By Ebele Orakpo
Call her a bundle of talents, and you are right on the money. Eeefy Ify Ike, the Chief Executive Officer of Eeefy Entertainment, is a Nigerian-born, US-based motivational speaker, author, model, Hollywood actress, style icon, image consultant and fashion designer, all rolled into one.
Eeefy whose face has graced television commercials in such popular brands as the Gillette shaving cream for men which aired in the U.S., UK, Europe and Africa for over two years, Burger King, Keglevich Vodka, Sauza Diablo Tequila, Comcast High Definition, Diesel Jeans and many others, is currently in Nigeria to effect a change in the youths and the women. She spoke with Vanguard in Lagos. Excerpts:
Why did you go into writing inspirational books?
I started writing inspirational books because I am eager to help people who are struggling. I hope that sharing my experiences and clarity will help them find their own path to healing. I find fulfillment in healing people. It is beautiful to bring joy to others.
I feel like I have made a difference when my words of wisdom can lift up a burdened soul, when I can impact a life…it makes my life significant. We must try to be significant in society and being significant is not inflicting pain and causing other people trauma.
It is actually impacting someone in a positive way, just making a difference, bringing joy to other people, being the light where there is darkness, the joy where there is sorrow. I think that is significance. That is a beautiful way of living.
On FB, I do the same thing; I post motivational articles alongside beautiful photos just like in my book. I use my professional photos, random photos, with friends or family members or even with fans.
It’s all about beauty. I came from a lot of pain, where everyone thought I will never be beautiful because they thought I was a mammy water (mermaid), superstitious belief.
I was afflicted by the ignorance of tradition and I struggled a lot growing up so no one thought I was ever going to amount to anything because I was burnt with real fire so they thought I will not even live up to the age of 15, but look at me, I’m over 30. So I love to share with people the beauty that the Holy Spirit has given to me, beauty with substance and positivity.
I also use photos because I am a child of evolution; I call it the child of fantasy and vanity. The modern society is all about fantasy and vanity, so children now only resonate with fantasy and vanity, thus if you want to gain their attention, you have to appeal to them.
If you want to heal somebody, first appeal to them because if you try to heal them without appealing to them, it will come across as malicious criticism. If I want to advise you, first I will complement the beautiful things about you because that will make you feel comfortable with me and also affirm the source of my advice because you may think it is coming from maliciousness, or envy.
People sometimes criticize you because they cannot resonate with you or they are envious or resentful of you. But if I appeal to you by first complimenting the beautiful things about you and then say advise you, you will listen to me because you see that I care for you.
I am not just pointing out your flaws to cut you down but to help your growth. I use photos to appeal to and attract them. I use the beauty that God gave to me to attract the youths and then I convey the message of hope to them. I appeal to them to effect a change in their lives.
Why are you in Nigeria now?
I have come to Nigeria to empower the women and the youths. I am interested in women empowerment because to heal the world you have to heal the women. A woman is the state of the universe. She is the womb that carries the children. She replenishes the world.
She holds the position of authority, thus it is her responsibility to carry out duties in life and to heal the world. She has to heal the children and the men. The man cannot heal the world because he is not imbued with the type of compassion that the woman possesses.
In order to heal, you need to be compassionate, to be sensitive towards mankind; to understand that you need to love to heal and not to kill to heal. Men are taught to war, to conquer. Women are taught differently. Even carrying a child for nine months teaches you compassion and patience, virtues you need to heal the world.
Men do not have it. They are in a hurry to conquer and when you hasten to war, you lose the war because you have not allowed yourself to think deeply on the situation.
If you want to fix a problem, you need to gain clarity, to understand every dimension to the problem. Women have more patience and sensitivity to peer through the depths of a situation. Unlike the man who sees with the eyes and hears with the ears and goes to war, the woman feels, sees and hears with her heart.
A woman is the life force of humanity, so if you want to heal humanity, you need the strength of a woman and her strength is her compassion, tolerance, patience and understanding.
Children are the future. You can talk about the past, you can try to live the present but the future is mystery so the only way you can prepare for the future is to prepare the people that are marching towards that future. The future is the youths.
