Maria Chike Benjamin, BBN Reality Star, sits with Chude Jideonwo host of #WithChude to discuss life after Big Brother Naija, her relationship with her father, the viral tweet in January, and her new TV show.
On going for the reality TV show, Big Brother Naija, she shared, “2020 was a very challenging year for me. I was like, ‘What am I going to do next’, and I didn’t know much about Big Brother. I had few friends prior to 2019, who were encouraging me to go, and I was like, ‘No’. Later, I made up my mind because I knew I had future goals I wanted to achieve, and I thought, ‘maybe this is the platform that I needed’. I didn’t even tell my family I was going for Big Brother because they wouldn’t have known my right intention for me being on such a platform. The negative persona that comes with ladies being on such platform, to them it will be ‘why do you want to showcase yourself on a reality show in Nigeria, the reality show in the UK Is always trashy with people fighting, swearing at each other and all of that,’ and that is the image they would have had in their head”.
“When I went to Big Brother, I didn’t know what was going to happen afterwards. I didn’t even know I was going to move back to Nigeria. Everything was just like forced unto me. When I did come out, I was at a stage of my life where things were difficult mentally. Dealing with the new ‘so-called’ fame, everything was just too much. I literally started to learn all over again at the end of 2021, when I left the house”, she added.
Maria also shared about her relationship with her father, after her parents’ divorce and dealing with grief. “My dad was like my best friend; I was very close to him. He literally dragged me and said, ‘you aren’t going anywhere’. My dad was Cancer, I am a Taurus, so we were like a match made in heaven. He died in 2013, it was like a changing point in my life because my dad did everything for me, he had my life planned out. So, when he passed away, I was like, ‘what am I going to do with life?’. Ididn’t accept it until months after he was buried, I was in denial. I fell into depression. When I finally got out of it, I told myself,‘this isn’t what your dad would have wanted you to be, he would have wanted you to be a great woman, so go do something’”.
On the viral moment when she mistook Apostle Joshua Selman for Apostle Johnson Suleman, she said, “the thing is, there was a rumour (that I was dating Apostle Johnson Suleman). Some blogs put out stuff there with no evidence and it tarnishes people’s images or what you’re working on. It derails you from the image you’re trying to portray, whether it’s the real you or not. The wholerumour about this was months back and I paid it no attention. I don’t need to explain to people every time there is a rumour about me. I don’t owe anyone. If you want to believe it, then that’s fine. I don’t actually do that, and I don’t care. My mum had left for the airport that evening. I took her to the airport and was stuck in traffic on my way back and I was just bored on Twitter, and it was so funny to me. But looking back now, it’s nothing funny. I didn’t know there were two Apostles. And this is my ignorance and silliness which I am aware of now and I’m really deeply sorry. I thought it was the ‘claimed’ person that they said I had something to do with. In my head I was like, ‘well if he’s the one it’d be really funny.’ Like we don’t know each other so, ‘Hi, nice to meet you’. That was how I thought it was going to go in my head and I really thought people would find it funny, but no, I was actually embarrassing and disrespecting a real man of God”.
Maria also shared about her TV show. “It is something totally different, it is something personal to me and a lot of people can relate to it”
Watch the excerpt here:
#WithChude is a network of media products across TV, Film and podcasts telling stories that enable and strengthen the mind, the heart, and the spirit. The weekly interviews are widely syndicated across terrestrial television and social media platforms reaching an average of 8 million people weekly – positioning it as the most watched and most syndicated weekly talk show (digital + traditional) in the region. It has become a safe space for guests to talk about things publicly for the first time. Actor Joke Silva revealed that her husband Olu Jacobs was dealing with dementia with Lewy body for the first time on the show, and producer Kemi Afolabi opened up about her experience dealing with Lupus on #WithChude. That month, Lupus and Kemi Afolabi were among the top Google Nigeria searches. The interviews have been featured everywhere, from the BBC to the New York Times. The documentary and travelogue series #ChudeExplains has tackled issues from criminal justice reform to Gen Z coming of age. The show launches the #WithChude Global series in 2023.
All past and new episodes of #WithChude can be watched at watch.withchude.com. You can also watch the premiere of new episodes every Saturday on Channels TV at 1 pm, with reruns every Sunday on Wazobia TV Channel 98 at 5 pm, and every Tuesday on Rave Tv at 5 pm.
An extended play podcast is up on listen.withchude.com, as well as on Apple Premium.