Mike Nwogu, popularly known as Pretty Mike, does not seem to get tired of throwing up stunts that would either put him in the good or bad books of the people. Even when we believe he is resting on being in the news, he says he will never stop being controversial. In this interview with XCLUSIVEHIT, Pretty Mike speaks on his life, his controversies and even things you don’t even known about him.
Many people still don’t understand who Pretty Mike is. Some would say he’s the king of nightlife business in Lagos, others will say he’s a fetish and goes about doing weird things. You seem to be enjoying all the positive and negative attractions you are getting. How does it feel to mean different things to many people?
Funny enough, I actually enjoy the fact that I am a mystery to many people because at the end of the day, I feel fulfilled knowing that people are yet to figure me out. When I pull one stunt and people ask me Mike again? I tell them I had not even started. A lot of people try to box me into the category of certain people but I just laugh.
So you are really enjoying this?
Yes, I am loving it. I have aggressively studied social media to know that it can be controlled whether positively or negatively. I came into the industry having lived in the United States for almost half of my life. When I came into Nigeria, my elder brother and I started a night club business.
Where did you grow up?
Did you leave United States to start a nightclub business in Nigeria?
People keeping asking me why would I leave United States for Nigeria where things are hard but I can tell you that most people who live in the US, no matter how rich or poor they are, want to come to Nigeria. In fact, they have this urge to want to come home but they get scared because they have heard a lot of negative stories and unsuccessful ones too. Even those who had made the attempt to come back, you discover that they usually run back because they could not find their footing. So, for me, I took the bull by the horn. It was not as if it was safe to come or I was sure it would work out fine, but coming from my family’s background, I just had to push it from there and I drove it very hard.
So you came to Nigeria with all those concepts?
From where I came from, it is not as if I had a base here in Nigeria. I needed to drag people to me to keep asking questions about who I am. At the end of the day, because people could not figure out who I am, it was helping my brand to sell, my nightclub was booming and my products were selling. My joy at the end of the day, irrespective of what anybody says about, when I look my account balance, it remains very fat.
Now, let’s talk about Pretty and Mike. Why did you add Pretty to your name?
I didn’t add Pretty to my name. I have been answering that name for a long time. The name has never had anything to do with my facial expression. Growing up among many sisters, the name became a part of me because people addressed my sisters as pretty. So, over time, people would say this boy too is pretty. So, the name clicked. I never liked the name at first because it sounded feminine. Living in the US as a Nigerian-American, people would look at me and say you are doing well. I started driving when I was 14 years old. So, the confidence built and even the self esteem. So, it was not a name I chose by myself, it happened because of where I grew up and the kind of life I lived while growing up.
At what point did you decide to start pushing out those weird concepts and what exactly are you trying to achieve with it?
A lot of people keep asking me how I came up with these concepts. But the truth is that I have over a million concepts in my head that I can deploy any time. So, it is just part of me. The first thing people noticed was the umbrella thing, and that was borne out of necessity. I was a best man for a friend of mine and we were taking pictures but the camera man was taking forever. For some reasons, I had an umbrella in my car, which was supposed to be used for the rain. I pulled out the umbrella because I didn’t want the sun to hit me. The camera took my picture while I was holding the umbrella and it looked nice. When it was time for the groom and bride to dance into the auditorium, and It was getting to my turn, I started thinking of what I could do and how to dance. So, I remembered my umbrella and I asked someone to bring my umbrella. So, I opened the umbrella and everybody’s camera was on me. It was so much that all the attention shifted to me. I think I got more pictures than the bride and groom. I became the cynosure of all eyes. So, it became part of my brand that accompanied to all events I attend.
You have not been using the umbrella, are you not tired of it?
I am not tired of it but I had to stop it because when people see me, they know what to expect. It had become a norm and I didn’t like that. So, I just gave it a break. Some of the acts I pull, I don’t like to pull it once or twice. I don’t like people to predict me.
What happened to club UNO, do you own a club right now?
