Philanthropist and nightlife aficionado, Pretty Mike, lives with the aphorism that every show should tell a story. His majestic yet dramatic public appearances contribute to his controversial personality.
The socialite has been making headlines for loads of controversial reasons including stepping out with snakes, chained girls and more.
In this interview with us, he opened up about media’s misinterpretation of his much talked about lifestyle as a show stopper, feminism, his type of woman and how he would be so glad to have Tiannah mother his unborn children. Interestingly so, he also spoke about his introverted nature which people barely notice, amongst others.
I enjoy your media showbiz. Can you describe Pretty Mike in three words?
Unique is the first one, then there’s something I want to tell everybody, I am an introvert and an extrovert at same time.
How do you mean, Unique, introvert and extrovert? Can you please break it down, how can one be at that same time?
In my business nature or mood, I can be very outgoing, spontaneous, welcoming to the environment with people in general. In my private time, when I am at home, I am alone, I don’t like people around me. I enjoy my privacy. I feel at peace that way.
You also run a club business…
That is the business part, so I switch moods, a lot of time people are saying hi to me and mingle with me in the public, the person inside of me doesn’t want that, it’s business, entertainment, you have to do what you have to do.
Who is your celebrity crush and why?
It’s always been Kim Kardashian, I see her as a unique person. She’s a model for a lot of things happening right now in our society. She’s done quite a lot, I think she’s a legend.
How about your own Nigerian celebrity crush?
I think Tiwa Savage is amazing and I love her drive, the way she carries herself. I love the fact that when people think she’s not going to make it or excel. She always come out on top, even when she gave birth, a lot of people were saying she was done, that’s the end of her career. She works hard.
What do you think of her new single?
Awesome, it’s a blast, Unique. She is so creative, I don’t know how she comes out ontop of the mountain, for me to give someone a credit of being creative, I myself I am a very crazy person, I give her hundred over hundred.
Does the song bring any kind of memory to you musically?
It’s a feel-good moment.
Does it have any connection with FELA?
For some reasons, I personally, have so much respect for Baba, I try never to compare or even give anybody credit because he’s a legend on his own. Even when people try to mimic him, I still try not to give them credit. I knew when Tiwa was good with that, I can see a lot of culture, the song is actually unique. Maybe she was thinking about it, you know. Sometimes I try not to put anybody in the same category with Baba.
Rumour has it that you are gay. Are you one?
I mean for a long time I have been in the news, I always tell people that we are in the day and night time. What it is what it is; my track record, to my female fans that have kissed and told, those that know Pretty Mike knows what he’s capable of doing. Like I said, it’s not an excellent track record I want to use to bail myself. We are in a social media era whereby, everybody, even our politicians are trying to be trendier, even our pastors are putting up styles on different level. You don’t just see people that are dressed up and say that person is this. Everybody now is trying to put up their best, it’s all about the pictures.
There’s no justice to highlighting the re-invention of today’s fashion in Nigeria’s growing industry without talking about the founder and C.E.O. of Tiannah‘s Place Empire, Toyin Lawani. She’s a popular Nigerian celebrity stylist and a fashion designer who has had occasions to style top celebrities home and abroad and has a rich kitty of awards.
The Queen of Extra as she’s also known, is the brain behind the skin care line, Tiannah‘s Glow Products as well.
In this interview with us, the business mogul and mother of two opens up about some of the lowest moments in her life as a mother, her brand/daring and eccentric style. She also addresses the controversial nude photos of herself and Pretty Mike on social media among others.
What’s the most memorable point in your career as a designer and why?
I have a lot of memories. I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years, but I would say it was when Ciara came to Nigeria for Dare Art Alade’s show, “Love Like A Movie” and I styled the show. I created 335 costumes in a week and I styled Ciara for 3 days at the time. It was my hard-work and creativity that got me there. It wasn’t easy, we had to sleep on the floor, it was tough but I pulled it off. So it was super amazing!
What’s your take on people dragging you on social media over the nude photos you share to promote your brand?
I make people embrace all these things because it’s part of our work at the end of the day. If you are selling lingerie or you have a lingerie line, how do you promote it? You wear them, you wear bikinis if that’s what you sell. Same with skin line, I have a skin care solution called “Tiannah‘s Glow” and how do I show you that my skin is nice? So, I have to embrace my sensuality, beautiful skin and all. Those pictures they talk about have secured loads of jobs for me both locally and internationally. I’m sexy, I‘m not going to take my body to heaven so why not?
