Navigating life as a woman in the world today is interesting. From Nigeria to Timbuktu, it’ll amaze you how similar all our experiences are. Every Wednesday, women the world over will share their experiences on everything from sex to politics right here. This is Zikoko’s What She Said.
The subject of today’s What She Said is a 22-year-old woman who became an orphan at the age of 11. She talks about being raised by her strict grandmother, leaving her first school because of cultists, going to film school instead of studying medicine, having rich friends and pursuing a life of luxury and fame.
What’s a childhood memory you can’t forget
When I was younger, my dad beat me till I almost fainted because I did not wear slippers downstairs. I actually think he did it because he was drunk.
He was usually drunk and whenever he got that way, he would beat me a lot. When he died, I didn’t like the fact that he was dead but because of the beatings, I wasn’t particularly sad either.
Apart from the beatings, he was a very cool dad. When he came home from work, he would buy gifts not just for me, but for the other children in the compound. So, all the children loved him, but I didn’t — because of the beatings.
What about your mum, where was she in all this?
Well, I never grew up with my mum. She dropped me with my father when I was just 4 months old. It’s not like I didn’t know who my mum was, she was just never an active part of my life. She later remarried and had other children, but my dad’s mum never allowed me to interact with any of them.
Technically, I don’t think I would have wanted to stay with her. The environment she lived in was not one I wanted to surround myself with. She was suffering. So, I stayed with my grandma who raised me. My mum passed away when I was 11.
I am so sorry. Being an orphan must be tough.
Well, technically none of them raised me. I didn’t really know them. The only parental figure I had was my grandma. She worked in NNPC at the time and lived in a large and nice compound. It was a comfortable upbringing. She was very strict.
What’s the biggest thing you got in trouble for?
It was when I stole ₦1,000 from her wallet. She’d counted the money before she kept it in her purse, and I didn’t know. Also, when I took the money, I didn’t arrange it properly and so parts of it were sticking out from the purse.
I stole it because I had a college mother when I was in JS1 who my grandma would give ₦5,000 to keep for me. My college mother was not giving me enough money, so I stole the ₦1,000 so I could flex for one week. There were a lot of rich students in my class. In fact, there was one girl that used to lie that she was dating Wizkid. So there were those people, and then me that was eating jam pie and pure water.
One day, because I was tired of their bragging, I told them I was a mermaid and if they poured water on me, I’d start shaking and grow a tail. They believed me.
LMAO. That is fucking wild.
Another time I got in serious trouble was when I got home really late. By the time I got home, she had pepper and water solution waiting for me. Luckily for me, she did not use it.
I was in SS2 and my friends and I went to some kind of bar. That was the first day I smoked shisha. We were making videos and unfortunately, one of the videos got to my pastor who then sent it to my grandma.
A lot of things are different now. She’s retired and is receiving a pension. A lot of times, I have had to fend for myself. The first time I had to fend for myself was when I was 19 and in a polytechnic in Delta state.
How was life at the polytechnic?
Well, I had to run away because I had issues with cult boys. The leader of a cult wanted to date me and the first time he approached me, I was very rude to him. That day he was catcalling me and I gave him an attitude. I had a boyfriend then who was taking care of me, so I was really not interested in talking to him.
His guys found my house and came to threaten me. It was after they showed up twice that I left the polytechnic.
How did your grandma take it?
I wish I hadn’t told her. Well technically, I’d told my boyfriend at the time and he and my grandma were close so he told her. When my grandma found out, she told my Bishop and he told me I had to leave the school. They all came to that conclusion on my behalf.
After I left the polytechnic, I used the time I stayed at home to learn how to sew. Then after a year, I went to a different university in a different state to write Joint Universities Preliminary Exam Board (JUPEB). Unfortunately, I failed. I don’t like book.
If you don’t like book, what do you like?
I like acting. I am currently in film school. I want to be an actress. I tried to get into a film school for two years, but my grandma wanted me to be a medical doctor. It was hard for me to tell her that medicine was not my dream. She was the one who raised me so it felt like the only thing I could do was just be a doctor, but I couldn’t.
Whenever the conversation came up with my grandma, there’d be a lot of yelling and she’d say “you will never go to that school.” After failing JUPEB, I iced my grandma out for a bit because we were still clashing over my decision not to study medicine.
The day I bought my form for film school, I called my grandma and explained what I wanted to do with my life. She was calmer, and she shared with me that she was just scared. She didn’t want me to fail.
Film school is currently the best part of my life. Although it’s still school and a lot of work, it feels right. Like this is what I am meant to be doing with my life.
You mentioned fending for yourself, how did you do it?
Well, at first my boyfriend used to take care of me while I was still in Delta state. He would pay my school fees and send me money for feeding. He also used to pay for my luxury lifestyle because I’m a luxury babe. Unfortunately, we broke up.
Well, he got married. I went for a reality TV show competition at the time because I was really pursuing entertainment. Before I left, he told me he would get married, but I just played it off as a joke. One Sunday morning, during the show, my grandma called me to say he had gotten married on Friday. I cried so much. That day was the party night, so I drank a lot of alcohol. I was in so much pain.
So, how did you continue living your luxury lifestyle?
I have rich friends.
Rich friends as in how?
I just have rich friends. I go out a lot to parties and clubs and I tend to meet rich people. I am a fine girl and very sensual, so people tend to be drawn to me.
My friends randomly send me money and honestly, I’m gathering all the money they send to me so I can open my own fashion line. I can’t have rich friends forever, and at some point, I too would like to be a rich friend.
Like how much do you think your rich friends send to you? Let me start looking for my own
Well, it depends. Sometimes, I can get as much as ₦600,000 a month. It’s not constant but I’d say that I make more than two to three million naira every year just from having rich friends.
Sometimes, my friends have tried to sleep with me, but if I am not interested, they can’t force me.
What do you spend the money on?
Flexing. I spend the money going out, buying Hennessy and champagne and just living my best life. Sometimes when I’m out, I meet new [rich] friends who pay for the drinks, so I also spend the money on clothes, shoes, bags, and hair. Anything that makes me happy.
What would you say is the most expensive thing you own?
Well, it used to be my iPhone 11. It cost over ₦300,000 but it was stolen, so I bought an iPhone XS Max which cost over ₦250,000. Apart from gadgets, you could say my ₦210,000 wig. It’s a beautiful ginger bone straight wig.
I have been meaning to buy a Macbook, but I really don’t feel like using my own money to pay for it. Talking about it now made me realise that there are a couple of friends I could call and tell I want the Macbook and they would buy it for me. Maybe I am just focused on the clothing brand I am trying to build now. That’s very important to me.
I thought you wanted to be an actress?
I still do, but then I want a Rihanna type situation. I want to act but still have my clothing factory. A situation where I can win my awards and still have money coming in from the side.
What’s your ideal life?
I want to be a star and live a luxurious life. For me, luxury is being able to afford whatever I want, whenever I want it.
I want to be able to travel on a whim and buy whatever designer bag catches my eyes. I deserve a luxurious life, and that is what I am aiming for. The freedom to just do whatever I want. Currently, I feel like I haven’t started enjoying life. When I start making the kind of money I need, I’ll travel a lot and finally start enjoying the life of luxury I deserve.
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