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The EbonyLife and Times of Mo Abudu…

Ever wondered what it’s like to run a multi-million dollar network? The sacrifices one has to make? The hours and energy that gets sucked up in order to succeed?

Think no further, here to tell us what it’s essentially like is the woman herself, Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife TV who is also the talk show host for “Moments with Mo”, a TV producer, media personality as well as an entrepreneur (just to name a few). Mo Abudu received an honorary award of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) by the Babcock University Administration of Nigeria earlier in the year and also recently turned 50.

Q. We’d like to congratulate you on the award you received recently which is assumedly a major accolade in your life, what does this award mean to you?

A. Thank you very much. I was and still am very touched by the gesture; it truly is an honour for me to have received the award. It means that I am doing something right, not just as an African but as an African woman inclusive. It makes me proud of who I am and where I come from. So many men and women are deserving of this award and I am grateful to Babcock University for finding me worthy.

Q. On receiving your award you made a very touching speech that shared your feelings on education, women’s rights, and dreaming big. What do you think it will take to make a “better Africa?”

A. It will take individuals who have the same goals and visions for Africa who are not scared to go where no one has been before. Africa has so much potential and if people only put things into action instead of just dreaming, we’d be half way there. I have always said, and will continue to say that Africa is the brand of opportunity, but right now we are far behind from where we should currently be. We need bold, aggressive go-getters who aren’t afraid of set-backs. We also need a society and government who care for human life, at the end of the day it all starts with us.

Q. You are very passionate about empowering women and bettering the image of Africa, what else drives you?

A. I am driven to be a better person as a whole. God has instilled so much potential inside of all of us, and it is up to us as to how much we are willing to discover and unleash. I refuse to leave this Earth not having discovered everything or not having given everything I was meant to give.

Q. You’re a mother of two, a talk show host, a TV producer, media personality, HR management consultant, as well as an entrepreneur. How has this affected your family life? Can the hand that rocks the cradle, rock the boardroom?

A. (Laughs) I’ve been asked this question numerous times. I am first and foremost a mother. My kids have and will always come first and this is something they have always known. I thank God everyday for having children who are tolerant of a workaholic mother.

Q. In your speech you also mentioned that it requires a solid team to materialise a dream…EbonyLife TV is a huge endeavour…what was involved in realising the dream and who was instrumental along the way?

A. I would say that the dream was birthed when in 2006, after a successful career working as a HR executive at ExxonMobil for close to a decade, I decided I wanted to have my own Talk Show. I had no TV or media experience whatsoever, but it was the adventurous soul in me that kept me going. It was also a dream that had been deeply rooted, waiting to come out of confinement because media has always been my passion. Who was instrumental? Absolutely everyone, friends, family and associates who stood by me and supported me, those who I would call at 12 am because I had just had an epiphany, absolutely every one.

Q. As a business woman and media mogul, what’s the secret of your success?

A. My secret to success is the grace of God, there is no other way to put it. I have always put Him first and the bible says “seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else shall be added unto you”. Everything I have and everything I am, I owe it to God.

Q. Reflecting on your life, what has been your personal career highlight?

A. I couldn’t possibly pinpoint one in particular, each career choice brought out different qualities that God has bequeathed me, which has made me the woman I am today.

Q. What sacrifices have you made to get to where you are?

A. Sleep is definitely one. Someone like me who doesn’t stop till they reach their desired goal will definitely suffer from sleep deprivation at numerous occasions. Another is relationships, I’ve had to be willing to step on a few toes and get on the wrong side of people. People will always have their own ideas about certain things and if they are not in line with your own vision, you have to politely let them go.

Q. What have been some of your failures and what did you learn from them?

A. I don’t see anything as having failed; I like to call them lessons. Anything that I have embarked on that has not ultimately evolved into anything substantial has taught me what not to do in some way or another. Practice they say makes perfect, I’m not afraid of setbacks as it only means God is getting me ready to be catapulted into greater things.

Q. You recently turned 50, what does reaching this great milestone mean to you? How did you celebrate?

A. I am so grateful to God for how far He has brought me, I’m excited about where He is still taking me and I thank Him for life itself. Reaching 50 was not by my might but by the grace of God. I celebrated this blessed milestone by the way of a party with close friends, family and associates. I also took the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional contributions of unsung professionals by presenting them with awards. It was my way of saying, “I’m right behind you, we’re in this together”.