Club UNO is still very much there. We have changed the name to Club Scandal in Allen Avenue while myself I’m in partnership with Cubana which is owned by my cousin and when people keep asking me what’s up with club UNO I mean the same way I’m in partnership with people I have partners over there too. You know I don’t always have to be the face of a particular brand so YES I still have a strong affiliation, it’s still my club it’s just that I have a group of people now that handle it and are running it.
You’ve been a CEO of a company but now becoming a partner of another company. Why would you want to work with someone else that has his own entity?
Yeah people get deceived by titles that’s another problem we have in our country,I know a lot of young men going around printing cards CEO but Baba you don’t even own or know where there is oil but you are a CEO oil and gas,so if the partnership is profitable, why not forget the title people like titles and it’s one of the things killing our society and it’s a Nigerian thing. So if the partnership makes profit then why not been in the business over the years and I have found out that with the right partnership it’s a win win all the time so why not.
There is a particular word in Nigeria now called TAGCUTTING, do you want to be known as PRETTYMIKE the nightlife king or PRETTYMIKE, the fashionista and apart from fashion and the night life what other business interest do you have?
As an entertainer In the entertainment industry you can never really be stereotyped or be ping point at one particular thing so we talk about the fashion side the controversial side the night life side I think it’s a comparison of everything you cannot just be one so yes I do have a unique fashion sense I love looking good I think almost everybody loves looking good but the question is at what level I really believe everybody has their own fashion sense some can afford it some can’t, some have the time some don’t you know it doesn’t mean at the end of the day they don’t want to look presentable but in terms of fashion yeah I like to stand out I believe everybody would also like to stand out but at least half percentage of people so my fashion sense is a little unique a little different a little creative we have a lot of people in the industry that also have their own various fashion brands in terms of uniqueness so I want mine to be different when you see pretty mike you see something totally different that said I also want to be known as a guru in the night life industry. You can call me a veteran because I have been in the industry for 12 years there are few of us that have been not only in the business for that long but also consistent and relevant. I keep telling people there’s a difference between being in the business for a long time and being consistent and relevant. Without the name PRETTYMIKE making echo, at least something must be said about him so that’s just it being relevant in the industry. Nightlife is something I want most people to know me for than every other thing .
I have been in a conversation before where the people were talking about you been a driver for somebody I argued but they said I should go and find out that maybe the car was for your brother or something?
God…. This is the first time I’m hearing it (laughs) Please, I’m not laughing at the drivers out there tho. But there’s nothing wrong it’s a profession if it’s your hustle it’s your hustle BUT I have never been a driver. Like I said I grew up with a silver spoon. I grew up with drivers in my house I’m probably one of those Nigerians that grew up with drivers taking us to school and bring us back so I have at no point had it tough to now be a driver .
So talking about expansion of your horizons, what give birth of EKO LIFESTYLE and what’s your idea for the Eko lifestyle project, what is happening what and what are you putting together?
Nigeria as a whole is a lifestyle. A lot of people are here. Lifestyle is very broad and it’s very deep and you know I sat back and thought about it there is really no lifestyle award given. Yes, there are so many awards out there that people are being recognized for so many things so I think it was a unique thing coming up with Eko Lifestyle Project which has a foundation, a tv channel, an awards platform and all inside it. A lot of people I would like to recognize and you know I wanted it to be an event that would be different. I don’t want to call it the met gala but I wanted it to be event where who is who would come out looking their most controversial and most luxurious persons and brand. That’s the idea and with God on our side that dream would still come to past .
Why did you shift it?
At a point my partners and I didn’t believe the society was ready for it so we need push up the noise and drive we were putting into it and we are looking at building back the momentum and driving it heavy. So 2020 EKO LIFESTYLE PROJECT is coming.
Are you shooting your own movie soon because we know and we heard you are interested in the movie industry?
I’m not interested in the movie industry I’m a movie let’s get those words correctly. Oh yeah on my instagram page a lot of people come and say Mike go into the movie, get into nollywood and all. It has never really been my style. Frankly speaking, I don’t think they can pay me enough but it still doesn’t mean I haven’t had opportunities to get into having several roles. So am I going to be having one or two things on TV soon. There’s a reality show in the making. There are a couple of movie projects in the making too so it’s going to be different Phase. You know we want something unique yet creative and yes maybe we want something probably wild too.
