For 91 days, the whole of Africa had its eyes on the Big Brother Amplified TV reality show: the fights, the kisses, the shower scenes, the gossips which all tallied up to give a creative and power packed show made up of 26 contestants from around the continent.
Reports from the Big Brother Amplified website suggest that this year’s edition was the most viewed from cable television; also recording the most followership online. But most will agree that one of the Nigerian contestants, the notorious Karen Igho was the most prominent as she stood out right from the beginning of the show to the very end. And oh yea, she also won and walked away with N32M!
Let’s do a quick survey: Facebook suggests that Karen has about 9500 ‘Likes’ on her fan page. The closest to that is Weza with 7000 plus. Karen managed to summon all the controversies around her into one big punch and convincingly knocked out any other contestants who stood in her way.
Karen’s strategy was simple – she says ‘I was just myself’.
We might have seen Karen’s down to earth mannerisms and her sometimes over-the-top tantrums in the house but we knew little about her personal life. Most viewers who had either praised or chastised her didn’t know Karen’s story.
She claims that her 45-year-old mother was a gangster and she (Karen) worked as a stripper in Europe before coming back to Nigeria to participate in the Next Movie Star reality show. It’s been a rough one for the light skinned lady, little wonder why she wears a tough skin.
And on her father, she says ‘I don’t really know my father. He married my mother at a very young age but now he is dead. He died of HIV AIDS. I am not ashamed to say it. I wish I saw him to ask him questions, to ask him why he blamed me for things I didn’t do. I didn’t get the chance to tell him I loved him.’
Speaking at a press conference organized by MNET Nigeria at Planet One, Lagos on her return last week, Karen poured out her heart out in an interactive ‘Question and Answer’ session.
‘The journey wasn’t an easy one. Whatever anyone said about me, good or bad, I thank you and I say one love. I had no strategy unlike what most people think. I was just myself.’
As per being a role model, Karen says we shouldn’t expect her to change from the character she portrayed in the house. ‘It’s real life in there and out here, so I won’t stop anything’.
Who would agree that most men watched the BBA show because of Karen’s boob job? A lot of guys won’t deny too, they outrightly sat in front of their TV sets waiting for her to gesticulate just to grab a glimpse of her ‘endowment’. Others have criticised and frowned at her ‘enhancement’, but Karen says there’s a reason behind it. ‘My boobs were never a strategy, when I discovered I had lumps in my breasts, I had removed them and had the boob job done to prevent any further occurrence. It’s funny how my mother got to hear on the show. My 17-year-old sister recently discovered lumps in her breasts too’.
Now, she ‘wants to create awareness. I want people to know that the disease is real. I am going to use part of my winnings to do a massive campaign about this disease.’
Talking about her winning BBA6, Karen said ‘I didn’t know I was going to win even though I didn’t see anybody as my competitor. My head was straight. I saw everybody as potential winner. That is why we were in the house in the first place. Anyways, we are all stars.’
And when asked if she would ever go back to the house (maybe for a BBA all winners edition), she responded ‘Of course I will, so Africa will vote for me again!’ She also added ‘As per the money, I will think of what to do with it later on. But I will keep to my words. I will give some to my friends in the house like I said I would.’