A Nigerian heiress, whose father is said to be one of the world’s wealthiest men, has set her sights on becoming the next Rihanna.
Ambimbola ‘Bim’ Fernandez, the daughter of gemstone entrepreneur and former UN ambassador Antonio Deinde Fernandez, has celebrated the release of her first single by sitting down for an interview with the New York Post.
The 24-year-old, who is based in New York, told the paper that she has embarked on her career without the help of her dad, who is reportedly worth a staggering $8.7 billion.
She did, however, admit that he gives her a hefty monthly allowance which pays for her luxury Manhattan apartment among other living expenses.
Speaking to the paper in her New York City home, which is flanked by original artworks by Picasso and Dr Seuss, Ms Fernandez explained: ‘I think that, unfortunately, everyone’s perception of socialites has been pretty accurate so far, which is what I want to change.’
Miss Fernandez’s first single ‘Let’s Take It Naked’ was released today on SMH Records’ site, with an iTunes roll-out expected soon.
She cites Rihanna as one of her biggest musical inspirations.
‘Money can’t buy a record deal,’ she said of her situation. ‘It can’t buy good music. You can either sing or you can’t.’
A song about nakedness is perhaps a little more explicit than what one would expect from a well-heeled socialite, but Miss Fernandez says that ‘it’s not even that racy of a song!
‘It’s very poppy, like, “I think you’re cute! Do you like me? So let’s get naked!” I want it to be that song where it’s like, “Turn that song on! Let’s get ready! Let’s do shots!”’
In November, she signed her record deal with SMH and is now topping off negotiations for her reality TV pilot called Gold Blooded to be picked up by a major network.
Her only prior professional music experience was a vocal cameo in Cobra Starship’s 2009 album Hot Mess – a feature she booked after meeting the band’s lead singer Gabe Saporta backstage at a show.
Her record label says that Miss Fernandez has not put any of her own money into the music project.
In fact, Miss Fernandez appears to be more down to earth than one would expect.
She told the New York Post that she grew up not knowing how rich she was.
She attended college at Oxford Brookes University in England for just a few weeks before dropping out because ‘everyone was way too snobby – I couldn’t do it,’ she said.
Some even say that he owns up to six private jets and will not eat in a restaurant unless the establishment is completely cleared out so that he can dine alone.
Miss Fernandez’s starkly different outlook on publicity and self-promotion has worried her father.
‘He’s terrified because I’m his baby – especially with [me] revealing [my] wealth. And me being alone in the country, he’s terrified of someone kidnapping me and holding me for ransom,’ she said.
‘He also just doesn’t want people taking advantage of me because I have been sheltered my whole life.’
Last year, Miss Fernandez finally decided to see-out her life-long dream of a singing career after her mother, Aduke, died of colon cancer.
Her illness followed a bitter divorce with Mr Fernandez, which became headline-making news for its very public division of assets, including their many mansions,.
During the 2004 divorce, it came to light how Mr Fernandez and Aduke had never been legally married in their 20-year relationship, which was previously unknown to her.
Mr Fernandez had not divorced his prior wife until 1990, meaning he was still married during their Nigerian wedding ceremony (and therefore it was non-legally-biding).
Despite Mr Fernandez’s extreme wealth, reports say that he fought tooth-and-nail to protect his assets in his divorce from Aduke – even asking her to pay him back millions of dollars for the renovations made to their shared residences.
At the time, an anonymous source told the Sunday Times: ‘Aduke believes she spent 20 years married to a man that has become her enemy and that what she is going through now is an attempt to prevent her existing without him.
‘He has been presented as an honorable person who can do no wrong, while Aduke is just the greedy wife. But the property in New York is owned jointly and the château is in her name.’
Despite her legal battles, the Aduke tried to protect her children during her divorce.
Abimbola appears to maintain a close relationship with her father, and tweeted about spending Christmas with him in Belgium.
She sees her album’s release as an opportunity to prove her own potential.
‘People think I’m exactly like Paris Hilton, that I do nothing, I don’t work for myself, I don’t take my own money, I just spend my dad’s money, and I’m a spoiled brat. I hope they’re not right.’