Q. Let’s get to know Doctor Mo Abudu, the lady. If you could talk to one person in history, who would it be and why?

A.  I’m going to be cheeky and say two. Globally, it would definitely be Maya Angelou. She has been an inspiration to many and though she is no longer with us, her legacy will undoubtedly live on. Historical African figure I would have to say Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti for the fact that she was feisty and wasn’t afraid to act. We’d have a lot to talk about [laughs]

Q. What is your favourite book?

A. (After the Bible) To Kill a Mockingbird.

Q. What is your favourite time of year?

A. I’d say summer because that’s when I go away with my children and have some quality family time.

Q. Spontaneous soul or meticulous planner?

A. Meticulous planner

Q. Ultimate vacation experience?

A. Anywhere I can get some rest, relaxation and regroup.

Q. Any guilty pleasures?

A. Every woman loves a bit of chocolate every now and then.

Q. What do you spend your “me” time doing?

A. I spend time with family, especially my children and friends; I love watching nice, romantic movies or thrillers. I love reading too

Q. Life in Nigeria is….(please complete sentence)

A. Dynamic

Q. My life would be so much better if….(please complete sentence)

A. Nothing. I am grateful for all that I am and all that I have.

Q. As time goes by I realise….(please complete sentence)

A. If you can think it, you can do it!

Q. My vision for Africa is…(please complete sentence)

A. To be at the forefront for business opportunities and to be known for positive change.

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Doctor Mo Abudu. We have enjoyed chatting with you. We’re sure someone reading this will be inspired and put some things into action.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference.

 

The EbonyLife and Times of… Iretiola Doyle

With a lot of experience under her belt, writer, actress, producer and presenter Iretiola Doyle graced EbonyLife TV with an exclusive interview. Read on to find out things that you did not know about one of Nigeria’s favourite actresses!

Q. What was life like growing up?

A. Normal, nothing out of the ordinary. I got into the regular mischief and scrapes that regular kids got into and was born to parents who did their best to give me a strong foundation.

Q. Where do you get your inspiration to write from?

A. I’ve always been great at communicating, and I always seemed to have a lot to say… I found that by writing my thoughts down I could better articulate them… Then again I was inspired very early on by people like the avid social commentator and columnist Doyin Lipstick (she wrote for the Vanguard) and the late (sigh) Amaka Igwe.

Q. With regards to acting, how do you prepare so that you’ll bring the right amount of emotion to a scene?

A. Well a lot of research goes into it. Every character has a back story whether or not it is clearly stated or portrayed in the dramatic piece. I have several meetings with the producer director to get a clear picture of who the character is, what she’s been through, her social class and level of education etc. all of that determines her nuances, characteristics and reactions to any given scenario. Then, often times infuse elements of some real life people in the characters I play.

Q. What is your favourite acting role that you’ve ever played and why?

A. I used to think it was SHEILA ADE-WILLIAMS in TINSEL, and to a large extent I still consider her (going by work done thus far) my ‘swan song’. But my favourite character right now is JADESOLA RICHARDS- she’s a classy bitch!

Q. What area would you like to improve on as an actress?

A. I’d like to be better period. My prayer is that each performance is better than the last.

Q. What area would you like to improve on as an individual?

A. I’d like to be more patient and be able to be more generous with my time and resources.

Q. What do you know now that you wish you knew before you became an actress?

A. That I am a formidable person and the power resides with me.

Q. What sacrifices have you made to get to where you are today?

A. I’m sure there were more than a few but I can’t remember any of them now because whatever they were at the time, seeing how far I’ve come, they were well worth it.

Q. If you could talk to one person in history, who would it be and what would you ask them?

A. Maya Angelou…. I’d ask her everything and anything.

Q. You’re a writer, actress, producer and presenter…which one is your baby or has your heart?

A. Acting captures my fascination and feeds my need for adventure, writing, which is a very intimate process for me has my heart.

Q. What advice would you give someone trying to break into the entertainment industry?

A. First get an education. It will give you a completely different world view and will affect for the better, your manner of approach to the “show” and more importantly to the business.

Quick fired Life and Times Q and A’s

If there was more time in the day I would…(please complete sentence)

Spend all of it at the spa!

I would like my life to be remembered with…(please complete sentence)

…as one that had purpose. 

Name something you’ve never done but would love to do it in this life-time?

Win an Oscar.

Finish this quote, “Life is like…” 

…a really good book. Savor it, taking in all the details…slowly…page by page.

What is your take on this statement…”Breaking into the industry is all about timing, being at the right place at the right time”?

All I’ll add to that is that while you’re waiting for “your time”, be diligent at whatever task is placed before you today- no matter how menial.

… is the key to life?

Joy in the simple things is the key of life.

If I could turn back time I would… (please complete sentence)

I would have been a more focused and better behaved teenager.

What’s next for you? Any projects in the pipeline?

I’ve just finished a successful run of the hit play HEAR WORD, and I will be playing major roles in two other TV series that will break later in the year. Plus I am in the process of reviving my fashion show titled Oge.

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Iretiola Doyle. We wish you the best for all future endeavours.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference

 

The EbonyLife and Times of Toolz

Don’t let it go to your head, Tolulope Oniru definitely doesn’t! Are you wondering how you would balance being part of an affluent family whilst remaining humble? How does she do it? Indulge in this exclusive interview with Toolz, who features on EbonyLife TV’s The Spot in June and July; she is also an OAP and currently presents on The Beat 99.9fm. EbonyLife TV got down to business, reality, fun and entertainment with the glamorous star.

