He walked into the newsroom with a lot of gaiety. As he strolled around, he was not mistaken for his kind of person. The air stood still as all eyes were fixed on him.
Momentarily, the newsroom was thrown into a fits of hailing for the Nollywood star actor. Welcome Jim Iyke, the newly crowned sexiest Nollywood actor. Jim is a sex symbol any day, and he does not pretend about. Apart from being crowned the sexiest actor in Nollywood, Jim Ike from all ramifications is one of the top rated actors in Nigeria.
His bad-boy roles and the way he plays them seem to have made him the toast of a lot of ladies. In his middle age, Jim who currently went into philanthropy said he had to abandon his banking job in order to pursue a career in acting. At the beginning, his decision did not go down well with his strict parents who ended up throwing him out of their house. The actor does not regret his decision as acting has definitely paid off for him.
Today, he is one of highest paid actors in the country.
In spite of the good looking, charming playboy roles that movies seem to cast him in, Jim is focused and carries the posture of a no-nonsense actor. In 2005, owing to his love for humanity, he sets up a foundation to attend to the yearnings and aspirations of helpless children and stirred an effort towards the alleviation of the suffering of certain members of the society now derogatorily referred to as deformed.
Jim Iyke is currently in the studio recording a musical album which is expected to hit the airwaves in due time. The album, according to him, is being produced by Puffy T and features Tu Face Idibia, Timmaya, and 9ice among others.
Jim stormed Vanguard Corporate Office, Apapa, last Wednesday to lay claim to what rightful belongs to him. In this engaging interview, the star-actor reveals so many hidden secrets about his life and career to Entertainment Editor, Ogbonna Amadi & Benajmin Njoku
Sexiest man in Nollywood, when I hooked on to the contest
Unfortunately, I did not start-off with every other person. I was doing a movie in New York when a call came to me through my Public Relations Officer, informing me about the contest.
He described it as one of the best things to happen to Nollywood. After giving me details of the competition, I said, ‘fine let’s see how it goes’. And one thing that aroused my interest was just the fact that Vanguard was involved.
We all know what Vanguard stands for; promoting excellence and professionalism.
While I was in New York, somebody sent one or two copies of Saturday Vanguard Newspaper to me. I quickly read some of the text messages and comments made by the readers and felt that some of the comments were harsh on me and perhaps, unfounded.
I just thought that the opinions as expressed by the readers regarding the stars involved in the contest should have been detailed. But when I returned to the country a couple of weeks ago, some of my fans in Germany, Belgium and America were anxious to ascertain what is the outcome of the competition. At this point, it has become a historic thing. In the cause of the competition, a lot of people’s interest was captivated .
While it lasted, I had a lot of my fans who were frequently calling me on phone to furnish me with the progress of the competition. I don’t know how they got my GSM number. But I must confess to you that in the course of this whole exercise, I sent out one text message that I have never done before in the cause of my acting career.
And it was “Thank you messages”. I despatched it to all my friends and fans across the globe. It is a worthy experience. For me, it’s a landmark achievement.
Who’s afraid of losing? The truth is that it’s the conviction of the people that supported my ambition, and so they believed in me. I have absolute conviction myself that, those people who backed me up in the cause of my whole acting career have never been disappointed in me.
I didn’t feel any iota of threat because the margin between me and my two closest rivals was so overwhelming. I would have taken it as one of those things. I have recorded many loses in my life. Sometimes, you can decide to go public with your loses, at the other time, you can decide to sit down and meditate over those loses. And that’s what makes you who you are, and where you are coming from.
I have been very vocal about the loses I have recorded in life. But if I had lost to either Emeka Ike or Desmond Elliot, I would have sat down and truthfully looked in-depth to find out why I should lose to anybody that belong to my generation.
For me, I should prefer to have lost to an RMD, or rather still, any movie star who is considered in every ramification worthy of being ahead of me. That’s why my fans ensure that I recorded an edge over my them.
A loner in Nollywood
I am seen as a loner in the movie industry; that lonely guy that nobody understands in Nollywood. But truthfully, things have been that way. I came exactly close to one person in the industry, and also, made one enemy.
Whatever anybody says in respect of the kind of relationship that I have shared with some of my colleagues is entirely his or her own opinion. I am also entitled to my own opinion. For instance, I have never considered Emeka Ike as my enemy. We are colleagues first and foremost, and above all, he joined Nollywood long before I emerged.
As regard the issue of who is hot or violent, its none of anybody’s business. Emeka has his own shortcoming just as I do have my own shortcoming. I know that we are two brothers from the south-east. It was just the press that blew-up the misunderstanding between us. I must state here that ‘I did not fight with Emeka Ike’.