In order to have a beautiful, wonderful world, you need to heal the youths, to instill in them confidence, strength, wisdom and knowledge. All the virtues they need to explore, build and create. If they don’t have these things, we have a broken world just as we have now.
There is an outcry for healing all over the world, not just in Nigeria. Everyone is in pain. So many people are emotionally stifled and mentally enslaved, they need to be unshackled and you cannot do that without the strength of a woman.
The problem is that women have not understood that. We have not been taught our role and that is why we have not taken our rightful place in life. The reason for omnipotent male dominance and imbalance between men and women is because women have not taken their rightful place and men are yet to have the balance in their spirit. What is that? Their feminine side. A man must realizabe his feminine which is sensitivity.
People may say: ‘Oh, he’s just a woman, look at him, he is so soft.’ No! That is the balance he needs. You must have feminine and masculine side. Men without the feminine side have no balance, they are very destructive. For a man to realize his feminine side, he needs a woman.
A woman has to be compassionate, loving, selfless in the love she gives, compassionate, tolerant, and patient, that will subdue the man’s ego because the ego is the destructive element of the man.
Some think if you start treating a man so selflessly, instead of him to appreciate you, he thinks you are weak, stupid, insecure and desperate. Suddenly, you are reduced to nothing just for being selfless towards him. That is bad but that is because of society, they have been taught wrongly and it has become part of their belief system.
My ultimate goal in life is to be a voice for the broken children across the world, to build burn centers, to heal… that is my fulfillment, which is my purpose in life. You must know what your purpose is. I am here in Nigeria to effect a change in Nigerian youths and women.
I am here to project the change that has happened inside of me into the world, to all the broken children, the struggling youths and women and I hope that they can also go and do the same thing.
Xpressions : Fitness After-the-baby Q&A
It is an intriguing time, when the babies begin to arrive, particularly for the woman who suddenly finds that she is a rapidly changing individual. Her body is changing as well as her emotions, yet with the permanent demands of a howling infant, there is no time at all to address the issues at hand. Result? One day, she has become this erratic, flabby bellied individual and it appears too late to do anything about it.
After-the-baby mental and physical health is dependent on taking a grip as soon as possible.
Q: Is there any chance that with exercise a woman can slim down and tighten the abs?
A: The tummy area can shrink back dramatically without plastic surgery.
Just how much and how quickly depends on several factors. Diet and exercise are key, she notes. With a doctor’s permission, most women can begin working out within a few weeks of delivery (those who have had C-sections generally are advised to wait longer)
Q: Should breast feeding women diet?
A: while breast-feeding women should not diet, and actually need a few hundred extra calories to make milk — all women can focus on eating a reduced-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
Q: How can I find time?
A: You don’t have to set out any special time for exercise. Rather, make it part of a new, exciting lifestyle. Of course, exercising may be low on the priority list for many busy, sleep-deprived new moms, but pushing a stroller around the neighborhood for 30 minutes to an hour a day can go a long way toward melting away the fat. Other ideas include walking with your baby in a front carrier.
Do exercise videos or use home exercise equipment while the baby sleeps. Have your partner or a friend or relative take care of the tot while you hit the gym.
Q: What kind of Workouts do I need?
A: In addition to cardiovascular activity to burn off the baby fat, you’ll also need to do crunches to tighten those very stretched abdominal muscles. Start with one set of 10 repetitions and work up to three sets of 20, a few times a week.
To really work the sides of your tummy, try the bicycle crunch, in which you lift your left elbow to your right knee and then switch to the opposite. Aim for the same number of reps and sets as with the standard crunch.
Q:Do I have a deadline?
A: No, but the sooner the better. Addressing the weight gain within the first months after delivery pays off. Research has shown that women who do not shed their pregnancy weight within six months are likely to still be carrying it around 10 or 15 years later.
Q: Can I regain my original shape 100%?
A: If you’re eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular activity, you can get your body back, but it may not be exactly the same as before you carried that bundle of joy. It may not return to 100 per cent, but to 90 to 95 per cent. One of the most common, enduring complaints is excess, saggy skin. Women who’ve had C-sections may see this skin hang over the scar.