Q. Your full name is Tolulope Oniru but you’re known as Toolz, for those who don’t know how Toolz came about, could you please shed some light?

A. It’s a nickname that my  cousin and his friend gave to me. We felt that ‘Tolu’ wasn’t cool enough.

Q. Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?

A. I went to  boarding school in Bournemouth then finished primary school and started secondary school in Lagos before returning to the UK

Q. In terms of identity, how do you cope with Nigerian nationals having a different view of you because you’ve lived abroad and have an accent?

A. I think it’s a bit narrow minded to judge me solely on my accent. 

Q. What does it mean to be Nigerian?

A. Being Nigerian for me means being part of a country rich in talent and culture. 

Q. I have heard of presenting happening “by accident” for some presenters, how did radio presenting happen for you?

A. By accident! A friend told me about the Beat before I moved back to Lagos. I went for a voice test just for fun, but I ended up getting the job!

Q. You’re currently presenting a chat show on EbonyLife TV alongside Ebuka and Lamide called The Spot, how easy was it for you all to get along? Give us the inside scoop!

A. It was honestly a lot of fun. I would often forget the cameras were there, and would forget to censor myself lol.

Q. Which do you prefer, radio presenting or television presenting and why?

A. I’m still learning how to be better at both, but I’m more comfortable with radio presenting.

Q. What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve had to fix on your signature radio programme on Beat Fm “Toolz Can Fix It”?

A. Perhaps someone asking me to break up with their partner for them.

Q. What has been your most life changing or light-bulb moment?

A. When I realised I could create my own path within this industry.

Q. What gets you out of bed in the morning, what motivates you?

A. The need to be successful.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting a career in presenting?

A. Do your research!  Find out how successful people got to where they are now.

Q. What’s your most desired characteristic in a person? What’s your least desired characteristic in a person?

A. A great sense of humour.

A. An overinflated ego.

Quick fired Life and Times Q and A’s

Q. Life in Lagos is….

A. Mental! But there’s never a dull moment.

Q. Most interesting time of my life was…

Moving back to Nigeria.

Q. My motto in life is…

A. Never give up. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Q. Quality time for me is…

Relaxing,  reading,  spending time with my family.

Q. What scares the life out of you?

A. Mentally, not being successful.

A. I can’t stand cockroaches and spiders too.

Q. Where would you like to be this time next year?

A. Next year I would love to see my brand get global recognition.

Q. What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done in your life?

A. Get a piercing, I was young and a bit stupid, but it’s gone now.

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Toolz. We wish you the best for all future endeavours.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where you are always guaranteed a good time! And do remember, life is short and time is swift so make a difference!

 

The EbonyLife and Times of Oreka Godis

She’s a woman of many wonders, an actress, content developer, creative writer, presenter for radio and television she’s none other than our Love Lounge presenter, Oreka Godis. Read on to find out the things you didn’t already know about the down-to-earth OAP.

 Q. Where did you grow up and what was life like for you?

A. My current five-year stretch in Lagos is the longest I’ve ever been in any place at the same time. My dad was in the Nigerian army; I’ve lived with different members of the Godis family over the years and I’d say I grew up with a sort of gypsy spirit – lots of travelling and relocating and sometimes never really staying long enough to get attached to a place. It’s made me curiously self-sufficient.

Q. What do you love most acting or presenting?

A. That’s like comparing apples and oranges. Humans are known to traditionally have five senses, the culmination of which gives the individual a whole experience. For me, all arms of my interests contribute towards my whole experience. I don’t think I could choose one over the other; they all flex such different parts of my body. That would be like asking me if I prefer seeing to being able to taste things.

I believe talent is a muscle that can and should be developed boundlessly. I am a budding writer, I might not sing anymore but I certainly still have that ability somewhere in me. From as far back as primary school, I performed at school events, participating in everything from the debate team to the weekly amateur nights at boarding school where I would write, direct and act in plays.

Hosting TV/Radio/events, painting, writing, producing, directing and acting are all things I’ve been doing for years as a hobby and am now working on executing on a professional level. I, for instance, really love writing. I love how you can create characters out of nothing in the same way I can paint and create a story where there was once just a blank page. I love how presenting on the radio has and hosting on TV is nurturing me. Being lucky enough to have a webseries, TV drama, movie and theatre credits to my repertoire is incredible. These are all just a fraction of what makes me who I am, to choose one over the other is to kill a part of me.

Q. Which actors/actresses do you admire?

A. Oh, there are a number of them – Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Thompson, Thandie Newton, Helena Bonham Carter, and for different reasons, Jessica Alba, Zooey Deschanel and people like Lucy Lui.

