Bobrisky, the controversial cross dresser who is in the mainstream and social media platforms and whose antics on social media have led ‘normal’ people to perceive him as gay or demon-possessed young person, has given his penchant for crossdressing as an elegant, fashionable person.
But 26-year-old Bobrisky, whose real name is Idris Okuneye, in this interview years back held at his beautiful home, pulled back the curtain to let in a burst of light into his real persona.
Read excerpts of this interview
So how did you become a crossdresser?
I’m from a polygamous family. My dad married three wives. My mum is the last wife with three children. My parents had issues at some point and my dad said my mum could go with her children. It was later agreed that my brother and sister should stay with my dad being the older ones while I lived with my mum. She sent me to primary and secondary schools. I went to Kings College and University of Lagos, where I studied Accounting. Before I gained admission into Unilag, I lost my mother in 2008. She was a Muslim; actually she travelled for Hajj and died there. This made me to go back to my father’s house. While living with my mum, I learnt business tactics from her. She sold lace and other textile fabrics in Lagos Island. I used to go to her shop on Saturdays to help out. Shortly after moving to my dad’s house, I gained admission into University of Lagos to study Accounting. In my 200 level, I started trading. I sold clothes to my friends and hostel mates. But I wasn’t making money the way I wanted. I sat down one day and told myself that I wanted to become famous. My dream has always been to become famous and controversial. I said to myself, ‘I want to make money from my trade, so what can I do? I started having different plans.
Since I do more of make-ups, sell female and male clothes, I decided to do crossdressing to draw attention. ‘If I start crossdressing, it would sell me out there. It would draw people’s attention’. That was how I became so famous. People were like eeeh, is this one a boy or a girl? What is going on, he’s a boy oh, no he is a girl oh. My plan worked. I became controversial. I started selling creams, clothes, and make-up in a large quantity. From there, I started making money. I got a store on the mainland selling clothes. After then, I got a bigger shop in Lekki Phase One, where I still operate my cosmetics business till date.
The journey has not been easy. People call me names, oh, he’s gay; he’s this, he’s that. Nigerians have this attitude when they see a man acting like a woman or doing female stuff. They tag him gay. But we all have our plans and aims laid out. I wouldn’t want to be a kidnapper, a thief, or a fraudster in the nearest future, so, I’m using what I have to get what I want. I thought of what to do to make cool cash and become famous and that’s why I became Bobrisky. The name came about because people were calling me Bobo, saying that wearing women outfit as a guy is a risk. It takes a lot of courage to do that. So, I took Bob from Bobo and added risky. That was how I became Bobrisky. Social media is full of tales of Bobrisky. Bobrisky did boobs, Bobrisky did ass; all these things are controversial nonsense.
The first day you came out as Bobrisky at a social function, what happened?
A lot of men were toasting me, saying that I was so beautiful. When I told them that I am a guy, they didn’t believe it. Even till date, I tell my toasters I’m a guy because if I don’t tell them my gender, that amounts to impersonation, which is a crime. So, I tell them that Bobrisky is a character, he’s not a girl. I have lots of male admirers and I turn them down because I am not who they think I am. I have a different aim, different purpose for being who I am today. Not for that regular purpose.
But many people have this perception that you are gay. Is it true?
I’m not gay. I’m not into homosexuality. When I’m in my house, I’m somebody else, the Idris that God created me to be. But when I’m leaving my compound, I’m the beautiful Queen Bobrisky.
How did your family and bosom friends take to your act?
They understood why I started it. If you have any plan drafted for your future, you should be able to carry your family along so that they won’t feel ashamed or bad that you are going astray. I made my dad understand what I wanted to do. I made my grandma understand too. They knew that I’m not bad. I started crossdressing just one-and-half-years ago. Now, I’m 26 years old and famous. I have a house in Lekki, I have two shops and I have big clients. Most of my clients are wives of top politicians. They patronize my wears because I wear more of jhalamias and decent outfits.
Your face is extremely flawless, who does your makeup?
No one. I do my makeup myself but I have a stylist that does my hair.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Yes, I have a girlfriend and she lives in London. My girlfriend understands the game, I made her understand and told her not to get distracted with what she hears about me.
How do you relax?
I’m an indoor person, I don’t go out. After my business I stay in my house.
What is your favorite fashion accessory?
I love jewelry. I wear designer items. I love Gucci and Christian Louboutin, these are the fashion accessories that keep you classy and expensive.
What is your wardrobe made of?
I don’t have male stuff in my house. I don’t have anything male in my wardrobe. However, I have little men stuff I wear in my house, when I am all alone.
Some people find me interesting outside the country. In places like Europe and America, they find me interesting. They love my fashion sense. They tell me I wear my dresses better than females. I did a lot of research on how to crossdress before I dabbled into it. People ask me if I’m a transgender and I tell them there are differences between a crossdresser and a transgender. So, I’m still a crossdresser.
So one day you will become a transgender?
I will never. Nothing will make me change my gender. Nothing. I have already drafted what I want to be and what I want for myself in life. So these are my secrets.
Would Bobrisky have a wife someday?
Yes I will. It’s going to be a lavish wedding and I will surprise the world.
When would that be?
That’s a secret for now.
Your girlfriend is in London, won’t that affect the relationship?
No. Because I travel to London often. I will be in London in less than five days.
You walk like a female, did you learn it?
I learnt all that. It’s all part of fashion. When you are into fashion you learn how to catwalk and how to walk on heels and how to behave when you wear native outfits. Some girls don’t even know how to behave when they are in traditional outfit or in Aso-Ebi.
They should act like a native or local person in Aso Ebi. But when you are in a classy English attire, you should act expensive and walk expensive. Most girls don’t know about that. I want them to come and learn from me. Later, I will set up a grooming school to educate girls on how to catwalk, makeup and how to compose yourself as a woman. You see, many women act like men. They don’t know how to compose themselves. That’s why their husbands cheat on them a lot because their husbands want a sexy behaviour and comportment. I will teach all these things in my grooming school.
What lessons has life taught you as a person?
Just be yourself and be who God wants you to be in life; don’t allow anybody to distract you. Though a lot of people insult me and call me names on social media, I just laugh over these things because when they come to where I live, they are dazed, wondering where I get the money to do all these things? The more they insult me the more I make my money.
There’s a transgender club/crossdresser club. Do you belong to it?
No! Never! I even don’t have a friend. Like I told you, they have different reasons they do their thing, my own reason is totally different, which is to be famous and get my goods sold. You can never see me in gay or transgender clubs. What will I go there to do? You can never see me there because I’m not gay.
With all these are you still a Muslim?
Yes. But I won’t lie to you, I don’t practice Islam. I know this is wrong to say…. my busy schedule doesn’t give me time to practice the religion. However, I still kneel down before I sleep and talk to my God, thanking God for the day, his provision. It’s the prayer from heart that God prefers not the dramatic ones that you must go to the Mosque to pray. That’s why I founded Bobrisky Foundation.
What is your foundation about?
It’s about helping people. Helping widows and orphanage. I pay school fees for people because a lot of people helped pay my school fees. When my mother died, I went around my mum’s friends for school fees too and they were there for me. So, when I see people in need of something, I like to help because I have been there before.
If your mum were alive how would she take your attitude?
My mum loved me so much. That’s why it’s good for parents to have mutual understanding with their children. My mum really understood me so much and I’m sure by now she would know what to tell people that are bad mouthing me.
What about your dad?
My dad has no time. He would say, ‘just do your thing, don’t commit any criminal offence.