Erica Ngozi Ugomma Nlewedim is an actress, model, beauty queen and TV reality show star but call her Star Girl and you won’t be mistaken. Although her brand has grown to encompass premium ambassadorial deals, Chiemelie Ezeobi writes that during her sojourn to the Big Brother Naija Lockdown edition, she bagged herself an irreplaceable treasure- her fans, known as The Elites
Wind! Fire! Water! Earth are the four elements that best define Erica Ngozi Ugomma Nlewedim. Like the wind, she soars; like the fire she blazes through life despite hurdles; like water she is fluid and like earth, her core is grit. Welcome to the world of the Star Girl as she was dubbed by her fans- The Elites, otherwise known as the Elite League.
Life Before Big Brother
Even before Big Brother, Erica was already on to great things. According to information on IMDB, “Born to Oby Nwokolo and Eric Nlewedim Christian in Lagos, Erica Nlewedim is a Nigerian actress, model and entrepreneur.
“She had her secondary school education at Victory Grammar School, Lagos and was later moved to Command Secondary School, Ikeja. Erica’s quest for knowledge took her to Covenant University where she graduated with a degree in Business Administration.
“Erica discovered her modeling talent at a young age. In 2013, she became the brand ambassador for Natures Gentle Touch; a personal style brand that uses natural ingredients to solve hair and scalp challenges.
“In 2014, she participated in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MGBN) pageant where she quickly became a fan favourite which earned her the MBGN Miss Photogenic award. The competition made her gain massive recognition which saw her work with high profile brands. She also featured in a Peak Milk TV advert alongside Nigerian pop Artiste, Falz.
“Over her modelling years, Nlewedim has worked with brands including Glo, Jumia, and MyZotoApp. from 2015-2017, Nlewedim was the brand face for Zaron Cosmetics, Access Bank and Maltina.”
Also according to IMDB, “Erica’s acting career kicked off in 2015 with a lead role in Secrets and Scandals. She also featured in the TV Series, Royal Castle for three seasons. In that same year, she starred in the movie Poka Messiah.
“In 2016, she featured in a thriller; Once Upon A Night, where she played a supporting character. Erica has also featured in TV series and movies like My Flatmates and The Paternity Deal, Being Farouk, Dead Rites, Fractured, Win or Lose, Made in heaven and a host of others. She also played a supporting role in the blockbuster movie, Hire A Woman.
“In a bid to further her acting career, Erica studied Acting for Film at the Met Film School, London, in 2019.” At the end of the training, she produced her own short film ‘Mercy Mercy’.
Given her philanthropic nature, IMDB further revealed that Erica founded the Erica Nlewedim Foundation in 2018; a non-governmental organisation geared towards catering to underprivileged children. The foundation embarks on periodical visits to orphanage homes with the donation babies’ supplies and other consumables. In December 2019, the foundation launched its Hunger Heroes Campaign which successfully fed 1000 less privileged individuals on the streets of Lagos.
Journey to BBNaija
Like other housemates, Erica joined the 2020 set of Big Brother Naija Lockdown edition. There she lived up to her truth, showing her vulnerability, emotions and attachments. Although it garnered her more enemies than friends, she proved to be a strong contender for the throne.
Disqualified but a Star Regardless
On September 6, 2020, her journey in the BBNaija house was abruptly cut short after she got into a messy fight with one of the housemates. Contrary to public opinion that she would fade to obscurity after such an unceremonious exit, a certain factor proved that wrong- The Elites.
Unexplainable Love of an Elite Family
If there was one thing that kept her going apart from the love from her family and friends, it was the strong support of her fan base-The Elites, a fact she has acknowledged countless times.
Lending credence that they were not just there for the good times, her fans proved a strong backbone from the hate. From classy meet and greets to showering her with gifts like flowers, money bouquets, designers items, and even dogs, they also trend her each day regionally and even globally.
Channeling their anger from the disqualification, the Elites started off a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe. The organisers targeted $100,000 but they raked in a whopping $71, 887 and closed the account, having met over 75 per cent of their initial goal.
Elite League Clothiers
When she was still in the BBNaija house, her then management produced the customised Elite League clothings made up of Sweatshirt, crop top, hoodie, joggers, beanie, Tee-shirts, varsity jackets, face mask and it was sold out within five hours. Although they are yet to restock, many elites have already queued up to show their purchasing power.
After staying off social media to recuperate, Erica’s first move was to be signed up to be managed by renowned Upfront and Personal Management Company owned by Paul Okoye.
Soon after she announced her ambassadorial deal with luxury hair, Kukushair. She afterwards bagged premium dual deals as the face and ambassador of Legend Extra Stout and Star Radler of the Nigerian Breweries Company. She also got signed to Deshapeables, a weight loss company.
As part of the torrents of love continuously showered on her, one of her fans, who is also an upcoming artist with stage name ‘Eyecan’ just released a new song titled ‘Are you fine like Erica’. The feel-good song has become popular among Elite fans, especially after Erica posted a video of herself vibing to it.
Erica: Queen of Hearts Novella
Also dedicated to her was a novella by an avid fan, Mira Harlson titled Erica: Queen of Hearts. According to the author, “this book is dedicated to Erica Nlewedim, an award winning Nigerian actress and ex reality TV star. Purely a work of fiction, however, some aspects are real, based on her life inside and out of the show Big Brother Nigeria. Erica is currently one of the biggest names in Africa, and this book celebrates her growth, and achievements.”
Composed by Happy Tenebe, the Elite Anthem chronicles Erica’s journey, pains and triumphs, as well as the love and staunch support of her fans.
Elite Career Database
Aside the day-to-day cruising on social media with trends, the Elite fan base has proven to be career and goal oriented. They recently set up a ‘Career Database’.
According to the figureheads (@Pricey_Mona, originator; @Ms_Dhemie, blog host; and @Fehintola, editing), “the Elite Career Database is a professional hub aimed at promoting the careers and businesses of Elites all around the globe, helping us network with colleagues in our fields and encouraging us to do business with one another.”
Elite League Magazine
Championed by Muslimah Idris, Kudirat Ijeoma Ibeabuchi, Kagiso Malgas, Poelano Gasehete, Lucy Nonso and Sandra Egwenum, the elites also executed another first- they successfully launched the Elite Magazine.
According to Idris, the magazine, which was launched on November 10, 2020, was created to make Erica and the Elites League known to the world.
Elite Station Head Radio
Not one to do things in half measures, the fan base also recently set up an Elite Station Head Radio, a virtual radio base, where fans can express themselves.
Although vendors are invited to advertise their business and skills, the objective of the radio is to “expand our coast.. #eliteleague is more than a fanbase, it’s a community.. come with your positivity as we connect”.
Summarily, without subtracting her sheer determination and grit to succeed, if one counts the genuine love of her fandom or Elite League like they love to be called, Nlewedim’s light is not about to dim anytime soon. Although she did not win the BBNaija Lockdown season, she did win one of the greatest blessings ever- a family like no other- The Elites.