Q. You star in Victor Sanchez 5 part series “Dowry”, how was it different to anything you’ve acted in before?

A. Sanchez has such a remarkable mind and to know him, is to experience creation. He has done a lot of off the wall work like #HowSheLeftMyBrother and T.A.B.L.O.I.D. and even though I’ve worked with him on a number of projects in the past, none of that prepared me for his new baby, Dowry.

Dowry is a first of its kind in Nigeria not just because of the fact that it is a mini series but also because of the way the stories are going to unfold.  When Sanchez first spoke with me about Dowry I was really enthralled by the notion that just as American Horror Story and shows like True Detective broke the rule book on how stories can be told to TV audiences in America, Sanchez was going to do the same here with Dowry.

I spend a lot of my time on the phone this season which I guess is different to my time on T.A.B.L.O.I.D but because Sanchez is such a Dr Who fan, I wonder if I won’t be communicating via Tardis next time J

Q. Think back to your very first acting audition, what was it like?

A. It was nerve racking and I can’t say being at auditions or screen tests have gotten any easier either. I much prefer the moment when I have the job and can finally start getting my head around the character’s choices.

Q.What is the most absurd rumour you’ve heard or read about yourself?

A. I can’t think of any.

Q. In your whole presenting career, which is the most sensitive subject you’ve had to address?

A. There have been episodes of Love Lounge that brought me to tears such as the day Coach and Izefua Ehia Williams Irhabor told us about ways children are being molested in Nigeria. Love Lounge also covered the matter of homosexuality a few times on the show and that’s such a delicate topic in Africa – there are a lot of voices that are being forced into silence or whose lives are at risk because of the way (or who) they love and that’s heartbreaking for me but so difficult to adequately tackle in current times.

Q. You present Love Lounge on EbonyLife TV every Monday at 22:00 WAT where you and the experts keep it real whilst discussing love, sex and relationships. What are the satisfactions that come with presenting a show like this?

A. Love Lounge for me has always been about exposing the underbelly of neglect that an alarmingly large portion of our society suffers from.

Through discussing matters of the heart – love, sex and relationships, the viewer/listener feedback we get both on and offline has been incredibly positive and encouraging. Mo Abudu, Lanre Olushola, Sandra Amadio, Adesuwa Osawe, Ayoola Opere and all the other members of the team at EbonyLife TV that make Love Lounge what it is have created an environment where viewers and listeners feel safe, understood, cared for and listened to enough for them to share such intimate details of their troubles with me. ELTV created a vessel in Love Lounge where once there was a vacuum on the air for people who needed professional, adult advice and for me, that’s is great television. Education without shame.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in presenting?

A. Life as a presenter is a twenty-four hour job. It doesn’t start and stop when the microphone is (de)activated. It is important to train yourself; to never want to stop learning; surround yourself with information and the ability to absorb the right information to educate your audience.

I think people that have a natural flair for a creative job have it lucky. As do people who have studied it at university or on any other level but if like me, you feel you have more of an affinity for the creative industry despite your degree being from a totally unrelated sphere, or perhaps you find that despite your obvious, more dominant talents, you would rather investigate your latent creative flair, don’t be discouraged by other people, just work at it. Like I said before, talent is a muscle and the more you flex it and hone it, the better your understanding of each of its moving parts and how to use it. Study the art you want to create, dedicate your time to it professionally and passionately and never lose sight of your objective.

Q. Best and worst feeling in the world?

A. Best: Having the weekend off to vegetate on the sofa, catching up on all my favourite TV shows back to back.  

Worst: Coming back home after a long day at work and traffic to find the one meal I’d been looking forward to eating all day has been consumed by someone else.

Q. Who is your celebrity crush?

A. Theirry Henry, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and if I may add a comic book character, Gambit.

Q. What was your childhood nickname?

A. Forgetful Jones.

Q. If you had the chance to go back in time and change one thing, what would you change?

A. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Q. In one word, sum up your life so far.

A. Esoteric.

Q. All time favourite food?

A. I don’t have one.

Q. What have you not achieved yet that you must do in this life time?

A. Publish a book.

Q. A time I will never forget was when…(please complete sentence)

A. I believe my most unforgettable moment is still ahead.

Q. Life in Lagos is…(please complete sentence)

A. Congested.

Q. Quality time for me is…(please complete sentence)

A. Spending time with friends and family.

Q. What’s next for Oreka Godis?

A. I’m going to be on stage on the 15th June 2014 as the Lady in Yellow in Keke Hammond’s production of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf.

I feature as a supporting actress in Seyi Babatope’s When Love Happens (alongside Weruche Opia, Gideon Okeke and OC Ukeje) as well as Ejiro Onobrakpor’s A Few Good Men (alongside Kate Henshaw, Uru Eke and Joseph Benjamin), both movies are due out in cinemas across Nigeria later this year. I’m due on a feature film set soon with Ashionye Michelle Raccah so, I’d say movies, stage and more presenting (radio & TV) as well as producing content are on the cards for me going forward.

