Nigerian Contortionist - Unique Flex

February 29, 2024 Jacqueline Hanzl & Unique Flex Season 2 Episode 2
Nigerian Contortionist - Unique Flex
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Nigerian Contortionist - Unique Flex
Feb 29, 2024 Season 2 Episode 2
Jacqueline Hanzl & Unique Flex

Eguono Matthew, AKA Unique Flex, is a self-taught Nigerian contortionist, visual artist, & dance instructor. Jackie and Unique Flex discuss the TV series Beyond Belief, Fact or Fiction, and recap the second episode of the first season. They explore the themes and stories presented in the episode, including The Viewing, The Subway, Kid in the Closet, Justice is Served, and The Tractor. Unique Flex shares his journey into contortion and his passion for dance. They also discuss Unique Flex's education, performances, and future plans. 

Find Unique Flex on Instagram:

MADE with JACKIE HANZL is an interview series featuring entrepreneurs, small business owners, artists, musicians, etc. who are MADE. MADE as in self-made, made their own way, made their passion into a living. They’ve stayed true to themselves and followed their hearts. Each interview begins with a recap of an episode of their favorite series. We discuss why they chose that particular show,  how they relate to the characters, and how it inspires them.

Hosted & produced by Jackie Hanzl


Music written & produced by Jeff Kadlic

Show Notes Transcript

Eguono Matthew, AKA Unique Flex, is a self-taught Nigerian contortionist, visual artist, & dance instructor. Jackie and Unique Flex discuss the TV series Beyond Belief, Fact or Fiction, and recap the second episode of the first season. They explore the themes and stories presented in the episode, including The Viewing, The Subway, Kid in the Closet, Justice is Served, and The Tractor. Unique Flex shares his journey into contortion and his passion for dance. They also discuss Unique Flex's education, performances, and future plans. 

Find Unique Flex on Instagram:

MADE with JACKIE HANZL is an interview series featuring entrepreneurs, small business owners, artists, musicians, etc. who are MADE. MADE as in self-made, made their own way, made their passion into a living. They’ve stayed true to themselves and followed their hearts. Each interview begins with a recap of an episode of their favorite series. We discuss why they chose that particular show,  how they relate to the characters, and how it inspires them.

Hosted & produced by Jackie Hanzl


Music written & produced by Jeff Kadlic

Jacqueline Hanzl (00:03.054)

Jacqueline Hanzl (00:12.952)
Hello everyone and welcome to Made with Jackie Hanzel. Here with me today is Iguano Matthew, AKA Uniflex, right? Yeah. And we are talking about the series Beyond Belief, Fact or Fiction, season one, the second episode, which has five stories in it, which include the viewing, the subway, kid in the closet,

Justice is Served and The Tractor. And I just wanted to introduce Iguano. He is a virtual artist, dance instructor, and self -taught contortionist who lives in Wari Delta State, Nigeria, which is so cool. Thank you, Ma. And we'll get into that after we talk about this show. Okay, so this show, Beyond Belief,

You know, it's funny when I looked up the show and you called it something different. I know it definitely has Beyond Belief in the name, but it seems like it might be called something different in different parts of the world. But when I looked it up, it said Beyond Belief, colon, factor fiction. I vaguely, there's something vaguely familiar about it. This series, at least this season was hosted by James Brolin, who if people don't know, he is married to Barbara Streisand. And...

He's an actor. I mean, he won Golden Globes, I believe. His son is Josh Brolin. And this, so this series, it's an American television, they call it Anthology Series, created by Lynne Lehman, presented by Dick Clark Productions and produced and aired by the Fox Network from 1997 to, just a fun fact, starting in 2021, apparently, a fifth season was produced for the German market where new episodes are released each Halloween. Yeah.

So each episode features stories, all of which appear to defy logic and some of which are allegedly based on actual events. The viewer is offered the challenge of determining which are true and which are false. At the end of the show, it is revealed to the viewer whether the tales were true or works of fiction. And then I did see, so that's from Wikipedia. And I did see somewhere it said, oh, yeah, I think.

Jacqueline Hanzl (02:32.11)
Yeah, that was it, allegedly based on actual events. I don't know, yeah. But it was definitely fun. In 1997, I can tell you that, so this season, the first season ran from, it's kind of an interesting time that they ran a season of a show, because usually it's not in the summer, but they ran it at least in the United States from May 25th, 1997, to August 17th, 1997. And in 1997, I was trying to remember, I was like, where was I?

