Roadies 19’s evicted contestant Nejm speaks about her journey in the show and what went wrong that led to her exit
If at all there was a competition for ‘Gen-Z Woman Of Steel’, Nejm aka Deborah Samantha Johnson could easily qualify to be one of the finalists. This young lady, who exudes confidence in every word of hers is a definite testimony to ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’. Despite of Hindi language acting as a barrier at times, this girl still made her way into the adventure reality show and how! Nejm may not have won the show, but she has definitely won many hearts!
Nejm was in an exclusive conversation with OTTplay, wherein she spoke about her journey on the show and what went wrong that led to her exit. Over to you Nejm…
First things first. Nejm... is it true that you had worked as an IELTS tutor?
Yes, besides that, I have worked as a soft skills trainer and English language tutor.
In a nutshell, who is Nejm all about?
‘Nejm’ means real in Tamil. My catchphrase is ‘Keep it ‘nejm’, which means to keep it real. The persona that I carry is to keep it real and be true to myself and true to oneself. I talk about actual things that one has witnessed and also which I've witnessed personally. This is more related to a struggle and pain and starting from scratch than being privileged or blessed in such a way that you didn't have to work hard in your life. I've always had to hustle to even gain like a glass of water. So that's what I talk about on my Instagram.
Is there any other dimension to your name ‘Nejm’?
Oh yes! My name Nejm also means what I also want to represent. Nejm is a being who you are physically the way you look, especially when it comes to being dark skinned. Or being a little plus sized and curvy. Stuff like these are not usually very appreciated in society when it’s about a woman. But I focus on empowering women with scars and stretch marks and stuff like that.
You had performed in Bigg Boss 4’s finale. Any chances/ plans of going inside Bigg Boss as a participant?
Oh, yes. I would love to, if given a chance. I would love to be part of the show.
How many tattoos do you have in all and which is your most favourite tattoo?
I have three tattoos in total. I think my favourite tattoo would be my dad’s signature, which is on my left arm. That’s because my dad is very close to my heart.
Your lyrics always have an undercurrent of struggles. Are these the struggles from your personal life?
Yes. The main reason why I even started rapping is to vent because there were so many events in my life that I really couldn't talk about to people because it involves a lot of dark incidents that were happening. So, I felt the need that the only way I was able to like let it out was when I started writing. And then naturally because I listened to a lot of hip hop, I started writing with rhythm. So, I started right rhyming each sentence which, in the flow, just became rap. But all time, whatever when it comes to my music, it is mainly because of things I've been through. It's literally just whatever I've been through in life.
What prompted you to get into Roadies?
Honestly, down south we are not really exposed to a lot of national television shows, especially when it's in Hindi. Down south, it's very different, at least where I'm from. So, Roadies is not something that I've really been exposed to growing up. But, when I used to live in Delhi, we used to watch these interviews of Raghu sir, Rajeev sir and Ranvijay sir. Seeing the show then, I always felt that I am strong enough to handle any situation, or I would love to be put to the test. That explains my entry in Roadies.
Looking back, there were two memorable incidents which took place during your audition. First, Gautam Gulati got up from his seat and started dancing to your rap song and secondly, Sonu Sood spoke to you in Tamil. How did it feel?
That felt amazing. I was really enjoying it. And it felt very natural when he started singing my song with me. Honestly, I forgot I was at the audition. I just felt like I was in any other performances where I was just having fun. As for Sonu sir talking to me in Tamil… it was very unexpected to be honest. I was very nervous when I walked in. And the moment Sonu Sood sir spoke in Tamil, I just felt so normal and free again. I felt that I could kill this interview because I heard my familiar language.
After the audition, did you expect to be selected?
I actually wasn't expecting to be selected. But the fact remained that I did want to go on this journey. But I am somebody who will not have my expectations too high and live rationally. I was honestly just over the moon to even be on that stage. I was very grateful that I even got that far to represent and to even make sure that interview the way it came out to come out like that. So, when I got selected, I actually cried because I really wasn't expecting that.
Is this your first tryst on Roadies?
Yes. First time for any reality show.
What, do you think, are the requisites that is needed of anyone to be a winner on the show?
Based on what I observed to be a winner on the show, you have to be an all-rounder. And, when I mean by all-rounder, you also have to be a social person to make your connections with everybody on the show. You have to be true to yourself and also you have to be a little witty and smart. You need to be that somebody who plays by his head and not by the person's heart. Besides being physically strong, the person should have qualities like agility, endurance, resistance and strength.
What was the best and the worst part about Roadies?
The best part of being on Roadies is that I got to go camping as I have never ever done camping before and I also got to stay in camps. I think the worst experience for me was when I felt weak when I wasn't chosen for one task because there was a limit of the numbers that were supposed to be chosen.
You had all the potential to be the winner. Then, why do you think that you lost out mid-way?
Firstly, I do not really tell anybody what I do and what my strength is. Everybody just assumed I was a model. But then when it came to the first task, which was completely dependent on strength, it played to my benefit, because I was able to pull the rug like it was nothing and help my team win. After that, many came to me and said that they weren't expecting that I'm a powerlifter. I also feel that my language barrier also restricted me from making a lot of genuine connections as I am not very fluent in Hindi.
When your name got announced as the evicted one, what was the feeling that was running in your mind?
I just felt it was very, very unfair that I wasn't given a chance to prove because I know I'm very, very strong physically. But I feel like I just wasn't given a fair chance. I was just voted out way before.
Who, in your opinion, are the strong contenders for this season’s ultimate trophy?
Rajveer, Vasu and Garry. Amongst these three, I feel that Rajveer has all the potential to be the ultimate winner.
Do you think that being politically correct is the name of the game and also a secret formula to ensure win?
From my experience, I feel that being straightforward and being true to yourself hasn't really gotten me that far in the game. So, I feel you have to play a little bit of politics and also think with your brains, but, play with other people's brains to stay in a game like this. In the end, it's a game, you can't be true to yourself or go the way you want to go. I feel, in that way, one should be smarter. And I feel like when you play politics, you are smarter and eventually, you know how to deal with situations.
Will you go back to Roadies if you were to be called as a wild card entry?
Hundred per cent. I have so much to prove.
How was Sonu Sood as a host?
Wonderful! He is such an encouraging wonderful, man. I'm so honoured to actually share a screen with him. He's somebody whom everyone respects because of the fact that he has always been helping the society. He is very calm and collected. For a show like Roadies, I feel he is the perfect host.
Who was your favourite gang leader and why?
Rhea (Chakraborty) mam.
What next after Roadies?
My journey doesn’t end here. This is just the start.