Actor Chidi Mokeme tells ’NONYE BEN-NWANKWO why he is back as the host of Gulder Ultimate Search Season 9 after a break of six years
Hosting GUS 9
I think it was an internal decision. I understand a public poll was held to determine who should be the next host of the Gulder Ultimate Search event. They listed the names of the past anchormen and the public was carried along to make it more interactive. At the end of the day, the result came out and my name topped the list.
When I was contacted, I didn’t hesitate to accept it. There was no need to reject it simply because they decided to drop me after hosting the first two editions of the show. In fact, I was privileged to have hosted season one and two of the GUS. I always say that the show is not all about me.
The show is about the opportunities created by the Gulder brand for youths. It was the responsibility of the organisers to determine what direction they want to take. I was very happy when I was given another opportunity to anchor the show. I waited all this while, hoping that it would happen. It eventually happened and I am glad about it.
So I couldn’t have felt bitter in any way. My relationship with Nigeria Breweries has been very cordial all the while. Apart from GUS, we have done other things together. The organisers were at liberty to try out any new thing they wanted to do.
I think will keep it a secret until the show begins. You have to wait and let the show be unveiled. But I know it is a different ball game this season. We know the show is going to be a lot more exciting this year than ever. GUS 9 has broken many records already.
No fewer than 30,000 people applied to participate in the show. It is record breaking. It hasn’t happened before. So, I know it will be different this year. You just have to sit down and watch it.
Each of the contestants is a potential winner. They just have to go out there and prove themselves. Any one of them can become a winner. It is possible for a girl to win this time. Last year, a girl almost won. She was standing on the treasure and she didn’t know it.
Maybe she didn’t think it was possible and right under her nose, somebody else came and took the treasure. That is the kind of surprise we have to watch out for this year.
My new wife
I knew I just got married and here am I in the jungle. But I know my wife will cope. She has been coping. I need to revive my romance with the jungle. Even then, this is what I have signed up for.
This is my routine and she knows it. She appreciates what I do and she will cope. The days are long gone when I appeared on TV just for appearance sake. If I need to be on TV, I need to do something that is fulfilling, that would want you to wake up in the morning and go to work. I choose the kind of things I do now.
My wife is a ‘double’ doctor. She is a Pharmacist and medical doctor. I say it with pride. Our careers are far apart, but we understand each other. I knew she was the woman for me from the moment I saw her. She never knew I was an actor. I met her four years ago.
I met her outside Nigeria. She is a Nigerian, but she is a American by birth. Marriage happens when it wants to happen. It was time for me to get married and I got married. Before now, I hadn’t the opportunity to get married. Maybe it was because I had other things on my mind. It finally happened when it happened.
Selling s*x toys
I am a model, I own a clothes line and a studio. Why are you interested in the shop for sex toys? Only those who are interested in sex talk about s*x toys. S*x for me is something you keep behind closed doors. It is not something to be discussed in public. I have not told you that I sell s*x toys. So I cannot tell you if I make money selling them.
I started as a model. My job was to represent brands. This brand ambassadorship is becoming popular two decades after we have been involved in it. It has caught on. Some of my colleagues are now being endorsed by one brand or the other. I have my own fair share of the endorsement deal.
I am brand ambassador of a telecommunications company called Zodaphone. Many things are happening underground. Things will reveal themselves in time. We have graduated from modelling to endorsement. I am a brand and I do endorsements now.
My acting career
I don’t think I will quit acting. There is no retirement age when it comes to acting. As the year goes, the opportunities available to you keep changing. I am not going to quit acting. My principles have remained the same. The things that inspired me to act in a movie haven’t changed.
The story must be relevant. It can be a story that I must relate and connect with. From that, I go to the crew. I must know the people I am working with. If they are people I can work with, then we are cool before we start talking about the fees.
I am not expensive. It depends on the project. You cannot put a limit on the arts. I can do a film free-of-charge and I can do another for a billion naira. I have a production outfit as well. I am sure as soon as we are out of the jungle, I will go back and meet with my people.
My parents gave me the opportunity to acquaint myself with the whole of Nigeria. I had my primary education in the West, I had my secondary education in the North and I had my tertiary education in the East. I have always been a roving person. I will give my kids that opportunity to know all parts of the world too. I understand Yoruba and I have appeared in a couple of Yoruba movies. I also speak Hausa. Of course, I speak Igbo. If you pay me now, I can speak any language.
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