AS some of our top celebrities paved ways for themselves in the entertainment industry and through hard work, some had to battle their way through to the top through reality shows.
ENCOMIUM Weekly x-rays top seven celebrities who made their way to super star status from reality shows.
Music artiste Iyanya Mbuk, popularly known as Iyanya is from Calabar, Cross River State. He was born on October 31, 1986. The 27 year-old music star graduated from the University of Calabar and worked in a hotel where he sang karaoke at a local bar he managed. He was motivated to pursue music professionally after watching the celebrity lifestyle of 2Face Idibia and Olu Maintain. Iyanya started as a rapper going by the name Lofty.
In 2008, Iyanya took part in MTN Project Fame singing competition and emerged winner. He climbed to stardom with the release of monster hit, Kukere. He later released hit singles, Your Waist and Flavour before dropping a second album. Iyanya is the co-founder of his record label, Made Men Music.
Omawumi was born on April 30, 1982 to late Chief (Dr.) Frank Anirejuoritse Magbele and Mrs. Aya Magbele. The 31 year-old music star, had her primary and secondary education in Warri, Delta State and headed to Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. However, Omawumi did not win the first edition of West African Idol as she came second but the mother of one returned to the studio and released her first single, In the Music, which was widely accepted.
She became more popular as she became a brand ambassador for Globacom, Konga and Mortein. She also won the Next Rated Act award of Headies and later released her debut album, Wonder Woman in 2010. In 2012, she came out with the hits Bottom Belle and The Lasso of Truth in 2013.
DAREY ART ALADE
Darey was born in Lagos to legendary Nigerian jazz pioneer, Art Alade and Olapeju Alade. As a child, Darey used to rummage through his father’s extensive jazz collection and tagged along with him to his concerts. These early experiences gave him his first taste of showbiz.
Darey’s big break finally came during the 2004 edition of Project Fame Academy, where he had the opportunity to perform before over 100 million people and emerged third. His real music journey started in 2006/2007 as he released his debut album, From Me 2 U. In 2012, the Soul Musik label executive came out with his third album, Double Dare and also organized his own special Valentine event, Love Like A Movie in 2013 featuring American reality TV star, Kim Kardarhian.
Uti was born on August 3, 1982. He first participated at the celebrated Next Movie Star before contesting at the Big Brother Africa reality TV show Season 5 in 2008. He was evicted from the house on October 5, 2008, after 42 days.
However, Uti returned into the house in 2010 as a contestant at the Big Brother All-Stars which lasted 91 days and he won by defeating Munya with a final vote of 8 to 7. Uti Nwachukwu has since become a celebrity as he hosts the popular African Magic programme, Jara and has been seen in a couple of Nigerian movies.
Karen was born in Jos, Plateau State in 1986. She is the first of 10 kids and is a native of Kokori, in Delta State. She had her primary school education in Star Tribe Primary School and Township Primary School, both in Delta State. Her high school education was at Federal Government College, Hopeshe, Jos. Karen, an Urhobo travelled out of Nigeria after her secondary education to attend Southwark College, London, where she studied Business.
In 2008, she made a debut appearance on the 2008 edition of The Next Movie Star and in 2011, she participated in the Big Brother Africa tagged Amplified Edition, and emerged winner. Karen has continued to stay relevant in the entertainment scene.
O. C. UKEJE
He was born July 15, 1981 and arguably the biggest Nigerian actor to have emerged from a reality TV show. O. C. Ukeje began his acting career from his first year at the University of Lagos, where he played a lead role in a stage play. He was an actor for four years before winning the reality TV show, Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO).
32 year-old Ukeje began a full career in a movie, White Waters in 2005 alongside star actresses Joke Silva and Rita Dominic. He has since become a seasoned actor with appearances in movies like Comrade, Confusion Na Wa, Half of a Yellow Sun, Hoodrush, Black November, amongst others.
Music star, Chidinma Ekile is from the Eastern part of Nigeria and is the fifth of six siblings. She grew up under the strict supervision of her parents and became very involved in the choir from a very tender age of 10. Chidinma attended primary and secondary schools in Ketu, Lagos before the family relocated to Ikorodu.
On September 26, 2011, Chidinma won the third edition of Project Fame West Africa, alongside the hearts of millions of Nigerians who grew to love the petite and endearing 21 year-old lady.
Her first single is entitled Jankoliko and features Nigerian music veteran, Sound Sultan and the video was directed by award winning cinematographer, Clarence Peters.
– DOLAPO AMODENI