THE CIRCLE: INTERVIEW WITH JOEY (MEET THE PLAYERS)
The Circle welcomes two new players tonight at 10pm on Channel 4.
Interview: Channel 4 Press
PLAYING AS: a Nigerian immigrant version of himself called Femi
What is your MOTIVATION FOR ENTERING THE CIRCLE? What is it about the game that made you want to apply? I thought it would just be a good kind of thing for me to be able to touch on the fact that there are a lot of immigrants in the UK that move away from different countries seeking a better life to support family back home. I thought that would be a good thing to highlight. And I kind of love the show anyway. I've watched the last two seasons. I thought it’d be fun.
Have you watched the show before and did that give you any tips on how to play the game? I think everybody's very different. Everybody perceives information in very different ways. It didn't really give me an indication of how to play, or how not to play the game. I think it just kind of gave me the sense you have to go with the flow and judge situations and judge conversations.
What is your STRATEGY to win show? Are there any specific tactics that you think will help you win? Even though there's a part of the story that's different to who I am, I'm still going to have the same attitude. I’m still going to be the fun, easy-going, talkative individual that I am. The person who likes to build relationships, who likes to give and offer advice to people as well. I think my main strategy is building relationships along the way.
Are you worried about how the other players might react when you reveal that you are not the person you are saying you are? Not necessarily, but just because it is by nature part of the game. I don't necessarily know who I'm talking to either. I'm going into this with a mindset that I could talk to somebody for a certain amount of time and that person may not turn out to be who they appear to be. I may be a little disheartened, but it's part of the game. The game is the game at the end of the day.
How much research have you done to create this persona? My whole life has been the research. I've got people all around me in my family that have been in this situation. My dad lives in Nigeria and I go to Nigeria every year. I feel I know the story very, very well. I know the character very, very well.
Why did you decide to play a different version of yourself and not a totally different character? I think the story resonates with me in the sense that my parents were immigrants. I feel like I'm connected to the story more than I would be as a catfish. I have so many people around me who have gone through this experience. I still wanted the real me to shine though. I want the other players to see me. I want them to see the way I talk, see the way I reason about things and see the way I play about things. I think that will be key to how I strategize around the game.
What do you want viewers at home to think of you or learn from you? I think most importantly there's more that connects us than separates us as individuals and as humans. I think everybody is in search of a better life for themselves and their families. I want the other players to get that too. They're not seeing me physically. They'll just believe they're talking to Femi, who is from Nigeria, but I hope they’ll still find that there's still a lot about this person that they can connect to. I want them not to think “This person is from another country so they might not understand this”. We're still humans. We're still all one. I think it's the diversity and the differences in all of us that make us who we are and make the world what it is.
How do you feel about being on TV? I think more than anything, nervous but an excited kind of nervous if that makes sense.
How much do you use social media in the real world? I use social media quite a lot like Instagram and Twitter.
Which platforms do you use? I would say definitely Instagram the most.
In real life how does your online social media self differ to who you really are in person? It doesn't really. I'm still me on social media with my pictures. I like to always be smiling in my pictures because that's how I am in real life. I talk to people when I go on Instagram Lives, so people are able to kind of see my quirkiness there, which is how I am in real life. I wouldn't say there is a massive difference. I'm just a little bit more censored on social media, than I am with my friends in real life.
Would you say you’re an outgoing person on social media or more introverted? I would say it's changed over time. I think when I first started using social media, I was very introverted. I wouldn't post a lot; I wouldn't share a lot. But then I see social media as a community, and a community that I can control. So I choose who I follow, I choose who follows me, I choose who I converse with and who I relate with. I am very extroverted in life. I am still myself on social media, but intentionally myself. All the things I share are things that I'm comfortable to share.
Who do you admire on social media? To be honest, nobody. The reason why I say that is that many people don't see it the way I see it, as a community. For a lot of people it is a façade. They put up a lot of stuff and they seem happy, when in real life, they're not. Or they appear to have all these glamorous things, when in real life, they don't even have it. I do take it all with a pinch of salt when I follow people, unless it's people I know in real life and I know what they’re about.