I was living in New York City. Wow. Technically in Brooklyn. I have a feeling you were definitely not born yet. We are not born when you weren't born yet. We're in 19. Okay. Yeah. I'm an old lady. All right. So the episode recap. Um, it, so this episode gives us, I don't know if every episode did this, but it gave us three facts.

out of the five. So two of them, right? I think weren't true. Three of them were. Yeah. So the first story that they presented as fact, which we didn't find out till the end, is called The Viewing. And in this story, a teenager whose family runs a funeral home is left alone for the evening. His parents and his little brother, who's really annoying, go out to the movies, I think, and he stays and...

There is they didn't put this in in this recap, but I so I want to add it so basically before the family the parents leave the dad gets a phone call from the widow of the person who had passed away whose funeral is the next day and she said I really can you postpone it, you know, he has to have these medals and he's He's just you know describes the man that he was very stubborn and that he'll get what he wants no matter what and all this and you know the the

they're trying to leave and the husband's, whatever, the owner, the guy is just like, don't worry, they'll show up, you know, blah, blah, blah. So then the kid who's alone, the teenager gets a knock on the door and it reveals a surprise guest who wishes to see and pay his respects to that man and says he has the medals also, the war medals. So the teen,

Jacqueline Hanzl (04:57.398)
relents and lets him go into this chapel where the body is. And then the man ends up disappearing. Like he gives him time and everything, but then he never sees him come back out. And upon investigation, he comes upon a terrifying discovery. The man who he had let in is the man in the casket, basically, implying that it was his ghost or spirit or whatever had spoken to the team. So supposedly that is a factual story.

That was a fact. The second fact story. Do you believe it? That was a fact. I believe I do. You do? Okay, sure. You know what? Why not? Weird stuff happens. Yeah. The second story, the second fact story, this is actually goes in order. The second story is called The Subway. Subway. In this segment, a young couple finally gets a night out and takes...

the city subway system to go downtown. Like they're gonna go, I think they're gonna go out, they're gonna go dancing, dinner, something like that. And while in the subway train car, which was eerily empty, despite it being a weekend evening, they notice only one other passenger, a man in a suit. I mean, he's in like a tuxedo, I think. And he gives them the creeps and when spoken to, he simply answers, this train goes nowhere.

And then he disappears, like he appears and disappears, right? And then the train suddenly speeds up, tossing the couple all around. When it finally stops, they hurry home only to find that their neighbor has accidentally left the gas on and is now unconscious and in need of help in her apartment. So basically they get out when the train finally stops, they get out and it's the stop where they started. So they didn't really go anywhere. Yeah.

And then they get into their building, their apartment building, and they smell the gas. And that's when they knock on the door, they find her unconscious. The wife turns off the gas, the husband wakes up the woman. After getting in and getting her help, they notice a picture in her home, showing her, showing the neighbor with her husband on her wedding day. And her husband was identical to the man they saw on the train. Supposedly this was fact. I will tell you,

Jacqueline Hanzl (07:20.558)
That story, I was gonna say this at the end, but that story actually bothered me the most, I think because, not that I was scared about the ghost, it was the whole feeling on the train and nobody there and the creepiness of it. That kinda creeped me out the most. Yes. I don't know. They were like, they were feeling lucky when they, when they were lucky. What did you say? I said they were feeling lucky when they came out from the tree. Like, the thing was,

already freaking them out already. So they were lucky they were able to escape, knowing that the trio were taking them back to where they started from. You understand? Yes, right. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And that, I think, bothered me so much because when I used to live in New York City and I would take the subway, and it definitely would be creepy when there weren't people around and just the whole underground feeling so trapped, like that whole...

That whole feeling, that's what bothered me. That story bothered, got to me the most where I was like, oh my God, just get off the train. Like it was. So the third fact story in this episode is titled Kid in the Closet. So apparently it says this segment, at least according to people online has terrified more than a few kids when it was aired back in the late 90s, back in 97. In this story, an elementary school boy is the target of bullies. One of them being his older brother.

This is due to him having admitted to having a fear of a monster in his closet. One day while tormenting his brother, the older brother and his friends come into the house and drag the younger boy up to his room. The older brother shuts himself into the closet to basically like say like, oh, there's no monster and he shuts himself in there. And then he starts like screaming and, and, and they think, you know, the friends think he's joking around and he's just trying to scare the little brother. But soon all of them.

Now, again, I didn't write this part, but soon all of them are gripped with fear when the door is open to reveal the older brother to be gone, leaving only his clothes behind. It says, this story while exaggerated seems to be based in part on a real event. According to a user on Reddit, the incident happened in Florida. Wow. But nothing supernatural was at play. Instead, the boy was able. Oh.

