting for you about being on TV?
Being relevant I guess, the ability to change or influence someone’s lifestyle out there. A reach that you may not get as a doctor or lawyer or lecturer
What are your full names?
Ehizojia Benjamin Okoeguale from Edo state
Is the MTV Base gig your first time on tv?
Well I used to do some normal online video recording, like a reality show, we called it The Lost Files but officially, yes MTV Base was my first time on television.
How did you end up winning, there has to be a story there?
I went to audition and it came out like that. There was an audition in Fantasyland Ikoyi. I auditioned along with about 2000 other people. I did not know anybody, I had no clue what I was doing, I just went there to have a great time. I drank like 7 bottles of Lucozade boost while waiting. It was crazy.
What was your audition like?
Long. There were 4 stages and you had to prove yourself at every one of them. At the end of the 4th stage, we were about 4 people. They will give you a script, then you freestyle.
There were 2000 other people, a lot of pretty girls I am sure, some experienced hands, what turned the tide in your favour?
I don’t know man I just did my thing. Thinking about it now, it is God because I was just following instructions. They ask me to do something, I just do it and smile, they kept on calling me back until they said I was the winner.
How has your life changed since the win?
It has changed, in a good way. There is no more hunger.
Were you hungry prior to that?
Not literally. Not for food, but for what I was going to accomplish with my life. Yes I had the Engineering degree but I had no intentions of practicing at that time.
So why did you study it?
I have no idea honestly. It was just something to fill on the Jamb form because I felt it was the thing for me. It was later on I realised I should have just studied Business Administration, graduate sharp sharp.
Is there going to be any Engineering in your future?
There might be.
Is it that for you now, there is no more hunger to hustle?
You hustle every day, you push every day. I have not arrived, I just got into the business. It’s like I am in a building with 100 storey building and I am still at the ground floor, getting to the top floor will take a whole lot of work.
What is at the top floor?
I have no idea, I have not gotten there yet, have you?
No but I know the ceiling for the career that I have chosen. What is that peak for you?
Having tea with Barrack Obama would be cool. I love him. Seriously though, I would not want to limit myself and say this is my ultimate career move because who knows if there is more to come after that? The Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’O just got nominated for an Oscar, sometime ago, she might have said her ultimate goal was winning an Oscar. But now she is in her first film and that possibility is real, her career is only just beginning. There are so many other things she can and will still do, that is what I mean by not wanting to place any limits.
You will not be on MTV forever obviously, what are your career plans?
I intend going back to radio and to do more tv shows, keep hosting shows. You never know. You can become anything. I could decide to stop doing tv and become a marketer with Oando, you never know.
You have met a lot of famous people in the line of duty, which of them has left an impression on you?
I met a lot of them before becoming a VJ so it was easier talking to them. M.I, Jesse Jagz, these are people you remember after talking to them Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva, Saheed Balogun I met at the airport and he knew my name and was great to be with, Femi Kuti, Sola Fosudo. At the same time there were people I met and it was less than memorable.
I ain’t saying nothing.
What about the girlfriend, how does she cope now that her boo is on tv?
I don’t have a girlfriend so there is nothing to cope.
How come? You are young, famous, handsome, you must be getting so many offers.
I don’t know about many offers, my last relationship was in 2010. Maybe you should call Davido or Wizkid and ask them. Not me, my life isn’t like that honestly.
Come on help me here, I am fishing for a headline
A headline would probably come if you asked me to name 3 celebrities I would want to date.
Ok since you want to go there, shoot.
Beverly Naya, Jocelyn Dumas and Sound City’s Pearl