Mike Edwards: Aligning With The Stars
In 2019, Big Brother Naija saw over 20 young Nigerians compete for a grand prize of 60 million. Viewers watched with building anticipation and excitement for 99 days to see one housemate emerge winner and of the five finalists was Mike Edwards.
Born Mike Olayemi Edwards to Nigerian and Jamaican parents,Mike maintained a persona that saw him become a favourite of viewers. Rated the least controversial in the house, he tells The Guardian Life that the reason for his appraised behaviour is “Perspective. I have been fortunate enough to have been raised in different environments growing up. It taught me how to respect other cultures and connect with people from different lifestyles.”
This respect, viewers would notice, would give him the recognition as a refined gentleman. At a time when excuses abound on why it is an innate nature of man to disrespect his relationship through cheating, he won the hearts of many after staying faithful to his marriage vows while in the house. However, Mike who is married to British Olympian, Perri Shakes-Drayton, says ‘he should not be applauded’. Instead, he opines in an interview with LindaIkejiTV that his personality in the house is just a “snippet of a misperception of how men in Africa, especially in Nigeria, have been perceived… “Coming out, I wanted to change that narrative… to inspire other Nigerians to walk in a different way.” And every time the question would surface, he would repeatedly mention that staying faithful was easy because married a queen.
An achiever, the ‘King of Cruistopia’ does not have just good looks but a smart head which sits pretty. He owns the first black-owned cigar line in the United Kingdom called Aireyys. Speaking with The Guardian Life, he notes that he observed the gap in the industry and found that “many of the brands I supported didn’t represent my community. So, I created Aireyys, a brand with class, attitude and culture.” With plans for further expansion in the African market, Mike thought Big Brother to be a great platform for promotion and it did. He says, “the opportunity of a lifetime was my inspiration. I am not going to be a sportsman for the rest of my life. Big Brother was an enormous platform to showcase my personality and bring more exposure to my business, Aireyys…What you focus on, you get more of,” he adds.
A man of many true characters, Mike is famed as a professional high-jump athlete. With talks making the rounds that he will compete in the 2020 Olympics holding in Tokyo, Japan, he says that his eyes are set but first, he has to gain the “Olympic standard.”Giving his new status as a reality TV star, it is quite normal for Nigerians to think that this is the “open-secret”formula he needs to become immersed in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Yet,these are just guesses as he tells us that he is on the path of evolution. “I will keep evolving, my best work is yet to come.”
With so many ideas up his sleeves to inspire people especially millennials, the very fashionable Mike promises to visit Nigeria more often now that “he is home.”As we conclude on our conversation, he tells his numerous fans to keep the faith, “you are closer than you think to your biggest breakthrough. Stay on the path, and always remember why you started.”