I’d also like to use this medium to encourage everyone to watch Dowry and Love Lounge exclusively on EbonyLife TV. Send your tweets and FB messages in too, we read each one and appreciate the feedback!

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Oreka Godis. We wish you the best for all future endeavours.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference

 

The EbonyLife and Times of Deyemi Okanlawon

The passion, emotion and energy that this actor puts into his performances are what keeps us glued to our screens. Even as we can’t seem to get enough of him, this actor is showing no traces of slowing down. I’m talking about none other than Deyemi Okanlawon. What don’t you know about Deyemi Okanlawon? You’re about to find out as EbonyLife TV got the chance to ask questions that have been on your mind.

Q.What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?

A.So far I would say winning the award for Best Actor in a Short Film at the In-Short Film Festival for Tolu Ajayi’s psychological thriller, Blink (Check it out on my YouTube channel)

Q. Is acting what you always wanted to do, or was it an accidental blessing?

A. I’ve loved listening to, reading and telling stories since as far back as I can remember and from about the age of five I was in every one of my primary school plays. Years later, while I held down a series of very tasking day jobs, I still found ways to express my passion as an actor in a church group, Covenant Christian Centre’s Xtreme Reaction, and had the opportunity to take the Acting for Film course at NYFA in collaboration with Delyork.

Q. What is something you know now that you wish you knew before you started as an actor?

A. I wish I had known how much make up I’d have to use. [Laughs]

Q. Is there a role that got away? A role you really wanted but was not casted for?

A. Funny you ask that because I auditioned for a role in Ebony Life’s Desperate Housewives and I’m still waiting for my call back from Mo Abudu [Smiles]. After my first professional stage production at the British Councils’ Lagos Theatre Festival, I got a call to participate in one of the plays at the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) but the production schedule clashed with prior commitments. Truth is I firmly believe that, as long as I do the work required, roles that are meant for me never pass me by.

Q. What actor/actress Hollywood or Nollywood would you really like to work with but have not yet had the opportunity to?

A. There are so many great actors in Hollywood and Nollywood that I would love to work with. Since I’m relatively new to the scene there are way too many to name. Meryl Streep, Rita Dominic, Kate Henshaw, Omotola Jelade, Natalie Portman, Genevieve Nnaji, Gabrielle Union, Nse Ikpe Etim, Stella Damasus, Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, Richard Mofe Damijo, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, Leonardo Dicaprio, Liam Neeson, Anthony Hopkins, Olu Jacobs, Lupita Nyongo, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and my favourite African actors Hloma Dandala, Yvonne Nelson, Jocelyn Dumas, Majid Michel… (well I did warn you the list was long)

Q. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you on/off set?

A. Dropping my power bike while doing a stunt to impress some chics. The applause at my second attempt nearly made up for it.

Q. What determines your interest in a role?

A. To me every role is an opportunity to gain expertise and experience however I would readily choose to play a character that is in contrast to my “type” – my looks, background and personality, and that has a range of emotions and/or motives in a story that strikes a chord in my heart.

Q. You play the lead male role in Dowry, how similar or different is Deyemi Okanlawon to the character you played? How easy or hard was it getting into character?

A. [Laughs] Contrary to what my naughty colleagues on the set of Dowry claim, I like to think I’m nothing like Demola – he’s quite arrogant and self absorbed. However with Victor Sanchez’s direction I was able to identify elements of the character that I could relate with and so playing the part wasn’t as difficult as I had imagined it would be.

Q. Everyone knows that directors look for certain things in actors when casting, but what do you look for in a director?

A. Leadership. I find that for me the ability to lead cast and crew should, at the least, directly correlate with the director’s passion and strength of vision for telling a story. As an actor I am literarily clay in the hands of my director so having one in whose leadership I can trust is paramount. So far I have been blessed to work with great directors and have met many more recently who have expressed interest in working with me.

Q. What sacrifices have you made to get to where you are?

A. I had built an over 8 year career in sales and marketing and my previous job was as the marketing manager in a multinational e-commerce company. I switched careers in September 2013 to act full time.

For years I had to work gruelling hours in order to hone my skills, sometimes going straight to the office from all-night rehearsals and working weekends usually for absolutely no pay. The reviews received after putting up some of my work on my YouTube Channel made it all worth it.

Q. What is your pet peeve?

A. Time wasting, I have great respect for other people’s time and like to be on time. Nowadays I’ve learnt to carry work along with me so I don’t get stuck doing nothing while waiting for a scheduled appointment.

