There is something about being in the presence of Eric Arubayi, a contestant in the West African Idols reality show. With his disarming smiles, irresistible good looks and composed mien, it is almost impossible not to be smitten by his charms.

On this raining Monday, he takes out time for this interview, amidst a very busy schedule where he is involved with putting finishing touches to his latest venture, a clothing mall. His bright and happy disposition is so infectious, it is clear that he is over with the disappointment of not clinching the much-coveted prize of first place in the West African Idol competition.

He said: “Missing out on first place in the West African Idol was a massive disappointment to me. I felt so low that I found myself asking questions like, is music really something that I could do? Thank God I am over it now. I had to tell myself that, ‘come on man, what’s the big deal?’ You win some, you loss some. I may have lost out on that but there are still a lot of wonderful opportunities out there. I had to go on a hiatus for sometime, but now, I am back and I am doing something in the studio. I just don’t want to rush things,” he informed.

However, Eric still finds the experience useful as he veered into Interior and Exterior decoration. “The outcome of the competition helped nurture other talents in me as the whole experience helped me discover myself. When I stayed away from music, I felt it wasn’t right to be lying about idle so I decided to do some interior and exterior decoration. Luckily for me, I have found the venture very rewarding financially.

It is something that I have always wanted to do back in the days when I was in South Africa attending University. I was so passionate about it. I knew that I had to do something extra there but unlike others I didn’t want to do bartending. I wanted something different. Thank God, I stuck by it because I have been able to do quite a lot in the area. That is another reason I am grateful for the exposure West African Idol gave me. It opened quite a lot of doors for me and I enjoyed the goodwill of so many people. They just kept giving me jobs to do and all glory to God because I have never disappointed any of my clients.

These days, you would find Eric holed, working on his latest project. “I am actually preparing for the opening of my fashion mall which I call EROMA. I am going into this range of business for a number of reasons. First, it is going to be for me, a steady source of income. Interior and exterior decorating may be lucrative but sometimes, the jobs may be few and far between and other times I may be saturated with work. The plan is to have something to fall back on. Secondly, it is something I am good at. I find that it something I love. I use fashion to brand myself so I felt why not do something along the line?” he says, the enthusiasm much evident in his face.

In spite of the fact that he is obviously going to face competition in his clothing range business, Eric is not fazed. “I am very confident in my abilities. I don’t just rush into anything. I feel that there is a yawning gap in the fashion industry and what I just want to do is to fill in the gap. I have stuffs here for both sexes and as a very fashion conscious person; I feel that I can fill the fashion gap that exists.

One thing that sets Eric out is his humanitarian streak. “One of the most touching moments of my life was when I saw an abandoned baby in an orphanage. I was touched because the little baby was abandoned on the roadside with ants crawling all over it. I could not bear the sight of it. I am presently responsible for the little baby’s upkeep and I intend to do more.

I remember when I was in Kenya, I met a lot of kids there with HIV and I wanted to do something special for them so I got them a year’s subscription of DSTV. I want to do more here. Not because of the publicity but I feel that God has been good to me. Life has been wonderful to me and I don’t ever want to forget that there are people who are probably not as lucky as I am