Who do you think uses it well? Joe Wicks, the Body Coach. I love his social media. He shares his updates. It's a very family feel. It's interesting. It's impressive. There’s also Bianca Miller, who was on The Apprentice. Again, it's almost like having that community that you're able to get advice from. You're able to grow from the posts that they share, you're able to learn things. I like to come away learning something from that person's page. I can see the progress and the results of what they're sharing, which makes me feel comfortable in taking their advice.
Have you ever been catfished? Or caught a catfish? I was talking to someone on Bumble for a couple of weeks. We were just talking, talking, talking. She had three or four pictures. Then as time went on, I asked to move the conversation over to WhatsApp. And then we got to talking about Instagram, but then she was really hesitant to give me her Instagram. Then she eventually gave it to me, and I was looking through her pictures and it was a completely different person! I messaged her and I was trying to tread a bit carefully around the fact that obviously her photos were very different from Bumble. At the same time, I didn't want to come across as inconsiderate as she might have been insecure about it. So in the end, I just stopped talking to her.
Do you think you'll be able to spot any catfish on the show? People say I have a good sense of judgement and I'm very intuitive. I don’t think I will spot catfish by pictures alone, because I think pictures can say anything really. People look at my pictures sometimes and think they're professionally taken when they're not, it’s just my phone. I think it's just more about the conversations I have with people and the consistencies of the conversation. That for me is kind of like how I would catch somebody out. Asking questions and then re-asking a question maybe a couple of days later in the middle of a conversation as if I had forgotten.
Are you good at spotting people being dishonest? 100%. And there are a lot of people that I won't talk to, that I won't go for a drink with, that I won't do business with purely based on how I feel. It's purely that vibe – if the vibe is off, something is wrong. I may not be able to tell you what is wrong, but something is wrong. And it may take days, it may take weeks, it may take months. I’m almost like everybody's mum who spots a bad friend before that person does. I'm very, very intuitive in that sense.
Are your intuitions often proved right? It's happened so many times. It's happened in the workplace; it’s happened with real friends. It's happened in so many different scenarios where the person then is later proven to be fake and that I was right to feel off about them.
You’re an entrepreneur by trade – how do you think that might help in the game?
It might sound cliché, but I've always kind of been an entrepreneur my whole life. At school I started a business selling sweets, drinks and chocolate. And I worked in recruitment for a good number of years so I know when I'm talking to people I'm building relationships. I think my ethos is very much around when selling, people don't necessarily buy products they buy into people first. For me, that's kind of what I see selling as. People first and foremost buy into people instead of products. What I need to do is make people buy into me, buy into the character that I'm playing first and foremost. So it's about building that connection, making a good impression.
Do you think what you say on The Circle matters or will you say anything if it would help you win? It very much depends on the person. My first instinct before knowing and building any relationships is yes, I'll say whatever I need to say to win the game. Because it is what it is – a game. But then I think it depends on the relationship that I build. For some people, there may be some things that I may draw the line on purely because that person has built a relationship and trust. And even though I don't know if the person may be a catfish themselves, everybody has feelings. If I build a really strong connection with somebody, I think for me, that's enough to have that person on my side. If I feel like I don't have a strong connection with somebody, I will say whatever I need to say. I watched Tenet one of the guys says: "Save the world, we'll balance the books later". For me, that's kind of my ethos going into this. Just do what you need to do, and later on we'll solve any issues.
Do you ever use social media to flirt or look for love? I think I'm somebody who likes to build connections first. I think in all of my relationships that would mean that we start off as friends.
Will you be open to people flirting with you on the show? I will be open to people flirting with me. I'll be open to flirting with others, but I think purely again, for the sake of the game. I'm not going on The Circle to look for love. I take it with a pinch of salt because I think I'd be pissed off if I did that to myself and I found out the person wasn't who they said they were.
Do you want to win? How far will you go to win? I'll do whatever it takes to win the game. I’ll do whatever it takes within my moral compass. But I’m always gonna keep it 100.
What would you do with the prize money? I've always wanted to build something for kids in Nigeria, who are displaced and underprivileged. And also, just support family and friends and progress my business that I'm working on.
Any surprising facts or hidden talents that we should know about you? I played the violin while I was in primary school.