Pere Egbi—who’s never heard of him? The reality star and actor has a career that spans almost two decades, working in a range of genres, having numerous accolades under his belt, and being one of the most talked-about people in the entertainment industry. It’s easy to be awed by Pere’s career and achievements —let’s not forget his big bright smile.
In addition to his many features, he is welcoming a new chapter in his career as he officially joins web series “The Men’s Club” as Aminu Garba. We’ve been keeping an eye on him since it was announced that he’d be taking on the role formerly played by Ayoola Ayolola.
Since its debut, the first episode of the series has been seen by over 1 million people and has been a fan favourite, winning numerous major awards both in and outside of Nigeria. Aminu Garba is a big favourite among the ladies—talk about class, money, and charm. It was no surprise that social media flew into a frenzy when Pere’s debut in the series was revealed.
Ahead of the forthcoming season, BellaNaija’s Damilola had the opportunity to speak with the series’ lead actor about what it was like filming the series, his experience so far, his bond with his co-stars on set and his plans.
Let’s talk about how your acting career, how did it start?
My acting career began a few years ago in Warri, Delta State, where I did a movie called “Lustful Temptation,” starring Alexander Lopez and Femi Ogedengbe. It was funny because, at the time, I lived in Warri and had joined the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria, Warri chapter, as a member. This was in 2003 or so. I was an extra in there and had one line. After that, the desire to be an actor grew stronger. I decided to move to Lagos that year so I could get some more acting gigs.
Moving down to Lagos, I stayed with my mum’s pastor (Pastor Tope), who took care of me while I chased my dream of becoming an actor. It was a very exhausting beginning. I was always travelling from Ipaja to the National Theater to attend auditions, read scripts, or connect with directors. Most of the time, it yielded results and on some occasions, it was just fruitless. I remember I had to trek from Ipaja to the National Theater several times just so I could attend auditions for the day.
I remember meeting the likes of Yemi Blaq who, at the time, was always around there attending auditions. I connected with a few guys around the National Theatre who then came together so we could create our own series. Efe Warriboy was also part of that then. He and I wrote the scripts we would later star in, and it was called “Golden Flames” and later changed to “Ripples of Life“. Myself, Efe Warriboy, Steven Agbarakwe, and a guy called Bob Joe were all part of the project, and Bob Joe and Steven, along with a few of us, made contributions to filming the series on a small camera back then.
It was quite an experience. We got Cyril Jackson to direct it and then pitched it to Silverbird. They aired it, and we got sponsorship from some big brands in Nigeria who decided to run advertisements during the show. It was quite a popular show, and we were moved to prime time then. Eventually, after airing for a few months, it was scrapped.
After it was scrapped, the hustle continued. Fast forward, about a year or so later, I joined Consolidated Media Associates, owned by the great Tajudeen Adepetu, as a television presenter for an arm of his company called Business Television. I was doing that for years until Business TV shut down, and I was moved to join another arm of the company called SpiceTV, where I worked as a red carpet presenter and a show producer. While doing all of these things, an acting opportunity arose for me to work with Wale Adenuga Productions on “Super Story.” I played my first role on “Super Story” and after that, I took on more roles on the soap opera. I also ended up featuring in “ThisLife” a few times as well. After that, I got another role to star in a movie with Richard Mofe Damijo and Dakore titled “Caught in the middle.” It was directed by Charles Novia.
After that, I moved to the United States and worked on a few more films there.
Then I started coming back and forth to Nigeria and landing roles to do films with Irokotv, and it was on one of those trips back and forth that I landed an opportunity to be in Big Brother.
That’s quite an interesting journey. But as a BBNaija alum, do you feel any pressure to meet your goals by a certain time?
I don’t feel any pressure to meet my goals by a certain time. Pressure, in this instance, comes when you feel you are in competition with others. The show has ended. I no longer feel like I am competing with others. I am now in competition with myself, trying to do better than what I did years ago. I have learned to work at my own pace and function at my own speed. It’s all about just me now. The world can do what the world does, but Pere will always do Pere.
Congratulations on your role in “The Men’s Club.” How has your experience been so far?
Right after BBN, while we were still doing press rounds, I got a phone call from my friend, Alexx Ekubo, who hinted to me that he had dropped my name with Tola Odunsi regarding being a part of “The Men’s Club,” as they were looking to start filming the new season and needed a replacement for the character, Aminu. I was excited because I had come across the show a few years ago and loved the concept of it. I gave Mr Tola a call, and he asked me to come in to audition for the role. I went into his office and met the other cast members. Etim Effiong was present. I auditioned in front of the camera for the role of Aminu. Well, I left after my audition, and I got a call a few days later, telling me that I got the role, and it has been a beautiful ride since then. I loved being on set with everyone. They are amazing souls. A million thank yous can not be enough to show my gratitude to Mr Tola for trusting me with this role. You will not be disappointed.
You not only joined the cast of TMC, but you also received the role of an iconic character, and this sparked a plethora of reactions. What do you have to say about that?
Most of the reactions to the role I received came from a place of attachment to the previous guy who played the role for years. But hey, the new guy is here and, dare I say, I delivered excellently well and can’t wait for you all to see it.
What’s the most intriguing thing you’ve done to get into a character?
The most intriguing thing I had to do to get into character was in a Hollywood film where I starred in Houston, Texas, alongside Clifton Powell. I remember playing the character of a nerd who is a pharmacist. I had to really study how nerds behave for weeks and weeks just to get it right. And I had to learn how to stutter.
Let’s talk about your co-stars, Etim Effiong, Baaj Adebule, Efa Iwara, and your on-screen love interests, Mimi Chaka (Tumini) and Sharon Ooja (Jasmine). How was it like working with them?
Working with the likes of Etim, Baaj, and Efa has been so beautiful. Those guys made it look so easy, kudos to them; I love and respect them madly. The synergy was out of this world. They welcomed me with open arms, and I hope to continue developing off-screen good relationships with all of them. They are great souls. So are my on-screen love interests, Tumini (Mimi) and Jasmine (Sharon Ooja). Sharon is a cutie and funny as hell. I adore her.
You’ve been featured in various films and series. What has been your favourite role?
My favourite role has been that of Aminu Garba, for many reasons.
I have never played anything like that before. I can relate to the character in so many ways. Aminu is a confident guy who exudes some mild degree of arrogance—that’s me. I could come off as arrogant to some people, but it’s all confidence, baby. Plus, I learned to speak Hausa a little more than I already knew prior.
What projects are you currently working on and what surprises should we look out for?
Well, I have a few projects lined up, one of them with Inkblot, and I will be doing something with Yvonne Nelson in Ghana in a few weeks. I am looking forward to those.
Any surprises to look out for?
For surprises, it’s going to be music. Expect some good music from me in the first quarter of 2022.
Oh great, definitely keeping an eye out for new music. If you could travel back in time, what advice would you give your 17-year-old self?
I would tell my 17-year-old self to stop being shy and get more social. Believe in yourself more. Don’t let the naysayers tell you, you can’t, because YOU CAN!