By Vanessa Okwara
Offiong Anthony, popularly known as ThinTallTony, was in Big Brother Najia House two years ago.
His stay in the BBNaija house generated a lot of controversies even after the show and this affected him both positively and negatively.
He narrates what being in the reality show has done for him, his loving relationship with his wife and the real story behind the rumours making rounds that he’s now a taxi driver.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m married with three amazing children. I have a creative mind. I love to think all the time about the possibilities of expanding an existing or new idea and make it bigger. I’m like an open book; I still have pages I like to be filled with amazing things. Growing up was very hard; especially living in a ghetto. I was buttered and bred in Kirikiri town, Ajegunle, Lagos and it was fun but from a military background, it was tough because they didn’t really allow us to mingle so I and my brother had to force our way to try to fit in. When I look at my children, I feel that they have it good now. Back then it was very tough, sometimes we only eat once or just fend for yourself on the street. It was a good experience that has brought me to the man that I’m today.
What’s your educational background?
I did my primary and secondary education. I never went to a university but I’ve been part of their workshops and did some few classes; nothing educational, more like teaching what I’ve been able to learn theatre wise because I’m involved in everything creative. My highest point of education has been the secondary school. I studied under an amazing brain called Chop Mike and I will stay that took my education further in theatre for development and that has also helped to expand my art and imagination.
What are you currently doing?
First I won’t like to take out family from it. I’m currently being the best father to my children and also trying to create ideas that will stay for a life time. I’ve a few films I’ve featured in and coming up with another series pretty soon. I will start recording this month. I’ve got a couple of calls to be a judge host in a show but until they are in full limelight, I can’t really say anything now. I’m still involved with a lot of carnival work. The last I did was in December at the Calabar carnival. I’m working on a new street show called June 12.
You were in the Big Brother House two years ago. How has life been for you since you left that reality show?
Two years have passed for the reality show and life has been pretty much the same. Life doesn’t change. It is whatever it throws at you. I’m trying to be the best father that I can be because I know that it did throw me off balance after I left the house but it’s been very good. I won’t lie; there have been ups and downs, physically more demanding, financially more demanding as well but we keep the balances as a Christian, God is not far. He will definitely direct me.
I try to be true to myself and push myself further. I like to work and brainstorm. Everything I exhibited in the house is real; like I said I’m still getting calls. No brand endorsements for now. I guess everybody is trying to get that niche that is different; I still keep my fingers crossed. It will come. That does not mean I won’t jump at any opportunity that comes but it has to be a good one.
What did going for that show do for you?
It made me my own boss; I want to do my own things. I want my voice to be heard and that was the main reason to get there. It’s great to be invited to a gatherings and just talk. It’s been amazing. I think I have one directors’ conference to go for and brainstorm with amazing creative minds and see a possibility of pushing one step further. It is more than I have imagined. Sometimes when you go for a show like that, you’ll think it’s only for you alone but it’s a broad way for other people to pass through you. Not everyone will have the opportunity to go into the house but now it means others have access to you that you can help, work together and make things happen.
What have you been able to achieve using the platform?
What I can say is that I’m not the same person I was two years ago before the show. I’m not where I want to be yet but I’ll get there pretty soon. Someone once said its either you dream big or you go home. It has really opened my eyes. I’m not where I want to be but I’m not where I was before.
What have you done in the area of dance?
I’ve not really done anything concerning dance on my own personally. But I have worked with companies and have pushed it one step further. I had the opportunity to work with a lot of people and pour out my creativity when it comes to suggestions. I’ve not really had that much of opportunities when it comes to showing what I can do creatively on a Lagos stage. In Calabar, I’ve been doing a lot.
You garnered quite a lot of controversies while in the house. Did that affect you positively or negatively when you came out?
It’s been having its positive and negative part. Recently, friends of mine called to say that DSTV was doing a recap of the show on TV. I won’t lie, it’s gotten to a point where some people just don’t want to let it go and two years has passed. When I post the picture, I would like to read the comments because I appreciate everybody’s words but I’m human; so I will definitely feel bad at some point when someone is going to write some bad comments. Some guy at some point, even said, ‘you are so unsuccessful and two years have passed and you have done nothing.’ I’ve not met this guy anywhere before and when people write things like that its really hurtful but I guess I wasn’t meant to cross path with the person.