Q. If there was more time in the day I would… (please complete sentence)

A. Read more.

Q. My motto in life is… (please complete sentence)

A. No excuses!

Q. Favourite time of the year?

A. My birthday (the day I switch off my phones and take a day off from the world).

Q. My life would not be the same without… (please complete sentence)

A. A lifelong friend of mine – Yeshua (Google him. He’s quite famous).

Q. It’s high time I… (please complete sentence)

A. Get a breakout film role and win an Oscar for it [Smiles]

Q. I would like my life to be remembered with… (please complete sentence)

A. Characters and stories as well as film and theatre-related charity projects that inspire the Nigerian youth to reach for the stars.

Q. A time I wish I could relive was when… (please complete sentence)

A. I got down on one knee and proposed to the love of my life.

Q. What’s next? Any professional or personal plans in the horizon?

A. More training in film and theatre acting

Gaining experience in producing, directing

Leverage my ecommerce experience in promoting film and theatre productions

Living happily ever after

Thank you for letting us into the life and times of Deyemi Okanlawon. We wish you the best for all future endeavours.

Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where you are always guaranteed a good time! And do remember, life is short and time is swift so make a difference!

 

EbonyLife TV launches its brand new online interview series.

EbonyLife TV launches its brand new online interview series titled “The EbonyLife and Times of…” where we dig deeper into the life and times of high profile celebrities. We ask them a whole array of questions as we delve into what makes them tick, how they got to where they are and even the trivialities of life like what they currently have in their refrigerator. Are there any questions you’ve been burning to ask your favourite celebrity? Let us know and we’ll be sure to ask them for you. But in the mean time, stay tuned to find out if your favourite celebrity made the cut…and to read what they said!

Click here for more interviews

The EbonyLife and Times of Deyemi Okanlawon

 

The EbonyLife and Times of Leonora Okine.

Ever wondered what it’d be like to be one of the fresh ladies on the block? The camera loves you and the directors can’t get enough of you? Ghanaian actress Leonora Okine has been blessed with all three. Having starred in Waltbanger’s drama thriller series Married to the Game, MTV’s Shuga, Tope Oshin Ogun’s Love and War, we don’t see this actress slowing down any time soon.  Read on and find out how EbonyLife TV got the chance to get close and personal with the aspiring actress.

What is something you know now that you wish you knew before you became an actress?
I wish I had known that I’d want to make a career of acting some day. There are so many things I’d have liked to put in place before beginning… so many.

Which actor or actress would you really like to work with but have not yet had the chance to? (Hollywood/Nollywood/Ghallywood)
Ghallywood- Adjetey Annang is a consummate professional and in my opinion one of the best actors of our time, coincidentally we share the same international manager. AMVCA Award-winning Director – Shirley Frimpong-Manso, who I worked with in a series previously but would love her films; and finally legendary filmmaker Kwaw Ansah of TV Africa.

Hollywood – Viola Davis, Thandie Newton, Angela Basset, Meryl Streep etc​
Nollywood – The list is endless!

You are the lead actress in Waltbanger’s thriller Married to the Game which is aired on EbonyLife TV DStv Channel 165 every Saturday at 19:00 WAT we hear there were some funny anecdotes whilst filming, please share.
Filming Married to the Game was one of the best times of my acting experience and of my life. Hahahaha.  There were quite a number of sketches that a couple of us engineered. My personal favourite was the “video spanking” pranks we pulled and then posted on social media! And I think I should leave it at that. Please let your imagination run wild. Whatever spanking idea your can picture in your head, we did it. We had a regular victim, though. It was so juvenile but those harmless pranks definitely brought us closer together. I miss the crew right now.

What’s the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part is going back home after each project to meet my smiling family. That always makes my heart swell! The worst part is when I realise a lot of the horrible experiences that the characters I play go through, actually do happen to people. It’s disheartening every time.

What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as an actress?
When a woman in a shoe store verbally accused me of being a mean girl. It took me over one whole minute to realise she was referring to Stephanie, the character I played in Desperation. I initially thought she had mistaken me for someone else! That it took me that long to realise she wasn’t talking about me as a person was very embarrassing! She gave me a 40%discount on shoes I bought though so that was good. hahaha

In your own words, what is acting really about?
Acting is about being honest and truthful with the story you tell.

What are the key components of a great actress?
Being respectful to others (when you respect people, there’s a limit to the things you will do/say to and about them); Taking the art and the film industry very seriously; it’s a business (eg: punctuality) and being fully committed to one role at a time.

What do you think separates you from other actresses?
I don’t know other actresses well enough to make a fai​r comparison. Each one of us is very unique, and that’s the best thing that can happen to such a huge industry. I take this business very seriously, however, and that is why I have assembled a management team to take my career to the next level.

Who are your role models internationally and locally?
My mother, My father, Peter Mensah, Angela Basset,Meryl Streep, Denzel Washington,​ Idris Elba, a few politicians, a lot of  Nigerian and Ghanaian authors, all the directors I’ve  worked with, Azuma Nelson and a few others.

I have an endless list actually and this is because these people are all different in personality, in skill set and in business ethics.
I let myself learn from other people’s life lessons and experiences.

