Nigerian Barbie and Internet sensation, Idris Ogunneye, aka Bobrisky, talks about his life, business and the controversies surrounding him in recent interview.
Who is Bobrisky?
My real name is Idris Olanrewaju Ogunneye and I am from Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State. I have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Lagos. When I was in part three at the university, I opened a boutique in Ikeja. It was called Bob, which is an abridged version of the nickname I was given when I was a child. Back then, I was fondly referred to as Bobo. I added ‘risky’ to the name and that is how I arrived at Bobrisky, and I believe the name suits me.
What religion do you practise?
Idris is my Muslim name but I am not a practising Muslim.
Did you have a privileged upbringing?
I come from an average family. My dad is alive and he’s doing fine. I was born in Ebute-Metta , Lagos and I was raised in Lagos. My mum died in 2008. My dad is a retired transporter and he has drivers that work for him because he is aged. He is a polygamist and is married to three women. I am the youngest child in my family.
How did you get the funds to start a business while you were still an undergraduate?
When I was at the university, I worked part- time. Because I love to dance, I used to teach choreography and I also attended dance events. So I made money from dancing while I was in school. Also , because I have a great sense of fashion, my friends at the university admired my outfits and usually requested that I get same for them. I would double the cost and resell to them. As time went on, I was able to raise the capital to start my business.
Did you also wear make-up when you were an undergraduate?
While I was in school, I wore little make-up. If you did not come close to me, you would rarely know I applied make-up on my face.
Why do you like to wear make-up?
I developed interest in make-up because I love fashion. I have a love for feminine fashion. I felt there was a need for me to look feminine to attract more clients and create awareness for my brand. That is why I wear make-up and false nails. In order to comply with the demands of my customers, I opened another shop where I sell make-up.
Back in school, did people react strangely to you because you wore make-up?
Like I said earlier, I did not wear heavy make-up then. However, my dressing was of the highest quality. I won the award for the Best Dressed Male in my faculty and the Best Dressed Male in the University of Lagos. I first got popular on campus.
Are you not bothered about the kind of reaction you get from people?
I’m not bothered because I believe I’m doing the right thing. I’m myself and I’m doing what pleases me.
A lot of people believe that you’re more feminine than masculine?
That is their opinion. I know the reason why I’m Bobrisky. I already told you the reason why I do all that I do now and why I do them. I let people say whatever they feel like saying about me. I’m myself and different opinions are welcome.
What do your parents think about the way you live your life?
My father knows who I am and he is not bothered. One day he said to me, “You’re getting older and you’re over 18, it is up to you to decide if this is the right or wrong path to life.”
Before your mum died, did she object to your lifestyle?
When my mum noticed my feminine side, she used to beat me. At some point , she hired some hoodlums to manhandle me because she felt I was bringing shame to the family. Later, she let me be because she noticed the beating did not yield any result.
Do you feel like a girl?
I actually don’t feel like a girl inside of me, but I have a girly way of thinking and I’m very caring. My mum got to love me so much before she died because I’m hard-working. I cooked for her when she was alive, I cleaned her shoes and picked her outfits. Before she died, she stopped bothering about Bobrisky.
Why did you choose to alter your complexion?
A few years ago, I travelled to Dubai to shop. I got a particular cream from Dubai to tone my complexion to caramel or fine chocolate. After using the cream, some areas on my body looked lighter than the rest, so I decided to brighten up my entire skin. I noticed the lightening cream worked for me, so I started to sell to people. The cream is quite expensive but it gives you an even tone.
Do you fund your lavish lifestyle solely from your business?
That is a personal question. I don’t want to talk about that.
Is “bae” the one funding your lifestyle?
I don’t want to talk about “bae.”
How rich are you?
I am rich but not as rich as people think. Presently I am building a house at Ikate, Lagos.
Are you gay?
Because I wear make-up does not mean I am gay. In fact, there is no law that can prevent me from wearing make-up. Interestingly, I apply the make-up myself and I do it well and better than most women.
But you dress feminine?
Even if I dress and talk like a woman, does that mean that I am gay?
Have you ever been in a gay relationship?
None that I know of.
Do you have a girlfriend?
I have a girlfriend that I’m in a serious relationship with. I keep her away from the media for personal reasons.
Is her family comfortable with you?
I have yet to meet with her parents but I have met with two of her older sisters. I have explained every area of my personality to them because they wanted to be clear on certain areas. I have a plan and I don’t need any kind of negativity to distract me.
Have you ever being threatened by those who find your lifestyle offensive?
Why are they offended? Nobody should feel sorry for me because I am living my life and not theirs. Every now and then, people threaten to harm me. Some even come on social media to threaten me. Let’s move on to the next question. It is not an issue.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Bobrisky is going to be as rich as Dangote. I want to expand my business. I would love to have my own manufacturing company. Also, I would love to have a good wife and good children.
How did Bobrisky become an Internet sensation overnight?
I posted videos of me dancing on Snapchat. A lot of people saw the videos and then people began to follow me on Snapchat so they can watch my videos.
Do homosexuals approach you because of the way you look?
The same way I have females who admire me is the same way guys admire me. I just laugh it off and become friends with all of them. I’m humble and calm. I don’t want to offend anyone so they do not gang-up against me. I let them know that I am not gay but I keep my friendship with them.
How did you develop the courage to do the things you do despite what people think and say about you?
I realised you can only live once and if this is the way I have chosen to live my life, so be it. I have watched my close friends die and I have witnessed their interment. I was there when my mother was buried, so I don’t take life too seriously. I don’t dictate how other people live so no one should bother about how I choose to live my life. A day is coming when you will die and the troubles will be gone. I’m myself and I take life easy. I don’t worry about a lot of things. I live a simple life and leave the rest to God.
Has being Bobrisky opened doors for you?
It has opened doors for me. I have done adverts for some companies. They like my personality, so they like to work with me.
If you’re offered a sex-change operation, will you accept the offer?
No, I won’ because I am who I am. I’m grateful for what God has done with my life. I don’t like the idea of adding some extra body parts or replacing the ones God gave me. I have nothing against homosexuals or transgenders. I am not going to judge them because I don’t like to be judged.
At what age did you start to wear make-up and dress feminine?
I started wearing make-up and wigs as a 12-year-old. By the time I turned 15, my mum got used to me being feminine. I have always lived a simple life and I have this girly attitude. I don’t like trouble and I’m also reserved.
What qualities do you look for in a wife?
My wife has to be extra beautiful because I am also beautiful. Also she must be fashionable because I love fashion. In fact, there has to be a competition between my wife and me on who is finer! Lastly, she has to be caring and loving.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
I have a unisex style. I wear male and female clothing. I am okay with whatever catches my eye and I do not care what people say or think.
How do you unwind?
I love to listen to calm music and I like to dance.