Jacqueline Hanzl (09:47.598)
Oh, this is terrible. Instead, the boy was able to escape the closet via a panel in the ceiling. He was found a few days later hiding out at a friend's house. Oh my gosh. He would have been in so much trouble if that was my kid. I would have been so mad at him. I have to tell you, I have a thing even still as an adult. When I go to bed at night, I have to have my closet door closed.

Not that I think something's gonna come out. I don't know. But when I would tell my dad, you have to close the closet door. And he would like joke around with me and pretend there was a monster in there. But also I noticed the closet, first of all, was so big. It was such a huge closet with like a lot of space. It was kind of funny. And then also when they were like running, chasing him down the street, I mean, I just, I don't know. I feel like.

I don't know if that necessarily would have well, maybe back then it would have been people would have just been like, oh, whatever. But I don't know. I just that was a lot like all this huge group of children, especially in like the suburbs, like this huge group of children chasing this kid down. It was terrible. Anyway. OK. The next story. And this one was not true. This was fiction. It's called Justice is Served. And this this actual recap came from fandom dot com. The other ones came from, I think, Wikipedia.

or no Tumblr, sorry, tumblr .com. So justice is served. Robert, I don't know how to his name, Elgin Miller is on trial for the murder of his friend and business partner Elizabeth Warren. After Elizabeth told him that she was leaving him in order to start her own company, Robert went out boating with her and bludgeoned her with a bottle of champagne, I guess, right? Before throwing her overboard.

Robert then went back to the yacht club and told its head custodian, Mr. O 'Neill, that Elizabeth had accidentally fallen overboard and drowned despite his best efforts to save her. The district attorney has Mr. O 'Neill and a coroner named Dr. Harding take the stand and after they are questioned, Robert is called to the stand by his own lawyer, Mr. Montgomery. During the questioning, Robert begins suffering from taunting visions of Elizabeth. Robert loses all composure and ends up incriminating himself while screaming at the elus -

Jacqueline Hanzl (12:05.032)
illusory Elizabeth meaning he was supposedly hallucinating seeing her right the jury finds Robert not guilty by reason of insanity and the judge hands down a sentence of indefinite incarceration at a psychiatric hospital in North Point as Robert is escorted from the courtroom still gibbering

At the Phantom Elizabeth, Mr. Montgomery laments that his track record of none of his clients being found guilty is still technically flawless. Yeah, because he was not guilty by insanity. OK. I liked that one. It was OK. It wasn't my favorite, but OK. The last one called the Tractor. Buck Randall was once a kind and generous man, but after suffering a stroke that left him paraplegic, he became bitter and withdrawn.

That's very accurate. That definitely can happen from a stroke. Buck is no longer able to properly maintain his farm, which has fallen into debt with a bank foreclosure looming. Buck's granddaughter, Julia, visits him despite Buck making it clear that he does not want her around. Buck insults and belittles Julia, leading to frequent arguments between the two of them, especially after Julia makes it clear that the true purpose of her visit is to help broker the sale of some of Buck's property through a real estate agent named Russ Johnson.

Even though the sale is a good deal that will get him out of debt and allow him to keep his home, Buck still acts abrasive towards Julia. While Julia is trying to move a tractor, she falls off of it with the fall knocking her out. Buck witnesses this. Yeah, he's in the kitchen, right? I think in a wheelchair, like he can't walk. And as the tractor starts slowly rolling backwards towards the unconscious Julia, Buck summons up the strength to walk again and save Julia. I thought this one was true.

Yeah, I thought that one was true. That does seem more realistic. Like you have heard of people getting strengths all of a sudden to save someone. So that was a surprise. OK. What was the subway one did creep you out? Which one was you think the scariest to you? What was the scariest for you of the stories? OK, I think the.

Jacqueline Hanzl (14:21.612)
The viewing was the scariest to me. The viewing? Oh, because of the... The viewing. Yes. Yes. Ah! Because of the whole funeral home thing? Yes. If I was the one, I wouldn't sleep in the house city. But that was very, very creepy. No. Me neither. Yeah, I agree. Which so... Was that your favorite one of the five? What was your favorite?

I think Detracto is my favorite. You understand? Detracto. You know what? Me too. I was going to say... Detracto is my favorite. Yeah, me too. Yeah, that's my favorite. It was good. Because it was really realistic, actually. Like, you definitely hear about things like that happening. It was heartbreak... you know, it was heartbreaking. Okay. Why did you choose this series? How did you even hear of this series since it's so old? Okay. All right.

I was just going through YouTube looking for feature movies like a series movie to watch. Then I came across this Beyond Relief. Beyond Relief, alright. Then I was like, this video quality is very low, but I just know it was like an old episode movie. So I watched season one.

