Lucy Essien was a favourite of fans whilst she lasted at the Big Brother Naija (BBN) Reality TV Show (The Lockdown edition) in 2020. She tells VERA CHILD MAHA and SULEIMAN IDRIS in this interview the costly mistakes she made in the house and the lessons learnt.
Growing up as an orphan
I believe that somehow such phenomenon made one strong; you become independent and it’s difficult to let
people help you. That is what I am trying to learn now to actually sit back and let people help me. It is difficult, but I just have to try because I am used getting things done myself. I feel like if I don’t do it myself it isn’t
perfect, it becomes a problem of control, because I have to do things myself to
be sure it is perfect.
I didn’t know all these were a problem until I got into the house in Big Brother Nigeria and had to stay with other people and came out and saw a huge difference about life. You know when they are not recording all these things how you relate with other people, you won’t see any deceits. But in the case of BBN, a reality show where there were people watching and giving feedbacks and opinions, but whether one chooses to ignore them or not, at a point you will realise that some of them are actually saying the facts, they are saying things that makes sense; so that tasks you to adjust accordingly.
The journey from Calabar
Life has been an interesting journey.
Lagos was the last place I desired to live. I wanted to settle down in Abuja
because coming from Calabar I was already used to a peaceful, quiet and
serenity of that place and then I live in Abuja. But somehow I found myself in
Lagos because of a job search and being here I just had the feeling that God is
moving me and things around in the way he has purposed for me. Most things just
happen that are not my decisions some times and I just have to move on and once
I go with the flow, they just pop into place.
Roasting plantains by the road side
As at 2017 during my NYSC and coming from calabar, that is what we were doing and I was proud of the delicacies and
the unique styles we prepared and presented Bole as we call it in Nigeria local parlance. I saw it as an opportunity to start a business because nobody in Abuja was doing it the way the calabars prepare the
menu and make it irresistible, even here in Lagos, I saw the same thing.
Calabar special Bole
Yes, that was the way I introduced it
to Abuja and Lagos. Even here in Lagos, I haven’t come across someone doing it;
so I have replicated the same pattern that my people do in Calabar to residents
here. Here you are just serve roasted plantain and groundnuts, we don’t
eat it like that over there, and it was weird for me to see such here. In
calabar, the delicacy comes with stew, garnished with different types of fish
and a lot of others.
My unique style
I have introduced the addition of
turkey, prawns and snail to it. Initially, a number of persons tell me they
don’t eat fish and someone advised that I introduce turkey and I tried it, and waooo,
it was a hit and as I keep growing some were asking if we have prawn and that
was it. So, we are enlarging our menu as it is.
It started with a passion, I just
wanted to fill a void and now I’ve found myself engrossed in it.
After waiting for years to get into
the university, I was lucky that I finally did gain admission. I was actually
targeting a first class, but I again found myself dropping out. But the fighter
spirit in me did not relent, so I returned to study elementary education for
children and I graduated with a 2.1. I am a professional student teacher.
Big Brother Naija fascination
The way the show sets out, just
people living in a house, just having fun. I was fascinated by the fun part of
it, which was what I saw. Though there were other aspects of the reality show,
I just felt as a fun-loving person I was just going to have fun and come out.
But when you get in there, it is a whole different mix of people.
Falling in love
Love is a very strong word; I never went in there to try to fall in love because, firstly, you never know if it is
legit, you never know if that partner is just going to use you for the show. So,
I had already made up my mind that I wasn’t going to toe that line. If you feel
you have anything for me, after the house parties you can talk to me and then
we will know if it is genuine. I think I was too guided.
Soft spot for Praise
I was, but it was just an on and off
thing. One day we are cool the next day we are not. There is nothing there.
Challenges with BBN housemates
It wasn’t that I didn’t have it good
with the housemates, but like I said earlier, I think it was all about control.