Aside from acting, what are some of your other talents?
Business Development, Brand Development,  Marketing Strategy, Mobile Marketing, Project Management (construction) and Boxing.

How do you prepare for a crying scene?
A lot of things have to happen in a scene before tears ​can be expected. Most times, you’re in too much pain for tears to drop or for a sound to come from an outcry. The most important thing is when the audience feels my pain without necessarily seeing tears. So I always just go with the flow, allowing myself to feel.

Being a Ghanaian, how easy or hard was it for you getting into Nollywood and do you prefer it to Ghallywood? (if so, why? If not, why not?)
It wasn’t easy, not for a minute. I came in without knowing anyone! Fortunately, auditions have been fair to me. Thank goodness for auditions! And I’ve met and worked with amazing people so I’m hoping being in Nollywood gets easier with time.
I love and respect both the Ghanaian and Nigerian film industries very much! I work where I’m needed when I’m needed there. It is where each project takes me that matters to me not necessarily a matter of preference.

Who is your celebrity crush?
May I name 3? If I may: Idris Elba, Sir Sidney Poitier​ and Tom Hanks​.

What’s your favourite film of all time and why?
The 2002 Adventure Film ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ set in the early 1800s.
Oooh… goose bumps all over me right now! Phew! I haven’t seen it in years and I wish I could watch it at least twice a week!
This film has everything that frightens and intrigues me about the human mind. Love, hate, betrayal, lies, murder, guilt, absence of guilt, human classification within the same group, how far people are willing to go to get what they want; especially when they know they dont deserve it etc.
And it has an array of different kinds of characters. I enjoyed the politics, too. It’s the perfect film! I have to get the book.

If I came to your house right now and looked in your refrigerator, what would I find?
Bottled water, fruits, eggs, ginger ale, malt drinks, coconut water, wheat bread, jams, milk, cereal(keeps them crispy), bowls of at least 5 kinds of soups, definitely jollof rice, cakes, ice cream, chocolate bars.

If there was more time in the day I would…(please complete sentence)
… I’d speak to my parents more, read as many history and self-help books as possible, meet decision makers on educational reforms and watch all the films I can get.

What has been the biggest transformation in your life so far?
It would be more of an amendment; I feel more humbled every passing day. I’m yet to figure out if it’s because I’m growing as a person or if it’s because of my being an actress. I’d like to think it’s because I’m growing.

As time goes by I realise…(please complete sentence)
As a human bei​ng, you tend to judge yourself by your intentions and judge other people by their actions, so you end up believing that you’re a better person (in deed) than other people. For instance you think you’re more righteous, kinder, wiser etc because you only judge the result of another person’s actions and not what their actions may have been.

What 3 things drive your life?
My faith in God, my family, the assurance that I will be of great help to a lot of people as the years go by.

If I could turn back time I would…(please complete sentence)
… not upset my parents as I did when I was a little child.

What’s next for you? Any projects you’re currently working on?
Quite a few and this is possible because of my management. I’m so lucky!

Thank you for letting us get close and personal with you Leonora Okine, we wish you the very best for all future endeavours and look forward to seeing you more on our screens.
Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference

 

The EbonyLife and Times of EmmaOhMaGod.

Have you ever had your ribs cracked from laughing? It is said that laughter is medicine for the soul and in Nigeria we have quite a few individuals giving us doses. EbonyLife TV got the chance to engage with one of the best around in the industry.

Who are we talking about? None other than the comedian, music producer, artiste and on air personality EmmaOhMaGod! Read on to find out things you’ve always wanted to know and more…

Many know you as an on air personality for Wazobia Fm and a comedian, but we’d like to know about the real you. Tell us about Emmanuel Edunjobi
Emmanuel Edunjobi is a young man from Ogun State, Abeokuta to be precise. He is the last born out of 6. He is a graduate of Covenant University where he studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering. He is a Christian and he attends Daystar church because of the awesomeness of the choir…lol..oya let me stop there.

How and when did radio start for you?
Hmm…That’s quite an interesting story. I did my NYSC in Lagos in 2011 and while I was at camp I won all the competitions I was a part of…like the “NYSC Idols Singing Competition”, “Inter-platoon Comedy Competition” and some other competitions like that sha. When I left camp I was invited for an interview on a program at Rainbow Fm…I practically took over the whole show. Meanwhile someone was listening to the show by which the person was really impressed, and that was how I was hooked up with Cool/Wazobia Fm. From there, I became the major producer for Wazobia Fm and by God’s grace I did such a good job that I was retained and from then it has been a case of greater heights and higher grounds. I thank God!

Singers sing, actors act and comedians….? (Please complete sentence)
Lol… I would say “comed” but too much people have been using that lately, so I will say “comedize” lol.

