One actor who is living it up as a star right now, is Jim Iyke. The Enugu State born actor has simply moved to the next level. He just opened a shop as a transporter in the Oil and Gas Sector. His company, is called Jimke Oil and Gas. This is apart from his car dealership. A few months back, Jim bought a multimillion house in Lekki. He also took delivery of a Chrys;er 300 Touring Sedan among others in his garage. He also spoke about his romance with top American model, Katura Hamilton and his widely reported fights with fellow actor, Emeka Ike and top broadcaster, Olisa Adibua.
What is new about Jim?
What is new is basically nothing extraordinary, it is an awareness of certain consciousness that brings me to different platform that is different from the level of my scope of operation. I am aware of my powers than before. I mean, I am now aware of certain things that could put me in a different pedestal than my peers. I also plan to be most expeditious at achieving my goals. I no longer make so much noise on it, because I get distracted and subsequently lose focus on it. A lot of things have been happening to me which is to my advantage. I went through training with a certain guy in America, my manager, Mr. Courtency Boyd and he taught me the wisdom to manage these things and how to do things in a very structured way. More is happening but I can't reveal it, right now, it is controlled information.
How do you combine you movie roles in Nigeria with your runs abroad?
I am simply the hardest working act in the country right now. There is ascertain transition the movie industry is going through, it is called the Ghanaian Take Over. This has adversely affected a lot of my colleagues.
A lot is happening because marketers sell their movies in Europe and America and the Caribbean. There are only 3 people who are being sought after and without being immodest, that is myself, Van Vicker and Nadir Buhari. Most producers prefer to have us in their movies. I try to draw a balance between my schedule in Nigeria and America.
For instance, I spent 7 months in America. When I decided to come to Nigeria, my management team planned jobs for me. The movie am about to star in America right now, features Ice Cubes, Joda Kris and Paul Campbell. I am excited because I am playing the lead in the movie, it's a dream come true.
Was it your accident that made you quit your NGO?
I was not discourage when I had an accident, but I felt bad when people think that I have ulterior motive for doing something selfless in the country. A young man is driven by dreams and aspirations of what he has in mind for the society, only for some people to misconstrue the idea.
I was in pains, I broke my ribs and arms. I was on the hospital bed when all sort of things were written about me.
That was one of the reasons I decided to travel to the United States for a while. It is just the other side of Nigeria, and I have since laughed over it and picked myself up. We are planning a big thing in Ghana, it is going to be a symposium and workshop in conjunction with Dr. Jennifer Atiku's foundation.
It is called Youth Emancipation and Fight Against HIV/AIDS. It will run for a week and we will have a lot of resource persons speaking on various issues at the event. We are going to have volunteers from each Local Government from 5 States. We are expecting lots of people from different parts of the world at the event.
Are you saying that you are done with Nigeria and that most of the initiatives did not work in Nigeria?
Frankly speaking, I am reluctant to start another project in Nigeria. But that is not to say that I am not going to carry my people along. For instance, the workshop we are having in Ghana, all the participants are coming from Nigeria. I did not invite a single participant from Ghana, so that is to say that I am in tune with what is happening. But I am approaching the whole issue with a lot of caution. The support we get from Nigeria is very minimal, I am not taking away the foundation from Nigeria entirely.
How true is it that you are now into Oil and Gas?
I have cousins who are involved in Oil and Gas and I have a passable knowledge of the business. What I am working on is to acquire some trucks and send them into the country. We are starting with transporting the products first. With time, hopefully by the grace of God, we will diversify
Initially, you were involved in car business?
I have always loved cars. Anytime I travel, I still get involved in car auctions. The car business has always been the big cash earner for me. I have middle men who do the business on my behalf.
Let's review your career and what you have done in the last few months?
I cannot say that professionally, I am just there. I am a young man who started my career in movie earlier than most of my contemporaries. I try to keep myself informed of all the happenings in the industry, both home and abroad. I can say I am better informed than most of my colleagues. In my recent movies, there is a better interpretation of the characters portray. I am more matured now and more wiser in how to handle my roles and deliver better. I still take decisions on which movies to star in and the ones to reject. I think the progress has been tremendous. I am happy to be at the helm of affairs in the industry. If you are on top of your game in Nigeria, you can definitely excel in any part of the world. In Nigeria, only the best excel.
Although you have been keeping your moves close to your chest, reports of you these days is that you have been fighting with everybody?
One thing I have is my dignity and pride. I will not disrespect you by lying about the fact that I do get into one or two brushes with people here and there. I will not give any excuse that I have never been that kind of person. I am taking a Anger Management Session now, it was advised not only by my fiancée, but also by my agent. It is a very interesting session for my well being. One thing about our society is that we have not accepted celebrities with their whims and caprices. An actor is allowed to be eccentric. There is a thin line between the person you see on stage and the real actor. A lot of people do not understand that.
We are talking about fighting?
I just don't have the temperament to control it. I am a person that shies away from the public. I am not an outgoing person, I can't tolerate a lot of things that happens to my colleagues that allow themselves to be harassed. For instance, I am not a party freak. An area boy who sees me on the road believes I have to give him money because he has bought the movie.
His explanation is that he has supported my career. Sometimes, they employ physical means to take money from me, but I am not the kind of person that can be intimidated by such means. If you check the history of what is happening, it is usually when someone tries to intimidate me.
