By Agatha Emeadi

In the last three years plus, there has not been any dull moment for the Big Brother Naija Realty TV star, Mercy Eke, in the Entertainment  industry and the entire social space in the country. 

Indeed, she has continued to dazzle and shine in her acting career after winning the BBNaija Reality show (Pepper Them edition) in 2019. 

In this exclusive chat with Sunday Sun Celebrities Rendezvous, she regaled as she narrated the opportunities being a celebrity has thrown at her, as well as the challenges.

Hear her: 

How did you get interested in your showbiz?

While I was in school, I used to watch the show ‘Big Brother Naija’ and would tell myself that I cannot wait to be on this show. That was when I started auditioning for the show, which took me four times in four years of watching and auditioning, until I got picked and as God may have it, I went into the show and won in 2019.

How did you rise to stardom?

I rose to stardom through my participation in Big Brother Nigeria (BBN2019). I think that when I went into the show, I won so many hearts through my participation. I also think that the experience that blew me up was being myself and showing people that anybody can become somebody if you put your mind to it. Like I said earlier, I was auditioned four times, but I was resilient and did not take no for an answer in all the years that they were saying no to me or try again, I kept on going, moving and working hard until I got into the house. So, while I was in the house with other housemates, I made sure that I enjoyed myself, lived the truth and loved those that loved me and it was a beautiful experience which everyone should try because it was a beautiful time for me.

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How are you coping with your rise to stardom?

I am coping with the rise 

to fame or stardom and will say that it has not been easy, but the benefit that comes from being a famous person is an opportunity for anyone who has been on the show; even while on the show in the house, brands are already waiting for one to come out. And when one is finally out, you will get to work with brands you never expected to work with. But then, all these come with challenges, time frame, one putting him or herself out there because it is not easy to be relevant and not also easy to stay with relevance and that is the most challenging part of being a celebrity. So, the challenge is to build one’s brand and while doing that, there would be ups and downs, news and rumours, backlash, but the sky is simply one’s limit.

How did your parents feel when you were getting into Big Brother Naija (BBN) and now that you have made them proud?

At first, I did not tell them because I came from a close-knit Christian home. Most of my relatives are Reverend Fathers. We have a church in my family house; that is how much a Christian family I came from. When I was doing my auditions, I did not make it loud, and again, we were told not to disclose it to anybody, but I mentioned it to my sister who was with me through out the journey. When it was a week to move into the house, I told my sister to inform my mother and warn her not to tell anybody until they see me in the house. So, at that time, they did not really have a say because I lived in Lagos while they lived in Imo State. Apparently, there was nothing they could do even if they knew. Again, we were protective because telling someone could ruin my chances of getting into the house as we were always told to be very discreet. When I got into the house, I did my thing. Then, thinking about my parents while in the house made me to stay focused and maybe I would have done a lot of things that I would not have been proud of later in life. But each time I remember that my parents and other relatives were watching, I would do things that would not give my family a good look and that alone kept me focused. Again, for the fact that most of my uncles were Reverend Fathers was also a big check on me. I will always remember my family, Oh, this uncle or Rev. Fr. is my family member. Interestingly, I can also tell that my parents were not the type that enforces a particular profession on their children. Instead, they believe in whatever one could do and be the best. I studied Psychology from Imo State University which is a very good course if I pursue it as a career; it was my dream to have a rehabilitation home as a psychologist, but that might come through later in life, but right now, I feel I belong to the entertainment industry, that is my dream and I am living it full.

How is society treating you now?

From my own point of view, before one wins the show, you must be loved because there must be thousands and millions of people voting and keeping one in the house and making you a winner at the end of the show. That is why I thought I am loved and I will also say I am a very nice person both on screen and off screen. Surprisingly, coming out of the show, I can also tell that I have been misunderstood a lot of times. I wonder what went wrong from making me the winner and at the same time being the most hated celebrity or TV reality star. I felt that coming out, I needed to put in words, keep doing the things that would make the society proud, but I found out that the society has problem with successful women. Maybe they felt that when I came out of the house, I would have dropped everything and hide my face. Since I came out and started seeing myself on media platforms trying to put me down, I kept wondering if these are the same people that made me a winner and crowned me in 2019? Some of them accepted me, but seeing that I am doing great, they started having problem with me in the long run. So, I am just indifferent and that is how I feel because I do not think I have done anything that would attract being pulled down. Right now, I am trying to detach myself and maybe find life in the area of acting which I have started the journey. Maybe they would see more of me.

What advice would you give to the younger ones building their career?  

My advice to young ones building their career would be to keep their heads high. This is me speaking from experience because one could go from the most loved to the most hated; I mean from the most loved to the most hated; you need to keep your heads high. There is need for them to put in the work good efforts, keep focused and remember why they even started. Most times, I used to feel like quitting the limelight and dropping everything and just go into hiding; but I ask myself, why did I just get started because the society can really get harsh on women. I would tell the young ones, both male and female, to keep their heads high especially when things start working out for you, do not expect everyone to love you, you will get loved, but get more of the hate, therefore, you need to love yourself the more to be able to overcome the hate that comes from an established person.