But I prefer the season two more than the season one. That was why I choose this episode. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. OK. Do you you must when you did a search on YouTube for movies and stuff, did you do it looking for like supernatural? Like scary. Were you looking for that? Do you like that type of? Do you like that type of shows and movies? Yeah, I love those.

kinds of shows. But I never thought the Beyond Belief would be like that. I never thought it would be like that. It was very entertaining and very fun to watch. Right. Yeah. I watched it with my son who's eight. He loves scary stuff. Like I, you know, I don't let him watch like really scary, but he he's always loved scary stuff. Even when he was really young, like two, three years old, he'd want to watch.

Jacqueline Hanzl (16:46.798)
Goosebumps. I don't know if you know that. Oh, yeah. Not the movie like the old one. I know and I'm like, oh, I probably shouldn't be doing this. I mean, they were the ones from the 90s. They were, you know, but yeah, he likes it. You know, there's some people that really like scary stuff and they don't get scared too easily. So that's him, I guess. Oh, I wanted to. So I have I have some, well, nothing too exciting. But basically the the.

the man who plays Buck Randall in The Tractor, The Grandfather. His name is Max Gale Jr. and I knew I recognized him. He was in his most, I think, famous role was on television as Detective Stan Wojo. Not that I remembered his name, but he was in a show called Barney Miller, which was very old. It aired from 1975 to 1982. And...

Yeah, he was a detective in that. So I did recognize him. Yeah, so I just wanted to throw that in there. I think he was the only person I recognized. The kid in the viewing, the teenager, he sort of looked familiar, but I don't know if it's just because he kind of looks like other people too. He kind of has that face. He looks kind of like some other actors maybe, I don't know. Okay, let's get into you. I just...

Just from the little I've seen of you doing your contortions and your movements, I mean, I'm just amazed. Thank you. How did you first get into that? Okay. I don't really know anything about contortion then. Like, you know ballet. You know ballet. Like I would do watch videos like that. Ballet. Yeah. So I was thinking,

Contortion was Bali. Okay. Because yeah, I don't have any idea of what I was doing. I was thinking contortion was Bali. So it was like, when I started contortion, I noticed that I was more like flexible and more different from the Bali stuff. So I was like, okay, I'm not sure this is Bali again. So I went online then, uh, Google, went to Google. Then I found out it was contortion.

Jacqueline Hanzl (19:13.198)
Yeah, being more extremely flexible, that's contortion. So that was how I started contortion back in 2018. So basically you just have a natural, I mean, you have to have the natural ability. I don't think somebody could be like, I really want to be contortionist. I'm trying to do it if they don't have the flexibility. Wow. So you just started basically,

moving different positions and then you realize, wow, I can go like this far with my. Yeah. Like with my body. Wow. So, so you're a student. You had told me we had spoken before. You are a student. What is the equivalent? Are you in? Is it high school? Like, would it be the equivalent to high school here or would it be college, university? What exactly level are you at? Like I'm done with my second year. Second year school. Yeah.

Okay, you're done. Okay. And do you compete? I know you pre you perform, you had told me where do you perform? I guess your dance, you call it dance or you call it contortion or it's dance and contortion. Okay. Like I

I love adding dance to my contortion to make it unique. Yeah. So you can call it dance. You can call it contortion. Yeah. So I started performing like the first day I performed was my school. Yeah. My school from there, I went to my church to perform. Then from my church, I was getting invitations to travel to different states in Nigeria to perform.

That was it. So I've been doing it for like four years now. Up to four years now. And you have a group that you dance with? You dance individually or you dance in a group or both? Yeah, I later formed a group. The group name is, you know, Unique Flex. The group name is Unique Troupe, which is like an apocalyptic group.

Jacqueline Hanzl (21:41.23)
And everybody in the group are my siblings. Yeah. Everyone in the group are my siblings. How many siblings do you have? We have five. So you have five other siblings? I have four. No, sorry. I have six siblings, but four are dancing with me. Yeah. Okay. So we'll make it five in the group. Okay. So how many sisters do you have? Three. Three.

Three sisters, then... Okay, wait. And two brothers or three brothers? Because now I'm... I can't do math. Three brothers plus me, four. Yeah, four brothers. Where four boys, then three girls. Okay. And then three sisters. Okay. Four boys and three girls. Okay. Where do you fall in the order? When were you born? Which... are you in there? Like... Third, third. Third born.

Third. Amazing. And who, so in your dance group or troop, I'm not sure if you call it that. You said, sorry, there's four other siblings with you in the group, in the dance. And is that all that, so two sisters, two brothers, how's that made up? All right. Three boys, three brothers, then one of my sisters. So we only have one girl in the group. Yeah, just one girl in the group.