For instance, I was shooting in Asaba, Delta State, and I was exhausted and some boys came saying they were area boys in Lagos asking for money. My producer gave them N20,000 for protection of the area. It is unfortunate that practitioners of the industry are not encouraged.
On walking back to my car, they accosted me that I have to give them another 20,000. I told them I was not going to give them money. I detest being bullied. If he acted nicely I would have given him the money.
What is your problem with Emeka Ike?
Emeka is not such a young man anymore who should involve himself in some things. We had a mutual friend who I have a lot of businesses with. Emeka talked to him into allowing his wife to come shoot a scene in a movie with us in America.
There is a super model who is half Jamaican and half America. She wanted to meet an actor from Nigeria. Eventually we started going out. By the time our friend's wife came on set, it was obvious she started sleeping with Emeka.
Whenever her husband called, Emeka will tell him I was busy because my phone was bad. The husband will ask her what is going on between herself, and I and she will tell him I was chasing her around. When he called Emeka, he said yes, that I am actually messing with his wife on set.
When he called me, I was mad and told him to come over and see who is sleeping with his wife. He came to Maryland from Houston later in the night, he called her but she did not pick the phone. Later, I called Emeka who picked up the phone and we went to his room. There, we met our friend's wife half naked on Emeka Ike's bed.
All through this madness, I did not make a comment to the press. I wanted to act like a man and maintain my dignity. We called the police and told him to come out and disprove the allegation, but he did not come out. Of course, he took the fight down to Nigeria, and he continued making noise all over the place. This is the first time I am making any comment on this issue. Emaka acts like a man who has extreme complex.
Emaka says you are his younger brother who is just coming up in the game.
Well, he can say whatever he likes.
What about his claims in the industry that Emeka is the highest paid actor?
I like to think I am highly knowledgeable in the industry and I am one who does not claim what he cannot verify. I can say I earn N1 million naira per movie and I work once a month. That does not make me the richest actor. In the same industry, someone can get paid N800,000 and he works five times in a month and that to me is a smart person. In Nollywood, you are as good as your last movie.
Why did you have to enter into physical combat with Emeka?
It was called for. I am not a physical person, but when he confronts me I will not shy away from him. Emeka does not like me physically, he knows I am better than him on stage. I was coming upstairs and he was going downstairs and his elbow touched me. Ordinarily I would have jokingly replied and we will embrace. Let me be sincere. He may not have meant any harm, but you know, tension has been brewing between us, so I shoved him down the stairs, and he threw a punch at me and I beat him up.
You and Olisa Adibua also fought over a babe.
No I did not fight him over a babe, I had to clean up Olisa's act. I have refused to comment on the brawl we had. I wanted the situation to be bygone because women have come and gone in my life. There are days I wake up and say to myself that, if I name people I have been with in this country it will be a revelation of sort. Few things impress me in life, women and cash are not part of those things.
The woman in question is someone who understands me. She is the 3rd highest paid video model in New York. She is currently of uff Daddy's mineral water. Her contract with Heineken Beer expired her last year. She is one of the most successful people around. I wanted to show her my country.
This is not the first or second or third time Olisa is being beaten up because of a woman. It has happened in Abuja and Lekki, Lagos. I am not pushing anything in anyone's face, but when a woman I consider my fiancée walks into a bar, I demand for her, absolute respect. I introduced her to Extreme Reloaded's Akeem Sodehinde while we were at another club, as my fiancée. He was the one who set Olisa up. After introducing her to Akeem, she went to the bathroom. Akeem had earlier told Olisa that the babe came with me, but he did not mention whom she really was to him.
I was surprised that despite telling Akeem that she came with me, Olisa went and grabbed her arm. It is wrong to harass a woman and while she was asking whom he was, he was holding onto her while she was struggling for almost 2minutes. She had bruises on her arms and was crying.
I was with my friend, Austin, and he pointed at Olisa that he harassed her. I walked up to Akeem and asked him what is going on, he said it was Olisa, and I walked up to him and instead of apologizing, he told me to piss off.
I did not want to start any trouble in the club, so I went outside to wait for him. When he came outside, I did what I had to do. I whipped his ass and I do not regret my actions.
Let us talk about your woman, how did you meet your fiancée?
I have been with her for almost a year, which means I am not rushing anything. She has participated in the industry on a higher level. She has met a lot of personalities. She is a young achiever. I have always imagined a woman who would appreciate me, can't be a Nigeria woman.
She is half Cuban, half Jamaican and part America. Her name is Katura Hamilton. She respects and understands me. I can say that in my previous relationships, I wasn't ready and made mistakes by dating controversial women. I have spent most of my relationships on the pages of newspapers. Obviously, nothing has been heard of her, except for the ugly nite club situation.
This relationship is going to work. I no longer have the energy to do everything to keep my relationship from public, hence I had to employ my Plan B, which is working.
Tell us about your style?
My style is not the conventional style. It has just got to do with something that will make me comfortable. I am not scared of colours. I don't see things from peoples fashion perspective. Over the years, I have known designers that I can comfortably wear their clothes. I wear Versace. For my eye wears, D & G, and Channel while my jewelry are usually handcrafted. I make them in Miami and New York. For perfumes, I wear Tom Ford.
They say Jim Iyke is fake?
Who is real? It is a make believe industry, my guy. Things must be faked. Those are normal controversies that I am used to.