As for being controversial back in the house, someone had to be though I didn’t plan to be the controversial guy; it just happened that it fell on my shoulders and the viewers watching actually tagged me. I didn’t have any kind of tag when I went into the house. It has its negative and positive part. As much as people smile in front of you, it really has its negative part like a lot of people and brands wouldn’t want to associate themselves with that. One thing I realise when it comes to Nigerian audience is that we like to watch, talk, and point a lot of fingers but when you are a brand, you will say it doesn’t suit that brand so they don’t contact you. They don’t want anything to do with the person. People keep forgetting that it’s over and two years has passed but yet it’s all good. Negativity is part of life. I keep getting some encouragements; maybe not as I hope for but it’s working well for me so it’s great.
What’s the story behind the rumour about you becoming a taxi driver?
The story about me being a taxi driver comes with the package; I’m a taxi driver, an ambassador and a shareholder of JetRide.
How did you feel at first when you read all the derogatory words about you online?
I wasn’t aware this was happening until a friend called and asked I should check on social media to see what’s happening. I’m forever grateful to Tboss for having my back. So my final word to everyone out there on this is to find a business and buy shares.
Would you say fans forgave you for not telling them the truth you were married while in the house?
Initially I had no idea I had fans. Even up till now, it’s still doesn’t cross my mind. It feels good to build a fan base that says they are your fan and we are following him. I can never replace that but to now say I have to get forgiveness from my fans, it would be like I planned it before I went in. There are some realistic things when it comes to life. You don’t have to put your stuff out. You don’t owe anybody any explanation. Even talking about it now, I really don’t want to go into it. I can also use this opportunity to apologize to everyone so that we can all move on even after two years. Let’s just move on.
What’s your relationship with your wife like?
I have a beautiful relationship with my wife. We met online via Skype. The next time I saw her was on Facebook and before we knew it, we were talking. She had a boyfriend then. So one day I just lost communication with her. She wasn’t in Nigeria at the time but in Malaysia. One day on my way to work, she called me, and told me she was in Nigeria. Then I had a girlfriend too but then something just clicked. Even when I saw her picture on Facebook, I knew I won’t like to let her go and having gotten married to her, I’m glad. Till tomorrow, her family’s been good to me. ‘Na she get my Mumu button’. I’m blessed to have met such an amazing woman and I will not trade her for anyone else. We’ve been married for five years now and still moving stronger. I really give it God and also to my wife; she’s been the solid backbone in the family, holding and putting everything together. Sometimes I’m very stubborn but five years in marriage is no joke. We have our ups and downs. We have a balance. I give it all to her 100 per cent.
What does fatherhood mean to you?
I didn’t have the chance to stay with my dad, he got separated from my mum when I was two years, and my brother was three at the time. So I told myself at a very young age that if I do have a family, that I’m going to cherish it with my whole life and give it my 100 per cent and do everything that I can for them. My dad was never around. The family love that I had come from my granddad from my mother’s side. I told myself that when it’s my turn, I will be the best dad that I can and give my all. They are the best things that ever happened to me.
Describe your fashion style?
I wear everything Nigerian. That’s the only way we can promote our brand. I will say I like to copy a lot because I don’t have the mind for fashion. I’m already built well, thanks to God All Mighty, I think whatever I wear just fits me. It’s the swag that you have that makes the clothes look good on you. If you believe what you wear is good, you walk the walk and the people will do all the talking.
What’s your favourite food?
I like plantain and egg. I go die follow plantain and egg. For perfumes, I’m not really a perfume guy. If its smells right, I go for it; I don’t like the male perfumes. My wife always complains I spray her perfumes. What I use in pacifying her is to tell her, ‘so you don’t want me to smell like you so you won’t be far from me’ but I love Nivea. I use it a lot.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Like I said earlier, I’ve not gotten to where I want to be, but I’m not where I was before. Having my own production and doing the things I want to do, investing into crazy ideas and going on family vacation and give people money. I want to be that guy that will just bless someone richly. One of my greatest mentors is Ali Baba. He doesn’t give money but what he gives to you is more than money. If I have the opportunity to pinch half of what is inside his head! And do it for my children so that they don’t have to suffer. – New Telegraph.