Rather, we engaged in a kind of “exchange of wit.” Somebody accused me of doing something hideous that I was convinced I never did. As the kind of person that I am, I did want to make it physical. Rather, I sat down and plotted something that has all the makings of a Nollywood movie, and ensured that I put everybody in the picture in what Americans call, “flipping the script.” It’s a long over-flogged matter, my brother.
Between me and Emeka, nothing physical happened. I acknowledge the fact that we are two full-blooded men from the south-east and sometimes, we tend to get over-bored with pressure and thus, explode. I am not a push-over.
Did I sleep my way to the top?
To sleep my way to the top is totally unfounded here, and it’s such an incredible impression that people have had about me. I am extremely hardworking and a workaholic by all ramification. I have paid my dues in the movie industry.
Nobody can wake-up today to lay claim to the fact that Jim Iyke does not deserve any honour. My movies speak for themselves.
If you don’t mind, this is the first time, I am hearing the fact that I slept my way to the top. I am not a woman, and there is no way anybody could accuse me of sleeping my way to the top. If you are saying that I slept with a female marketer, or a producer such allegation might be founded. May be, a lot of people have this kind of impression about me, so I need to address it right away. Whether in Nollywood, Bollywood or Hollywood, the only people that are known to sleep their way to the top are basically women. I wonder how anyone would say that I slept my way to the top.
The brand Jim Ike
I was placed between seven other sisters making me the only son among other siblings of my father’s household. I trained as a banker and a psychologist at the University of Jos. I was going to take up a job in banking, which I turned down. And I think, it was one of the reasons my parents threw me out of our house.
I woke-up one day and said to my parents that I wasn’t going to pursue a career in banking anymore and I’d rather go into acting. My parents felt it was going to bring a kind of embarrassment to them. At the end of the day, my dad asked me to leave our house, that I should go and fend for myself.
And not knowing where my next meal would come from, I was compelled however, to move from place to place trying to discover myself. I have come to realise the fact that the only person you can trust in this world is yourself. I am in-depth in that situation and in-depth in that ideology. And perhaps, that’s why people call me a lone ranger.
I can’t just bring myself to trust anybody. By that situation, you can be ostracized from people around you and then, you are made an incredible strong person. I think, that’s who I am.
From the outset.
There was no Rita Dominic in the picture, nor Steph Nora or anybody else. But the truth of the matter again is that, regarding my kind of person, I tried to price myself very high when I started. There is a sort of hatred when it comes to me. I refused to be a snob.
I was hungry and absolutely unkempt . I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. But I said to myself, ‘I would rather not settle for anything less in terms of negotiating for fees no matter the situation. I was noted for that.
My colleagues then were getting smaller roles and paying up their bills. But I was not, because I did not want to price myself low. Then, I was labelled as nobody in the industry even as nobody wanted to entrust any lead role to me for commercial purposes.
So, I got into the movie world, when I was to feature in the movie produced by Obi Mmadubugwu. I negotiated for N25, 000, which was like twenty-five million naira to me then. While they were counting the money to be handed over to me, surprisingly, a better known actor whom I supposed they had promised to give the role that was later assigned to me, eventually walked into the place and demanded to be paid N40, 000.
The producers decided to drop me to signed him on, based on the fact that he was a well known face on screen. So, when I left the place, I felt disappointed. But it was Regina Asika who tried to comfort me, philosophizing that “whatever happened here was just paving a way for whatever was supposed to happen”.
I don’t know where she got that word of wisdom from. But since then, I have come a long way. My breakthrough came when I featured in the film, “Prisoner”.
Though the producer of the film didn’t like me, but for the fact that they needed a younger person to play the lead role, all they did was to back me up with some known stars. After producing that film, I can say with certainty that the producer walked away with millions of naira.
But I was paid only N 20,000 as my first fee. However, featuring in that film was perhaps the worst mistake the powers that ruled Nollywood made because my role in that movie exploded my talents to the world and that was it. That marked the beginning of the Jim Iyke story in Nollywood.
Jim Iyke Foundation
The Jim lyke Foundation for Facially Deformed Children (JFFDC) is a non-governmental, non-religious and non-political organization established in 2005. It comprises persons who are engaged in the advancement of the protection of rights and welfare of children with various deformities.
I brought in people from outside the shores of this country, because Nigerians like to appreciate something that comes from the outside. My motivation for setting up the foundation is to be a part of history. I cannot come and go in this world without touching the people’s lives.
