INTERVIEW: Tanzanian Born Actor, OAP and Comedian, Idris Sultan talks Life After Winning Big Brother, Shoe Brand, ASFAs, New Film and more…
Remember Idris Sultan? The Tanzanian comedian, actor and radio host who won the $300,000 Big Brother Hotshots cash prize in 2014. After the huge success of conquering millions of hearts and winning the Big Brother Africa, Idris did not stop there. He started comedy through digital platforms and grew a big following leading him to start on the journey of STAND UP COMEDY and with the help of other comedians they were able to be the 1st comedians to sell out shows in Tanzania.
Idris is very inﬂuential with over 2.6 million followings across his social media platforms. Idris doesn’t have one specific role model, choosing instead to take the best from every successful person he meets. That said, his Mom has influenced his life most. He’s most proud of the respect he’s earned by showcasing his skill and creativity.
Check out my exclusive interview with Idris below:
Hey Idris! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi guys I’m Idris, I am a genius but I can’t prove it so give me time.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
I wake up 5am I get ready and by 6am am at the gym until 8:30, 10am am at Choice FM for my radio show from 10 – 1pm. Having lunch at my house 2pm and am off to a meeting or I’m on my computer creating a new or adding to some crazy cool idea of a show or business I want to pursue, 9pm I’m watching a movie or series and by midnight am on bed.
What came to your mind once you where announced winner of Big Brother Hotshots in 2014?
Honestly first thing I thought was going back to OR TAMBO this time being addressed not as “HEY YOUUU”.
Why did you decide to take part in Big Brother Hotshots?
It has always been a dream since I was 17 I even slept and had nightmares of being thrown out of the house or getting a female ninja pregnant (I don’t know how).
So how as life been after winning the competition and how did you spend your $300,000 cash prize?
I have never been so grateful in my life. It as been super amazing. am learning so much and have been rated as one of the most loved actor and comedian in East Africa. I have made a few mistakes in the past 3 years and they have made me who I am (An ass lol). I started a few companies some performed well and some failed and here I am about to launch a massive shoe brand, it has been great I swear.
You hosted the 2016 Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards (ASFAs), what was the experience like?
First time hosting a big awards show beginning to end and I must say it felt amazing thanks to Vimbai by my side because I might have fainted or sweated like a footballer. By the time I was on stage I was surprised the way I was cheered each time bigger than the previous. Its either they loved me or someone said “Here he comes guys clap clap or he ll cry”.
Just immediately after winning Big Brother in 2014, you went in big time into stand-up comedy. What made you make the move?
I have a plan of being in Hollywood soon and stand-up has been one of the branches I love to explore. My show has finally been the most sold out comedy show in Tanzania.
You were one of those nominated to host the 2016 MTV MAMAs awards, tell me more about that?
I was shocked that by the nomination I won the part to host the MTV awards but wasn’t surprised that I didn’t host because of the fact that my roots might have not been that well solidified in South Africa and also no massive experience there yet so no hard feelings but hopefully this year they have seen me after hosting the Abryanz awards. I presented two awards at the MTV awards and that was it.
Do you think the we as Africans are doing alot to mentor our youths?
I think we don’t mentor our youths but instead push them into what we think is right for them without considering other factors like personal strengths, extra talent and passion.
How’s the business climate in East Africa and does it help Start-ups like yours grow?
The tech business isn’t big, but there is lack of motivation for startups. A few that make it can’t afford to climb up with the many unemployed ones.
Given your passion for the entrepreneurial works, what will you say keeps you motivated/inspired to stay dedicated to what you love?
When I wake up and am still not in Hollywood my mind works harder than the previous day.
You are a young entrepreneurial minded guy. How do you balance your personal and professional life?
Be alive but don’t forget living, it sounds simple but I don’t know how tomorrow will be for me so I will make sure I have set a balance of love, family and work. All these 3 make one complete or just an empty soul if you push some aside.
