I’m still shocked that I won BBA – Karen Igho

When Karen Igho went for the BBA Amplified auditions, it was with mixed feelings. A competition that has brought out the best and the worst of the personalities in the contestants, Karen managed to outdo 24 others to clinch the top prize.

The first woman to win the show and the third Nigerian to win it in the last three editions, the latest millionaire was recently feted to a reception at Planet One, Ikeja, Lagos. She had the opportunity to talk about her time in the house and her plans for the future.

Having spent 90 days in seclusion, experiencing the ups and downs as well as the drama, she says that she is well braced to live her life like a role model. “I wouldn’t say the life I lived in Big Brother House was a strategy to win. I went in there to be myself. I was my real self in there and I’m going to remain my real self out here, nothing is going to change. If you are talking about what I wore, well you said the show is meant for 18 and above. If parents allowed their kids to watch it, you are not going to blame me. I know the press was writing the good, the bad and the ugly about me. Of course I’ll take time and mellow down. You guys stood by me and I’m grateful.”

Those who followed the show are quick to agree that Karen though perceived as naive, parades herself as one of the boldest in the house, especially in her responses to Big Brother. Where does she get the spine to be so challenging? When it comes to things like that she is very courageous, she says. “At the end of the day I was brave yes. I said when I was going into the House that I respect everybody in the House but if anyone wants to take on me or say something I don’t like, I’ll show the person the other side of me. I went to the house to play and have fun. So what you saw me do in the House was actually real me, and not any strategy, as everybody says – strategy. Anything I did in the House was actually real me. What you saw me do there, I do in real life.”
 
On strategy and survival in the house, Karen gets all humoured. “To be honest when we were going into the House they asked me what my strategy was, I told dem I no get any strategy, de no gree hear. But at a point in the show something came to my mind, I didn’t know how it happened. I wasn’t expecting it because every character in the House was strong contestant and I know Africa is going to pick somebody that’s very real. So, I was like God let your will be done. I wasn’t bothered about who wins or who wins not. My mind was let the best win and at last they picked me. I’m glad for that. Thank you Naija.”
 
Did she ever intend throwing in the towel during her stay in the house? She says that for every contestant, it is only natural. “I’m not going to tell lies. So many times I intended quitting because it’s not easy to be locked up in a place for 91 days: no TV, no cell phone. You keep seeing same people now and again. That is why you see argument and fighting but at the end of the day we settled and ironed it out. It was just not only me, a lot of us have our reasons, because psychologically it’s not easy. There were times I felt like going to pick my bag and go home. I’ll like enough of this mimicking and making fun of myself, but then I realise that a lot of people still want to see me here and are looking up to me. I also thought of my family and every other thing and I’ll be fine. I’m still surprise and shock that I won.”
She also took time out to recount her bad moments in the house. “In life you always have bad and good moment but I’ll say I didn’t have any bad moment, all the moment in the House was good to me and I love it.”
 
Right from the audition she appeared certain of making it to South Africa. On this, she says that nothing is ever sure in life. “One thing you have to understand is you don’t have to be too overconfidence. I just went there and I did the audition and when paparazzi guys were busy snapping others I pose for them too. After that I left until I was called that I made it. One thing is I wasn’t overconfident that I was going to make it and I wasn’t too sure of myself. I’m humble.”
 
For Nigerians who intend to take part in the competition in the future, Karen Igho has a word or two of advice. For starters, she says that nothing works out more than being oneself. “If you go in that place and say you have a strategy Africa will see whether you are fake or real and vote you out. The secret is to be yourself, have fun and don’t try to be anyone. If you are yourself Africa will know and if you are fake they will know also.”
 
Now that she is out of the house, she says, as winner, she intends to purse projects that are dear to her. “All of you know my dad died of HIV. We have so many people infected with HIV. So I’ll do something in that regards in Africa, but I’ll start from my country. Then I will see how I can help in countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and others.”

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