My foundation is a direct response to the yearnings and aspirations of these helpless children and an effort towards the alleviation of the suffering of certain members of the society now derogatorily referred to as deformed.
By identifying with the cause of these children, we intend to sensitize the public on the plight of children born with various degrees of deformities in a polity where access to a standard and affordable medical treatment is almost non-existing. I refuse to sit on the fence.
I would rather sit on both sides of the divide. I have a lot of enemies, just as I do have a lot of people who love me too. For me, I’m used to walking with my head up high. I was always afraid to fail or not measuring up to the expectations of my fans.
But right now, I have a better understanding of my power than any other person. I can understand what it means to muter kind words to somebody who needs to be comforted. I used to fight against all forms of dehumanizing treatments meted to a fellow human being. But my worry is that, I am not appreciated in my home country. In abroad, my fans admire me lot, but here in my country, nobody seems to appreciate me.
Traits of anger
I remember going through some of the nasty comments expressed by the readers concerning me during the competition. I am not bothered either.
Otherwise, those comments were sponsored by some people who never loved me. My fans did not bring anybody down to get me to win the crown. And for me, I don’t need to bring anybody down in order to reach the top. Let me state here that, you cannot give what you do not possess. For a long time, I really have not appreciated myself in so many ways.
When one does not appreciate the kind of power that he possesses, it breeds ignorance for him, which in turns form a lot of other negative traits such as arrogance, violent and selfishness. The truth is that, I cannot stand the sight of somebody who runs other people down. Instead of me to possess that superiority of knowledge to deal with the situation, I resort to being angry.
And anger has been with me right from the start of my career. I have suffered so much in life that I do not know where to vent my anger. There are people that I never met before in my life, but who in one way or the other have reason to say some unkind words to me.
I am an extremely sensitive person and equally a shy person too. All these things combined is just to find a way of dealing with the situation that I found myself . And at the end of the day, if I cannot deal with the situation, I resort to the next thing I know how to do best.
It’s all under the shield of ignorance. But as one treads the path of maturity, one becomes stronger and better convinced of his power and how to throw it around.
I am a victim of misplaced anger. Colleagues around me have absolutely no confidence in me. I don’t know who is after me. That’s the truth. I don’t want to see any of my colleague as my enemy. I love them all and I wouldn’t want to go out of my way for anybody. I have gone too far in the movie industry and today, I am judged by my past misdemeanours.
My kind of woman
I have said this before, and I am saying it again. The kind of woman that I would want for a wife is that super-super sexy looking chic with brains. That’s my kind of woman. I have been longing for such woman. These kind of women are rare to come by.
They are better informed, and found within the professional circles. They wouldn’t travel the same route that you are travelling. They are often found in their fathers’ homes and they hold their arguments with their husbands.
They know where they are heading to in life. But the kind of women we meet everyday of our life are the type that cannot hold conversation longer than two minutes. What inspires one to marry any woman must be beyond the physical.
Some of us accepted to settle with them. I have been through all that and you need to go through all that too. I wonder the kind of woman that I will see now, who can contribute to my knowledge. If her ideas are superior, I would go with her ideas, but if my ideas are superior, she would have to shut-up her mouth and follow mine.
The women out there are those ones that always feel that one’s destiny is somehow irrevocably attached to one’s self. I don’t care what their financial status might look like. That’s a major problem to me. It might have started happening already, and the press are aware of it.
Because, I have spent much more of my relationships on the pages of newspapers. I have found out that each time I try to announce this thing, the heavens are let loose. I may have been married, or I may not have been married, nobody knows.
I have been blessed with enough resources to take care of my dream woman. May be, I am planning it, or may be I am not. May be, I just don’t want to talk about it. I like to enjoy life to the fullest. But when I want to get angry, I get angry to the end. I want a woman that has all the primary features in place; a naturally beautiful woman, a queen, and one that possesses all the qualities of a good mother. I am an introvert.
Searching for my dream woman
I may have found her, who knows and I am not obliged to talk about it.
Making a career in music
Yes, I have veered into music. I have gone into collaboration with Tuface Idibia, Timmaya and 9ice among other artistes. We will be travelling to New York on the 13th of February to shoot. It is a 10-track album. Some I did with Yinka Davies.
Sometimes in the cause of my musical career, I do stay indoors for close to two days without seeing the sky when I am seeking for inspiration. Sometimes what I do is to leave instruction with my security guards to ensure that there is regular supply of electricity in the house.
Movie and music speak the same language. They highlight the same perspective, and they speak the same colours. They embrace the same idea strictly. It’s a very thin line that differentiates the two. Some of the music VCDs are better than the classical movies. So the two are interwoven.