How often do you go to the gym and how many hours do you spend while you there?
Monday – Saturday, 2hrs each day.
What are your 5 Dos and Don’t when it comes to being a stand-up comedian?
1. Do relevant & trending stuff
2. Communicate with the audience if you’re feeling comfortable,
3. Be energetic
4. Move on fast if it didn’t work
5. Have actions to your words.
1. Don’t hold on to non working material
2. Don’t pick a fight with someone on the audience if you arent sure of your punchlines
3. Don’t go up unprepared
4. Don’t tell a WhatsApp joke.
What would you say is the main misconception the public have about Big Brother contestants?
Big Brother is just like normal life everyone has but this one has cameras that’s all. Everyone gets to live their life the way they desire and no one forces them otherwise. If someone is a loud person then that’s who they are everywhere. I disagree o the concept that people get influenced in the house no no no but the pressure to impress gets them to forget who they are and hence trying too hard. If I was Mr Loverman in the house then that is Idris everywhere (just an example lol)
What aspect surprised you the most once you started your own business?
It is very tough to grow if you aren’t consistent regardless of the fact that you want to accommodate trends to speed up growth.
Which brands, clients, agencies, artists, have you worked with?
Ciroc, METL, Coca Cola, TECNO, Halotel, Jack Daniels, Golden Tulip, MOET, Hennessy and so many local and international brands thankfully.
What has been one of the most memorable jobs to work on?
That would be MTV MAMAs (The hustle was too deep)
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
So many I would love to set roots in Nigeria, South Africa, East Africa and my climax Hollywood.
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
I read a lot and am a workaholic so you barely see me partying even after I have accomplished something.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
Figuring out what my passion really was. (This might be taken in lightly but hey see the world full confused people studying medicine to be interior decorators).
What has been your biggest challenge?
Whenever I had to go on stage it felt all new like I was doing something for the 1st time. The thrill though always amazing after am done.
You are very influential on social media with a total of over 2 million followings. Do you think its important to be online and if so why?
Social media is the fastest growing means of communication in the world, as a celebrity its important to constantly interact with your fans for you to keep up and grow with them even when you aren’t at your working platform. It isn’t quite important to be online all the time because you get lazy and stop working or even be less innovative. Set a social media timetable just like you set your eating timetable. Put the freaking phone down and do physical interactions.
You are currently based in Tanzania and working with the biggest media house there (Clouds fm & TV). How is that working out for you?
I think it has made me super great at what I do, amazing people, more lessons each day, its a place of opportunity so you need to be open eyed 24/7 at this place. Its the most cunning place so you get to be a monster once you survive here.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
Lagos, Table Mountains (South Africa), Pyramids (Egypt), Morocco, Swaziland (When the king is marrying), Cape Town, Victoria falls.
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
3. Does it define you?
4. Location (where you’re going)
5. Your happiness
How would you describe your style?
Classy and clean
What style genre appeals to you the most?
Gentleman style more of a prepster and hipster hybrid.
Name your 6 must have accessories/essentials?
1. A watch
5. Necklace (depending on the outfit)
What are your favorite fashion trends?
I would say scarves, high top shoes & slim-fits.
What is your favorite dish?
What songs are currently on your playlist?
Shape of you, IF, Mad Over You, Crispy Bacon, Come Closer, I am an Albatroaz, I don’t wana live Forever, 24k Magic, Love me in the Dark.
Apart from comedy, hosting, mentoring, what other projects are you currently working on?
Just premiered 1st movie and it had topped the charts in theatres. Amazing fans waited for this one long I must say.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
I wont give the stereotype crap of anything is possible naaaaa but I will tell you one thing for sure “Mark your thing and pushhhhh until it works out, geniuses are made and not born, do all but remember one thing, BE YOU ALL THE WAY”.
Any specific plans for the future?
Oscars & Grammys baby.
Any final words?
No am not dying am too stubborn.
Where can we follow you online and on social media?
Tinder: Wait until am close to your area