Meet Nigerian International Super Model: Preach Bassey
Who is Preach?Some people see me as a model, others see me as a musician, while a fewer group knows me as a film actor. What others see about me are correct. As seated here, I am an international model. I did a little bit of music while in Malaysia. I had a group of three. We sang and recorded some tracks that enjoyed airplays around. But that’s history now.
How did you come about modeling?I started back in school, Lim Kok Wing University of Creative Technology, Cyber Jaya, Malaysia. I had left Nigeria seven years earlier to pursue a career in Multimedia. But the modeling came up after the tragic incident of being without money in a foreign land. Friends helped me but I was determined, somehow, to work for my money. The magic moment was when my school held a fashion event. I was a usual fun guy that people wanted to be with but I was reserved. My friend, Gao from Botswana told me about how they needed guys with my kind of built for the show and urged me to go. I was surprised. I was working in the computer laboratory then and was not concerned with anything of that nature until I found myself there.
And your abs?I started working out when I discovered my round stomach didn’t make me attractive to the ladies. I wanted to impress them. I guess that turned out to put me onto the runway as a model instead of the usual idea behind my look.
Runway?I started doing runway before I discovered the studio. And it’s not my best, but not my worst.
Did your parents buy the idea of modeling?I shaded that path from my parents. They only had vague ideas about what I was doing. But I did sent them photos back home and my parents loved me being active. So I guess they didn’t understand what I was doing. That saved me a lot of explanations for me.
Your view of modeling?Modeling is an interesting job. I see myself as a working brand each time I appear on the runway. In think it is good. It’s an opportunity to sell. My core value is to promote my brand on the runway.
Would you call it a decent job?I think the talk of decency is all based on the mindset. Modeling is a decent job.
Your root?I am from Akwa Ibom State, Urue Offong Oruko LGA. My father was a pastor until his death in 2006. Mum was a nurse, but she is retired now. We are thirteen in the family. I was blessed to have six siblings before me. I learned from them.
Entrepreneurship skill?My family, we didn’t have so much money in the bank. And so many wishes were not granted when made. So I needed to work my way up there to being the man I wanted to be. I knew my parents had no money. Even if they did, they had other younger children that needed the money more than I did. Then I joined in the church band, singing and drumming. I guess those were the platforms.
Your desire for Malaysia?I was at the Cross River State Polytechnic studying engineering. My dream was the US and still is. But it was not working. I then ran into Eton, now in Hollywood, he finished from the Columbia Film School as a director, he told me he was going to Malaysia. I asked his reasons and he told me school. He also told me that I could join him to see if there would be openings for my choice of career in engineering. So I applied online and with my little savings the admission came through. When it dropped I went to my dad for assistance but he told me there was no money. It was my Mum who told me she would sell her last wrapper to see me travel. And as promised she ended up selling a plot of land to enable me travel with of course my dad’s consent.
How is your mum now?She’s good and happy. She is looking forward to the next level in my life. I appreciate her efforts.
Your break out?In my quest to making it into the modeling world, I found myself at the Elite Model Management, Malaysia but was rejected because of my black skin. After a year of scouting, I was found again. Then I was admitted for the Elite Model Search competition where I came out top and was given a two-year professional contract. Later my friend, Camille, a professional makeup artist from France met a friend online, Mr. Aliaskhaal. The guy he met was a experimenting photographer who wanted to collect some photos for his use. After Camille spoke with him about me, Camille booked a meeting and in fewer days, we were on our way to his place and that was it, another break. There were clicks of the camera etc. and I had a collection of photos for my profile, same with Camille for her job and Mr. Aliaskhaal who took a break from directing commercials for TV. He is good at his job.
Getting naked?It’s an opportunity to let go of inhibitions. All my fears and burdens are let go. That’s the idea. And it also put me out uniquely. It gives me an edge. And when you have an edge in my kind of businesses, you start getting paid. I think I should also make it known that when I get nude, it’s not about turning anybody on or being indecent but its appreciating art – appreciating my body and soul. The first time I got naked in front of the camera was a job for my school, which was for a national exhibition at the nation’s art gallery in Malaysia. And then the photos were unbelievably reprinted and pasted around the school, in the photography department as wallpaper. That was how my school had the portrait of a black African on its wall.
First job?It was the Elite Model thing in-conjunction with the Kuala Lumpur Fashion week. It was a weeklong event and an interesting one. Also on ground was the CNN Fashion show which I enjoyed.
Other jobs?I have done jobs for Envy Magazine, Peak Magazine, NEC Laptop, Bank Negara, Probono, etc. For television commercial; I have done jobs for Mighty Lizard Man, MIFC, CELCOM, TELCO, Guinness stout, TV3 Malaysia, Dubai Tower Promotion, Exxim Bank, Skol Beer, Enrich Card, Mini Cooper, etc. Blacks came in for businesses and leave. I was like the only resident black model. That was good for me.
Nigeria market?The industry isn’t too strong. I have not done any job because I have not found anything that has enticed me yet.
Nigeria fashion industry?I think tradition is restricting the potentials of the models here. I urge folks to go out and learn how to make this industry move forward. We copy the West a lot. I want us to be creative enough not to do so and allow room for people to copy our styles too.
Your dream in fashion?I want to be able to model for bigger brands around the world. I have modeled for Brioni Suits – the best suits makers in the world. I have done advertorials for Times Magazine which sold in 11 countries. Also is Panasonic camera, fashion spread for Peak Magazine, Guinness, Dubai Towers, Exxim Bank in Singapore, Bank Malaya – Malaysia’s central bank etc.
If you were not a model what would you be doing?I would be writing songs or acting on TV
Acting?I have a Diploma from the New York Film Academy in acting. It was one of the few things I did when I arrived. I have a project at hand. It’s a short film. I have a talented crew of young people that I’m working with. I expect the best. Something you can watch and appreciate the film industry in Nigeria. The tile is “A Longer Night”. Africans are not telling their stories enough. We need to tell the African story the African way. And that is what I would be doing while in the country.
Fund for the film project?We are pooling resources. It’s an in-house thing; from the scriptwriter to the director and cast. You know God has called all of us to be fishers of men; I want to bring people into God’s Kingdom through the art.
The Nigerian Weather?I love the harmattan season.
Politics?I like to follow politics. It’s through it that we can get the change that the entertainment industry needs.
Volunteer work?I was part of a theater production in December, 2010 to educate people that AIDS is real. A friend who had also been out of the country all her life had the project and it was good doing it.