If given a nude role in a movie would you consider it?
No, I wouldn’t. The pictures I post are usually edited. I am not always naked in them. So, you can’t compare me trying to do a skin shoot to actually going naked on TV. How much are you going to pay me? I will never do that.
You and Pretty Mike had a recent nude photo shoot and people think you both are full of drama.
I actually agree that I’m a drama queen due to my style and creativity. But I’m not stupidly dramatic, I’m being dramatic out of hard work. My recent shoot with Mike was a professional shoot. To be honest, most of it was edited. Our private parts were not even touching at all. So I don’t even care what anyone has to say. I was paid to do a job and I did it. We are only trying to change the narrative.
Can you marry someone like Pretty Mike?
No, because we are so alike. He’s like a male version of myself. He’s entertaining to me when people think he’s dramatic. If he was abroad, he would have been more celebrated for being different. But I can’t marry someone like him because he is as eccentric like me and we will be dragging over what to wear. One thing I’ll tell you about Pretty Mike is that, he’s a very caring person. He’s always spoiling me for no reason. A lot of people think there’s more but no, we’re just cool like that.
In few words, describe your kind of man to us
I like people that have common sense, hard-working and with swag. You should be good looking too. So, for me it’s not just the looks, it’s actually about what you are bringing to the table. You have to be very hard working because my IQ is very high.
Were you joking when you posted recently that you would love to marry more than one man?
I wasn’t joking but I don’t see myself doing it. But I was being realistic. Someone actually upset me that day and it got me thinking. If men can marry more than one wife why can’t a woman do same? Men do it and it’s okay but women do it and it’s a “taboo”! What a man can do, a woman can do better. My dad had up to seven wives with more than twenty kids. So as a woman why can’t I do it?
These men believe women are slaves and they belong only to the kitchen. So, they can wake up one day and just marry more wives and expect us to be okay with it. No way, women need to wake up.
Tell us more about what your stand on #2million fee before you go on a date with any man
I wasn’t joking. If I sit down on my 32 businesses, I will make more than that in a day. So if you are taking me out on date to just spend 100 to 200k it waste of time. I don’t have time for that. I don’t need losers. Did you know that some people reach out to me, pay just to go out for a dinner with me? I don’t even return some of their calls because I don’t like them thereafter. In fact, one of them came up directly and said instead of paying you 2 million for dinner why don’t I pay you 3 million and have sex with you instead. I insulted him and blocked him on Instagram because he was mannerless.
No amount of money can buy sex from me. I do it willingly if I want to.
Tell us about your formative years and your educational background
I’m actually from a royal family. My grandfather, Elijah Babalola was the first Minister of works in the Western region in Nigeria. My grandmother was the ‘Adele Oba’ of Ikoyi Ikole in Ekiti. She has her estate in Ibadan, it’s called Babalola estate. She was very industrious doing alot of things at the time. Growing up was so much fun for me in Babalola estate. My grandfather from my father’s side was also the first commissioner of Police in Lagos State, his name is Isah Lawani. With this background, I decided to work hard for myself and my name so people don’t think I am where I am today because of my background. Yes, I am proud of them and I learnt a lot from them especially my mother. My mother was very industrious. She was a boss in every sense of the word.
What was the most difficult thing you had to deal with in the past and how did you overcome it?
I really don’t like talking about that but it got me to where I am today. When I had my first daughter with her dad I went to live in London. She was like 6 months old when I moved back to Nigeria. I felt caged and abused at the time because I was not allowed to follow my dreams. I was only 23 years old and I shaped my life into what my husband at the time wanted me to be. I was not myself. I lost everything at some point.
So I had to break from that chain. Then I met my second baby daddy and that was the turning point for me. I realised I had to follow my dreams and I started building myself and brand back. It was very difficult but I made it. A man’s money is not your money, go out and work for yourself.
What is your biggest fear in life?
Are there more things you still desire in life?
Of course, I’m supposed to have a surgery after which I won’t be able to have more kids by end of the year. I adopted a son already and I have someone who is willing to be my surrogate because I want more kids. Again, I am considering freezing my eggs.
Are you in any relationship at the moment?
Yes, I am but he’s not a Nigerian. Nigerians are very judgmental and it takes a strong man to understand me. Plus, I’m always focused about my business and it takes a man with a vision to follow up. I’m happy I’ve found that man.
What should we expect from Tiannah’s Place Empire in the nearest future?
I want to be bigger than Gucci. I want my brand to go global. Not just fashion but my restaurant, nail, hair etc