RISE UP MAGAZINE How did ‘Shame To Fame’ happen? What was the inspiration behind the book?
NINO The Inspiration behind the book is my success. I relocated from America twelve years ago, in a bid to discover myself in Nigeria. I was doing very well in America. I had a good job from a relatively wealthy family, with all my siblings living in America. So I took a bold step saying I wanted to relocate to Nigeria and become somebody, and that was a very rough process for me. It took everything I ever had from me. I almost felt I was never going to make it. My story wasn’t like that of a “Grass-To-Glory Story” like I was nothing and now I’m somebody. I’m American. I went to a good school from a relatively wealthy family, but where the shame came from is in denouncing myself from all that, undoing the things_should I say unbecoming who I was. The story of unbecoming I’m American, a graduate, well-educated. So giving all that up and coming down to Nigeria to try and find my root was like starting all over from the beginning, and I had very high hopes and expectations when I was leaving America. My move even inspired a lot of my friends, people looking up to me, saying “We’re gonna move home someday and do big things in Nigeria.” Coming to Nigeria, all I did was fail, from one failure to another, but what people didn’t realize was that I was failing forward. So I failed my way to success. With so many failures, depression, sadness, issues, my life was just scattered. My moods, my decisions affected my marriage and my relationship with friends and so many people. At some point, I was just a total shame; nobody expected anything good out of me anymore, because I had failed too many times; they were tired of me failing, and they probably gave up on me.
After I failed running a record label, losing all my money, rather than going back to America to continue my life, I decided to stay back and start over again on the note that “Quitters don’t win and winners don’t quit.” That is what inspired “Shame To Fame.”
RISE UP MAGAZINE Actors are seriously busy people. How did you find the time to write the book?
NINO I’ve always told myself that when God answers my prayer I’m going to use my story to inspire the world, share my story with the world. An unfortunate situation but kind of fortunate for me was the Corona Virus period. We said, Why not use the time that we had during the lockdown to do something creative. As you know we were pretty much epileptic; nobody could do anything, staying at home for three months. I took that moment to reflect inside. This is the perfect time for me to write this book and put my soul out there and do what I’ve always wanted to do, to share my story. The Pandemic was a very good opportunity for me to do that. I used that time to become creative and put the book together.
RISE UP MAGAZINE Today there are number of motivation and self-help books in the market. So how is ‘Shame To Fame’ different from the crowd? What would be your pitch forward?
NINO The difference with “Shame To Fame” is my story_it’s a reality, it’s a true-life story. I’m not telling anybody else’s story; this is me telling my story, being all vulnerable and putting myself out there, sharing my experience, trials, tribulations with the world. What makes it different is that my story is very organic. As an actor, a lot people started following me. From the inception of my career in coming to Nollywood about six years ago, people have been following me gradually, monitoring and seeing my progress. In the face of so many people, I went from nothing to something. I began my career in the face of so many people as a novice, and within six years, rising to this level_I thank God for the grace.
My book is one that people can connect with organically. Also there are lots of Nigerians in diaspora that want to relocate to Nigeria who know my story, who have, over the years, heard my news in the media about things I’ve been through. However, there is everything in between; the failure of the past and the present is what the book talks of, the whole process, the insecurities, everything that I went through and how I was able to overcome. I’d link my book to that of Michelle Obama and few others people connect to their story. It’s not just a book where I’m writing about money or motivational talks; my life is an inspiration; it’s a testimony itself_that’s what I’m sharing with people and that’s what the pitch is right there and this makes the big difference.
RISE UP MAGAZINE On a personal note, what keeps you motivated? Whom do you draw inspiration from?
NINO Sincerely, what keeps me motivated are my children. I have two kids; they inspire me and keep me motivated. I need to work hard and make a name for myself, something they can benefit from. In the world we are today, it’s not that you can’t make it if you are nobody, yes, you can_I made it. But the fact is it becomes much easier if your father is somebody or somebody paves the way. For example, the Otedola’s and other people who have worked extremely hard to become somebody, their kids are benefitting from that right now. That motivates me a lot.
And also the things that motivate me are success stories. When I hear people’s stories like the 2face Idibia, Dbanj, Wizkid, that motivates me a lot.
My wife is a big source of inspiration for me. We have been through everything together. The fact that we made it through the storm and are back together today and living the life of our dream, that inspires me.
I inspire myself as well. I look at the things that have happened in my life, what God has done. The Bible says, “Pain may endure at the night but joy cometh in the morning.” I’m a living testimony to that.
RISE UP MAGAZINE Any advice to your readers and fans out there?
NINO My biggest advise to my readers and fans is to get a copy of Shame To Fame; the book. It’s one that you will never regret to have. Shame To Fame is my story, and I believe that a lot of people can resonate with it because a lot of persons are going through things as well. It’s our story; it’s the African story; it’s the African dream, the Nigerian dream, my book alone, the activities, the occurrences, everything that has happened in between and everything that I have down in the book alone will inspire the world. I want you to take your time to read it; it’s self-explanatory; it’s my autobiography. My book will teach you to believe in yourself, to have faith and to be steadfast and to believe in God. “Whatever is out of your reach now will not always be out of your reach.”