I believe I should have taken things easier with everybody. When I sit back and
think about it, I just felt like ohh! There was really no need to have gone
that extra mile trying to get everything and everybody in line. I think I
should have just relaxed more and just enjoyed myself and just let people be,
because I kept seeing them as children; I think that was the major issue. I
forget they were complete adults capable of their own decisions and taking
responsibilities for it. So, I have learnt a lesson from it.
One, people are grown up and they
will do what they want to do at the end of the day; so I am not going to harp
on people to do things in a particular way anymore. If it doesn’t work for me,
I will just walk away and take a breather.
At a point it was making them to
attempt to ban my pages, a lot of people were using the hashtag and it was
causing ripples that were not favourable for me. So, I stopped it and when I
parted with my former manager I just had a handful of that group.
Frankly, I don’t know; all I can say
now is that I am cool with everybody. I talk to everybody when I need to. I run
a business now so I have to be cool with everyone (laughs hilariously) and
I actually rooted for everybody
because we all had the chance of winning, which was why we were there in the
first place. I think I should have fought harder to try to win, I should have
focused my energy in trying to win, but maybe I wasn’t just cut out for that
kind of stuff.
Getting into the house and leaving
the house. No goodbyes That is why I said it was the best
thing as at then. Nothing about it anyway, it is the same thing with having a
relationship with the house because you don’t know who is legit or not.
Life after BBN
Now, I get to respect people’s
opinions more and listening more. I don’t just try to force my opinions on
people. It is difficult to do that because I don’t know what is best for you,
maybe because I felt I had experience in term of age or situations of life, but
now I am learning that your own opinion doesn’t necessarily mean that the other
person’s opinion is wrong. I have also learnt that you need people in your
corner. I get to see how much that means in giving people chances, I have
always thought that I don’t need anybody because I have always been by myself
and I felt I could do things on my own. So, it was a great lesson and for that
I said to myself that look, you need people in your corner fighting for you.
However, I also think I must have done a few things too late and felt I really
lost those already.
Those are my crying parts; till now I
can’t watch those episodes. I don’t know why I was so emotional. I also think
the worst part was that I felt they would have respected my privacy; this is
your own private moment where you are trying to sulk and just let go of the
whole steam, but I didn’t know that was the very part they were focusing on showing,
which was depressing.
Suggestions for BBN production
Unfortunately, you can’t tell them to
remove those parts because there are people who can relate with that, with what
you are going through at that moment. People are still watching the show, so that
means they are doing something right and they may as well continue.
Swollen bank account
Yeah! For a while it did and I think
it can still do so. But I think I am focusing somewhere else, maybe if I can
swing my focus and if I have some sorts of good words or goodwill, I mean if I
can get somebody who can get me access to certain places, I will be able to
still do well. That is why I said I have learnt I can’t do things on my own,
people need to position somewhere because I am just coming from nowhere, and no
such connection with such people hitherto.
The government didn’t do that, but
the Cross River tourism made an offer when I got there; they gave me a
certificate and everything. We had meetings on some issues and after that, they
vanished. So, I have no idea if that is still on or not. I have some deals with
another company and till today I haven’t seen any commitment from their end and
I take it that the deal is off. I lost the team that started that conversation
and if something comes up I am sure they should be able to approach my new
The new look Lucy Essien
I am hoping that my business picks up
even much more and I get a new location where l can grow from and eventually
start my restaurant and I just keep moving from there.
Yes, even in Lagos I desire to have
three other places followed by Abuja and Uyo. I was shocked when I discovered that
Uyo doesn’t have Bole. I am looking
at cities and places that don’t have Bole
restaurants. I feel by the time the competition hits up, you have already
Activities asides Bole
I will like to host shows and events,
offering outdoor catering services for large events and I hope to go into
interior decorations also. I just need to learn a few things and I’ll be good
Message to fans
Just want to say a giant thank you; I
still see a lot of them on my apps while many are worried that I am not always
on line, but I am there, I just don’t post so much. I am trying to improve on
that because that is the only way they will know I am actually okay. I am
hopeful they will stay with me and I’m grateful for their patience, love, and