An actor and a model, he is the current Mr. Nigeria and was the 1st runner up at the Mr. World 2014 contest which held at held at The Riviera International Conference Centre, Torbay, Devon, England. Emmanuel Ikubese stands tall as the CEO RAW(Respect A Woman), an NGO for the fight against domestic violence. He opens up on his new project, life as an actor and on his being the current Mr. Nigeria among several other things.
What have you been up to lately?
So much. I just finished the shoot for Shuga, (soap) Season 4. I also have other movies in the pipeline. Then I’m also working on my own project, an NGO called Domestic Violence Against Women called Project RAW( Respect A Woman). I released the first set of pictures for the project and I’m planning on doing a tour of some Universities to talk about domestic violence.
You’ve been on Shuga show from the very first season. Why do you think they keep asking you back?
I don’t know but I think it’s the likeness for my character.
Has anything changed about the character you’re playing in this season?
Initially, Femi my character was a bad boy until he simmered down and is now trying to do something positive after contacting HIV. He’s now learning to live with the stigmatization as an African living in Africa.
Has the character you played in Shuga affected the way you live in real life?
It hasn’t because I try not to be a bad boy in real life.
You mean like avoiding ladies?
Of course! The attention comes with you being a celebrity but, there’s a limit to everything.
Talking about your NGO, why did you chose to talk about violence?
It’s something I have always thought about while I was still in the university. I just had it in mind that I’d like to change the mind set of people towards domestic violence. So, now that I have a voice, it is something I want to do to impart into the lives of young people.
Do you have any friend who has ever been violent with his girlfriend?
Yes. I’ve seen friends and even female friends in bad relationships and a lot of them find it difficult to get out of it. Most of them try to talk to their boyfriends because you’ll always find them still going back to their abusers. It has to do with the mindset and it’s high time they know that the more they stay in it, the more dangerous it gets. A lot of times, the guys don’t change so, the best thing is to walk out of an abusive relationship.
How has the response of your message being especially to the young people?
The response has been amazing
Are victims coming out to identify with you?
Yes. A lot of girls have sent me messages, saying they want to share their story and some who were bold enough to get out of an abusive relationship are willing to talk about their experiences. I got amazing responses that I didn’t even expect
Have you met some of them?
I have and we’ve spoken that’s why I want to go to Universities and have a talk with them.
What do you intend to do with the stories they shared with you?
I intend to turn them into short films and movies because I want people to be able to relate with it and learn from their stories. I have a female friend who was stabbed by her boyfriend! All of these are real life experiences we should learn from.
Kunle Afolayan and a few other actors had a protest walk against piracy to both the Lagos State House of Assembly and the Government House, Alausa recently. Why didn’t you and many others turn out for the walk because piracy affects everyone in the movie and music industry?
I wasn’t aware of the protest but I know a lot needs to be done to curb piracy because it’s messing up the industry. It’s high time we come together and fight it while also working together with the government to ensure that piracy becomes a thing of the past. Someone can’t spend millions on a movie and someone else will just steal the intellectual work. It’s daylight robbery because those selling the CDs in traffic didn’t work for the contents they are selling. So, the government has to do something about it.
How is life as Mr. Nigeria?
Well, it’s been good and it has really put me on a different platform as a brand. It has taken me to different countries and I’ve met a lot of good people. I am still growing as an actor and as an entertainer. It has opened my mind to achieve several other things. I thank God for everything.
And the girls, are they trooping in their numbers?
They will always troop but we need to know when to draw the line so that we don’t get distracted.
How do you ward them off, by telling them you have a girlfriend?
Well, sometimes, there are different ways of discharging people. You don’t shout at them because they are still your fans, you have to be diplomatic about it.
Do you have a girlfriend?
I’m not seeing anyone right now
Are you denying her?
I’m serious. I’m not seeing anyone
Because I haven’t found the right person yet. I just got out of a relationship that lasted long and I just want to take my time, especially now that I have a lot I am doing. I may not have the time and I don’t know if she will be there for me. I have to find someone who will love me for who I am.
Can you marry an actress?
Definitely. If she’s the right person, it’s all good. I don’t have any restriction. I just want someone who understands and appreciate me
What’s your description of an ideal woman?
Beautiful, sexy and smart.
Does being Mr. Nigeria put enough money in your pocket?
Well, it’s paying the bills
And you still have leftovers to save?
Sure! It’s taking care of my family and they are happy right now
If you were not in the entertainment industry, what else would you have been?
I would have been in the military
I just like them. I’ve always wanted to be in the military but it didn’t work out. God knows why.
Is your dad a military officer?
No but he had a lot of close friends in the military. My intention to join the military was a personal decision. In fact, my younger brother is a military officer. I just love the discipline in military. If you notice, I always dress smart. I love the way they dress and walk with authority. I just love them.
You will be dropping your title this year. Are you already nostalgic at the mere thought of handing over?
Well, I still have a lot of things to do but, until then, I just have to wait. I’m just going to say that whoever I am handing over to after my reign has a lot of work to do.
What has clinching the second position at the Mr. World contest done for you?
It has opened a lot of doors. Like I recently traveled with the Miss World crew, and many more I can’t count.