My Bro is a biweekly Zikoko series that interrogates and celebrates male friendships of different forms.
Anny and Victor are all about the hustle. The self-proclaimed workaholics can’t go two seconds without talking about work, and while it may be annoying to some, it’s super inspiring to me. They both understand the unique struggles of being a creative in a country like Nigeria. And that ginger to be the best at what they do is what forges the bond they have as friends. One of them is always around to either motivate or drag the other person. If this isn’t bromance, I don’t know what it is.
In this episode of My Bro, they talk about why Anny had Victor on a beef list when they first met, pushing each other to be the best version of themselves and whether or not they’d even be friends if they weren’t in the same industry.
Our origin story
Anny: Hmm. I have a shitty memory, so I’ll let you take this one. But I think we met through work.
Victor: Look at this one. We met way before we started working together. I remember hearing about you back when you called yourself the bearded coquet. I remember thinking, “Who is this razz guy?” I was still very fresh in my videography career and was experimenting with photography when I saw your work, liked it and decided to reach out. After that, we started hanging out doing street photography and shit. But shey you know that wasn’t our first interaction?
Victor: So you’ve forgotten the time you gave me bad eye at Ebeano because you thought I was moving to your babe at the time? I’d say her name, but she’s now “she who must not be named”.
Anny: That chick? LOL. I don’t remember, but I’m sure I looked angry. That babe was a serial cheater and I was insecure AF in that relationship. I even had a list of guys I was beefing because of her. But after we broke up, I reconciled with all my bros. I was still a small boy.
Victor: LOL. And the crazy thing is, I was just friends with this babe. You just suspected every guy she was with, and that’s why I waited until after you broke up to reach out so you and I could work together. I messaged and asked if I could join you for your next photo walk, but you just asked me to pull up to your studio and that was it. We later worked on a shoot for one of my wife’s clients and our work relationship took off.
Anny: I don’t remember half of these things. Thank God for pictures that prove you were around for most of my shoots because, omo, I’m forgetful.
Transitioning from colleagues to bros
Victor: For me, respect came first. I’d been a fan of your work, but then getting to work with you personally, it was crazy just experiencing your insane work ethic. You hustle like someone that hasn’t made it yet. It’s like if you don’t put out content, the world will leave you behind. That’s the ginger I needed to tap into back then. I wanted to hang out with you because I hoped your energy would rub off on me.
Over time, I think respect just evolved into a friendship. I don’t think there was a significant moment. When you work with someone the way we creatively collaborated, you’re bound to start sharing your plans and life with them.
Anny: Yeah, I don’t think we even knew when it happened. It was a work friendship that turned to mutual respect and then friendship just entered the chat. It became a thing where we started hanging out even when it didn’t involve work.
What holds this friendship together?
Anny: You know I don’t have a lot of friends. Also, most of my friendships, including ours, are built around work. I’ve realised that there’s you, my partner who I shoot and live with, and just about a handful of other people who are my friends, and I know work has something to do with most of them. I think that’s why we don’t have a major moment we can pinpoint as the official start of our friendship.
You, on the other hand, you’re friendly AF! You know people and you’ve opened me up to your other circles, which has been a good way for me to meet new people. I don’t have any circle for you to join sha.
Victor: Ehn, you have a circle of big booty women. But, yeah, I’m a married lover boy, so I’m not part of that circle.
I feel like you’re only friends with people whose work you respect. Because I know you and you’re so blunt, you’re not above dragging someone if you feel their work is mediocre. You’re amazing, but you’re very rude. But knowing you, I’ve learnt it’s all from a place of love. Still rude in the end.
Anny: Man, but you know work is the core of my existence. I didn’t move to Lagos all the way from Niger state to play. One of the primary reasons I left that place was because people in my environment at the time were lackadaisical in how they approached work. I didn’t want that then, so why would I want it now? If you’re my friend and I have reservations about something, especially work, I can’t help myself. I just have to say it. I want to succeed and have the people around me do the same.
Victor: No broke friends in our circle! But I like that you also try to help. You’re not just saying, “Oh, your work is shit.” Of all my creative friends, you’re the only one I trust to give me good feedback on my work, not just hailing me up and down. On social media, I could post something, and everyone would come into the comments with their flames and heart emojis. You don’t let me off easy. My work might be good, but you always remind me that it could be better. You’ve told me my work is rubbish a lot of times. LOL.
Anny: Trust me, it’s not easy being honest with people about something they’ve made. If it’s boring, I have to tell you it’s boring. Does it ever bother you?
Victor: How? Of all my friends, you’re the one who’s made the most negative comments about my work. But you’re also the person who’s brought me the most work in terms of referrals. So I know when you’re criticising my work, it’s also a thing of you not wanting me to fall your hand. I get it.
Anny: I’m big on friendship, but the quality of work is more important. If you don’t step up, I’ll leave you.
He came through for me
Victor: You come through for me every week.
Anny: You do the same thing too. I’m always coming to your studio to disturb you and shoot pictures. Many of the dope projects I’ve done were shot in your studio. Now imagine if I didn’t push you? This is why we need to always ginger each other. If you hammer, I hammer too.
Victor: Look at you taking credit for my success. Okay o! Take your flowers.
Anny: That’s not what I said. LOL. You also come through for me with moral support and funds when I need them. I think we’re each other’s guys when it’s time to hustle money.
Victor: Omo, as creatives, we need this for all the times the client will owe you for an extended period. Man dem need that urgent 2k we can hold on to until the big cheque comes along.
Would we be bros if we didn’t work together?
Victor: We work in the same industry, but outside of work, I feel we’d still be friends if we’d met randomly. I have tech bro friends, lawyer friends and so many other friends from different fields. I was attracted to your work ethic, and I know that even if you were doing something else, you’d still maintain that level of dedication and I’d want to be your friend. I know so many photographers out there, but I’m not close to them.
Anny: Hmm. I’m not sure. You’re great at making friends, work or not, but I’m terrible. If work isn’t involved, the chances of getting to know someone are slim for me. You’re also a people person, and we all come to you for advice.
Victor: So you’re admitting that I’m wise?
Anny: LOL. Yes, you have small sense. Being your friend, you’ve helped me face my trust issues and self-sabotaging tendencies regarding relationships. You always call me back when I’m heading in that direction, even though I might still do what I want to do sha.
The hardest part about being your friend
Anny: This man, why are you always late?
Victor: See, if it’s not work, settle your mind that I’m going to be late. You’re the one that’s super early. If we say we want to have drinks by six, you’ll be there by five-ish. Who does that? We’re Lagosians. That’s not fair. Do you really think we’d start by six on the dot? Nobody has time for that.
Anny: Because we’re in Lagos is why you should even be early. Another thing is your stubbornness. It’s hard to convince you to do something unless it’s what you wanted to do from the start.
Victor: I’m dead. The hard part of being your friend is the constant fear that you might be rude to a random stranger and put me in trouble.
Your impact on my life
Victor: I’d always considered myself a high achiever until I met you. Seeing someone younger than me work so hard and make a name for themselves has gingered me to be the hustler version of myself. I can’t sleep at night knowing you’re out there somewhere working. It’s not possible. You’ve helped me grow as a creative and you inspire me more than you know.
Anny: How do I follow this one now? You’re like the perfect sounding board. It doesn’t matter if it’s work or relationships; every conversation with you is productive. You’re like my love guru. I’m very closed off, and you’ve helped me with my relationship with people. You’ve shown me what it’s like to open up, and I like that.
Do you have an interesting bro story you’d like to share? Fill this form and we’ll get back to you.