His name is James Ikechukwu but many know him as Jim Iyke. He talks about his personality and career in this most relax and revealing chat with the Punch. See excerpt below…
With kidnap cases being a common trend, do you entertain fears that you could be a victim?
There is a certain way I live and I believe people only attract what they feel and what they love. So, if I have fears, what I would attract would be fears and misgivings. I am completely fearless about these things because it is a law of attraction. I have no fear of gunmen or kidnappers because I have not wronged anybody for them to want to harm me. I drive out at 2am and go back to my house at 4am. I just believe that every morning when I get on my knees and pray, God knows my intention. He knows that I am going for my daily bread and I am not in anybody’s way. Though, I have made my mistakes, I have repented from them and go about my business. There are basic laws of existence which people should not violate. If you have the fear of the unknown all the time, you will attract negative things to yourself. I don’t live like that. I am a typical Lagos boy and I have been around all kinds of crimes and none ever got to me.
Now that you have joined the league of celebrities running reality shows, what aspect of your personality will you portray?I don’t know if I should call it shocking, but I like moving around my house naked. I feel I am always dressed in public, so when I am inside my house, I should enjoy the freedom that comes from not being tied down with clothes. So, you will see me moving around with parts of my body blurred by the camera.
There is an impression you are an arrogant and unfriendly person?
One of the reasons I am running the show is to allow people see and understand a lot of things about the real me. I deal with people on a daily basis and they do not understand that certain pressures can make somebody appear rude or arrogant. Shyness can make someone appear rude and unfriendly. But the show will feature the pressure I go through daily and the way I cope with that pressure.
What kind of pressure are you talking about?
There are so many. It is not easy to have your life constantly scrutinised. This is Lagos, there is so much pressure coupled with lack of basic human amenities. These factors can contribute to the pressure a man has to cope with.
Why did you go into fashion?
Yes. I realised that since I don’t shoot as many movies as I did in the past, I can do other things. I have made that point clear-it is not about quantity anymore, it is about quality and I am very careful about what I do now. The last movie I featured in, ‘last flight to Abuja’ was what ushered in this project I am doing now. In this business, you are as good as your last job.
In fashion, one can either be an admirer or an investor. My lifestyle as a fashion admirer and consumer has cost me a lot of money. I made an inventory of how much I have spent on fashion and cars as well as the houses I have lived in. I reasoned that it was time to turn my passion into an enterprise. Since I like fashion, I decided to go into boutique management, now I can buy clothes for myself and others. I can make money from it instead of just spending.
Do labels influence your choice of clothes?
I am not brand crazy, but it happens that the best clothes are made by the big brands, take it or leave it. The designer labels cost a lot of money but there is a healthy competition; which is why I find the fashion market very interesting. I have discovered that everybody is heading towards the same direction. I have been to factories that make goods for Gucci. There are people working on a smaller scale and these are the ones I hire to make my clothes and they give me what I want. However, I always buy what I know I would look good in.
You are a sunglasses freak too?
I have about 125 pairs. My personal assistants and people who come to my house keep stealing them. Also, I have been a collector of all kinds of stuff-shoes and sneakers. I think I own about 200 pairs; it is not something to brag about, this is a form of art for me, just like the way people collect stamps. I like shoes and I collect them. I keep the ones my mother owned in the 60s and the ones my aunts owned in the 70s. I get shoes that are much branded and are limited edition. For me it is not just about fashion statement anymore, it is art.
Do you indulge in any kind of food?
I am a sweet tooth and a junk food junkie. I have gained weight at some point and no matter how hard I trained, I was gaining weight! I knew what the problem was so I had to cut down. I barely eat breakfast but I eat one solid meal a day. This could be lunch or dinner. Once I indulge, I make sure I eat everything I want to eat.
How do you relax?
I watch movies. I have to watch movies to sleep and I don’t just watch them for pleasure, I watch them critically to learn about new things.
What is a typical day like for you?
I sleep around 3am every day, no matter the time zone or the country. I wake up fairly early, depending on the amount of activities I am involved in but I think I have some sort of in-built clock, I wake up at the same time every day which is 6 am. When I wake up, I pray because God is the central part of my life and I give it all to Him. My father always said the best exercise of the day is prayers. As soon as I am done with prayers, I do an exercise which is a fusion of yoga and martial arts. It is a process where the body, soul and mind have to be in sync. I do it to purge my mind and body, relieve the pressures of the day and make decisions about the kind of people I would let into my life for that day. I have not been to the hospital in over 12 years of doing the exercise.