So you are a brand ambassador to MARTEL and YOMI CASUAL fashion brand. Do you have more brands coming on board wanting to partner with you and how wide do you feel your brand is?
Well you know I have always sat down and thought about this I don’t think you know nowadays people are going to college and they tell you they want to be brand influencers maybe a couple of years ago that was never really a big deal but now some people can comfortably tell their parents I’m a brand influencer that’s a job you know and your father would be proud of you but I think if they had said that a couple of years ago they would Probably flog you but that industry is growing bigger and bigger and bigger and the word influencer is known the horoscope is vast but for some reason it wasn’t as if I was ever looking for it I found myself there,so much that several companies are at my door wanting to sign deals wanting to sign exclusivity wanting to talk about their market or their brand you know very wide scope and of course I’m a brand ambassador for Mattel and also for yomi casual my friend and their are several individuals and brands and you know something it’s never good to spill the beans before we cut the check and sign the paper work because that is the brand influencing thing you cannot give them the market free so in no time those would also be made known to the public you know it’s something I can say I’m proud of in the mist of all this controversy and everything their are still some companies that want to associate with me they say you know this your madness we like it .
What do you do with your foundation?
Being a philanthropist and a humanitarian is probably something I have been doing for the longest time because growing up and seeing my parents do same for people. I pretty much want to do the same thing. I think it’s probably something that I copied or got from them and it’s also not something I would like to brag about. Its something I don’t like to talk about because the way I was brought up if you do good to someone and you brag about it that blessing is gone. The way I was brought up, you don’t have to blow the trumpet. God would reimburse you so that’s it and yes we have a foundation we are working on. We have done so much outreach to a lot of people at the same time we don’t like to brag about it. I had a partnership with kokun foundation on my last birthday and several other events where we reached out to several kids, feed them and all that like i said it’s something we don’t like to brag about or talk about. I have this thing for a special group of people in our society that I would love to help and it’s the single mothers you know that category of people growing big and fast the single mothers and they are almost like handicaps especially In our society where they stigmatize them and stereotype them if you are a lady that has a baby and you are not married then they start looking at you as a leper or something. They almost don’t want to associate with them. I have taken personal interest in those ladies so sometimes I encourage them with start up funds when they come to me and tell me about business that they want to start up and I think that’s about the only way you can give them back their confidence. By financially empowering them, I would say is one of my goals and I would say I have quite a number of single mothers that are under my umbrella that I’m currently helping their start up businesses some of them have been fully established and are doing well.
Very nice of you. More wins sir. So, You once got yourself a sex doll, what happened to it?
She went for a surgery. She wanted to go and fix the body.
Who damaged the body?
Well, the surgery is necessary for the doll to get back stronger.
Do you prefer the doll to a woman?
Yes, I prefer my sex doll to a woman. We have heard people say a lot about women but I don’t want too much stress. Some of our ladies are just too stressful.
We even heard you are married before now with kids?
Please I don’t have any wife I’m still a very eligible bachelor. don’t come here and spoil my market don’t go and tell anyone that I’m married. No wife yet biko.
What kind of dream did you have about yourself when growing up?
I believe one day, I would become a pastor. It might still happen. It depends on when the Lord calls me. I like to speak to people. I like how motivational speakers talk to people. I grew up from a very heavy Christian background. But if you ask me if I am thinking of stopping my stunts anytime soon, the answer is no.
You said you might eventually end up being a pastor. What kind of relationship do you have with Him now?
We have an awesome relationship. I am a fan of Christ and I have a cordial relationship with Him but I am not the type that posts Bible quotes on their instagram page neither am I the one you would see in church on Sunday. But if you ask me if I have a relationship with Him, I would say yes. Does he understand me? Yes. Do I understand Him? Yes. In everything I do, from my waking up to going to bed, I am in constant relationship with God. I think I have a good Christian life.