The rest are voice. Okay. Yeah. Well, uh, let's see. Now you had told me, Oh, so how often do you guys perform? Do you, or do you perform more certain times of the year? Or is it kind of steady? Like once a month? It depends. It depends. But we, um, um, when we have, um, mostly happy pants is during the X mass period.

that is November and December period. That's when we have a lot of invitations. Oh, wow. So I was looking up stuff about Nigeria because I really don't know a lot. OK. And I know Waru is a city. So do you live in an apartment? Like what type of home do you live in? I live in an apartment, a bungalow, a three bedroom flat.

Jacqueline Hanzl (24:09.966)
Yeah, that's how I live in Worry. A flat. Okay, so can I ask what do you and you live with both your parents? Yeah. And all your siblings? Yeah, we live together. Yeah. What do your parents do for work? My mom is a teacher and my dad is an offshore worker. Your mom's a teacher? Yeah. My dad is an offshore worker. Offshore.

Okay. Okay. Um.

You had told me too, we spoke before this a couple of months ago, like what would you like to be for work, I guess for when you're done with school? What are your plans? My plans, I have two plans. Okay, first of all, I want to be an agriculturalist because I love animals. I often see your dogs, you post your dogs a lot.

And I like very animatic, like chicken, goat. I do face that. I just had one. Yeah. So I love animatic. And I also love dancing. So I think I'll go with theater, art, theater, art and agriculture. I'm going to blend two things together. So that's my plan. Cool. I love that. Are you, I mean, this might be a stupid question, but are you a vegetarian? I'm just curious.

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,

Jacqueline Hanzl (26:11.022)
I know that it's pretty warm there. Yeah. Pretty much all year long. Yeah. Pretty warm, right? Pretty warm, yeah. And there's a dry season and a rainy season. Yeah. And you have basically either a dry season or a rainy season. Dry. Yeah. I think dry. And now you're in the dry. Okay. When did that start? I think... What month? December.

How warm is it today? How warm did it get there today? I'm curious. I think it's a little bit warm, not so hot. Just average. Just average. Not so hot. Okay. And does it cool off at night more? Or does it stay warm at night? It cools off at night by 12 a .m. from 12 a .m. Let's go.

5 a .m. in the morning, I think. To have these curious questions. Okay. What else do you do? Do you do anything else like for fun? Because obviously you like to dance and do the contortion. Is there anything else or any sports you play or anything else that you do for fun, like hobbies? Okay, I love training. I'm a visual artist. I love training a lot. Yeah.

I can draw and... That's awesome. Just draw, just draw. Yeah. Finish. What do you like to draw? Anything. Yeah. Just like anything that just comes to my mind, I'll just draw it out. Anything? Yeah. Okay. Oh, cool. Okay. Just pencil? Yeah. Pencil. And pencil on paper? Yeah. Yeah. I think I'm more better with pencil. But I can also use...

viral pain to draw with ink. Ink pain. Yeah. Cool. You should post some of your drawings on Instagram. Uh huh. No? Okay. I just have a couple, you know, fun questions I like to ask people. Is there anything like you have to have with you when you leave your home?

Jacqueline Hanzl (28:36.078)
It could be a piece of jewelry. It could be like a little good luck charm or so. I don't know. Is there anything you need to have with you when you when you leave your house other than like your phone? OK, and important things like that. I have these things. It is very much this. Yeah, I love wearing this when I'm going out. Just like my good luck shirt. Yeah. OK, what was the significance with with those?

It's a wristband from my church. So if you're like a member of my church, you need to get one of these. So that's what bond us together. Okay. Yeah. Okay. Cool. And then what is something that you could not live without? And it can be really silly, you know, superficial or something very important. I don't know. Okay. My phone. My phone. Yeah.

My phone, always with my phone. Your phone? Yeah. And maybe dance. I don't know. Could you live without dance? No, no, I can't live without dance. I'll just, the two, both fun and dance. Two of them together. Yeah. All right.

I think that's it for my question. I'm sure I'm gonna come up with all these other questions after we get off. So people can find you. I'll link your Instagram account. Like to the description of this. And I'm just so happy you reached out to me. I'm just, I'm very flattered you did. And I'm so happy we could make this happen because - I'm privileged.

Oh, because there was some problems. We had delays. Yeah. Yeah. So I'm so happy that this could happen. Yeah. I'm glad. Yes, me too. All right. All right. Well, thanks, everyone. Thank you. And thanks, everyone, for watching. All right. Thank you, everyone. Bye.