You co host a show called ELR8D which is aired on EbonyLife TV on DStv Channel 165 every Sunday at 20:30 CAT with the amusing Chigul, how did you find the whole experience?
I found it very interesting. It was a totally new idea and very interesting one at that. I really liked the fact that it gave an avenue for spontaneity and creativity and I must mention at this juncture that I’ve got the best co-host! CHIGUL!!! It’s such an awesome experience working with her and I must say, our combo is just the bomb! #NoBoko..lol

ELR8D is a show where you countdown the eight nostalgic things that represent Nigeria, what two things represent Emmanuel Edunjobi?
Creativity and Persistence (God being my everything though because he is the one that makes everything happen for me)

Have you ever been taken seriously over a joke which escalated?
Ermm… Almost oh! One time like that I cracked a joke about Ash Wednesday on my Instagram page. It was true oh, I just came out that day and I started seeing everybody with black marks on their foreheads and they were not smiling and their movements were similar. Meanwhile I didn’t realise it was Ash Wednesday, so for a few seconds I was a bit scared! It seemed like the world had ended and there were zombies everywhere… (oya press pause here)

It was that zombie part that almost exploded oh, because one babe dropped one comment like that…but thank God it didn’t! Everybody started commenting that She was being sentimental about the whole thing…

Anyway, I sha learned a lesson that I should be more careful with my choice of words 🙂

How often do you laugh?
Lol… as often as possible, sometimes I even laugh when I watch some of my videos, imagine?..lol.. see now I’m laughing now!

What makes you different from other comedians?
The way I fuse music with my comedy. It’s a totally different feel, especially because I sing well and I play the instruments. I record and produce myself to the tune of whatever I want to portray. And most times when I do my comedy on stage I like to do it with a piano or a guitar.

In regards to presenting, what’s the dividing line between a professional and an amateur?
For me it’s how you can conveniently blend your personality with your presentation without any friction. It really doesn’t just flow easily like that, it happens with a lot of practice and continuity because that’s how u get comfortable. Once you are comfortable, everything flows smoothly. (Omo nawa o I hope say I no go confuse myself with these many englishes..lol)

If you could talk to someone in history, who would it be and what would you talk about or ask?
Hian! Nawao!! I think Jesus and I will just ask Him how I should live my life successfully and make heaven..lol.. although I can do that now, and I dey do am as I dey pray 🙂

How many times do you let your phone ring before answering?
Lol.. I answer as soon as I get to it noni oh! Okay, sometimes I let people hear my #OhEmGeeCallertunes just in case they want to download it.

When is your favourite time of year?
End of the year… because that’s when my calendar is busiest and the money flow is ceaseless. Oshay! See rhyme na..lol

My life would be so much better if…(Please complete sentence)
Adam did not eat that fruit in the Garden of Eden

Where were you this time last year?
Ermm…. I think I had a wedding to anchor in Benin

What 3 things drive your life?
God
Passion
Love

In my spare time I…(Please complete sentence)
Watch TV, play my guitar, sing, produce and record songs, go to the cinema and I try to pray!

What are your plans for the rest of the year? For EmmaOhMaGod and Emmanuel Edunjobi?
EmmaOhMaGod – I just released my first comedy album tagged “OhEmGee series 1 – Let’s Go to Church”… currently selling on itunes and Amazon…—> http://smarturl.it/EmmaOMG <—that’s the link 😉 and it’s going to be available on CD soon too…In fact it should be available by the time this interview goes up. So I’m going to be pushing it and I’m going to be working on some other projects.

Emmanuel Edunjobi – I’m going to get more settled in some areas of my life… you know say boys don dey old small small..lol.. (a word is enough) *wink*

Thank you for letting us into the world of EmmaOhMaGod, we truly wish you the very best with all your future endeavours.
Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference

 

The EbonyLife and Times of Chigul

We all know Chigul for her ability to create comedy through several different accents, her capability to create songs within minutes and her natural bubbly personality. EbonyLife TV had the chance of catching up with her, we tried to dig deep as we asked her all sorts of questions, from what her most embarrassing moment is to whether she prefers KFC or Chicken Republic. Read on to find this out and more.  

You co-host ELR8D which is aired on EbonyLife TV, DStv Channel 165 every Sunday at 19:30 WAT with a fellow comedian Emma oh ma god, how easy was it for you to work together? Were there any awkward moments or did you get on naturally? .
We got on quite well. He is a sweetie pie so working with him was quite a joy. I enjoyed every minute.

What impact is ELR8D expected to have on viewers?
Well, I hope people enjoy it and it becomes one of those shows that people look forward to watching.

Did you always know you wanted to go into comedy? If you weren’t a comedian, what would you have been doing?
Chigul was not planned at all. Ive always been funny’ but I wanted to sing jazz and be a Hollywood star. Comedy? Mba nu! but….. here we are.  LOL

What happens if no one laughs?
Well, thank God that hasn’t happened yet but if/ when it does, I guess the audience’s problems have passed my talent. That is more of a spiritual problem. LOL!!

You’re really good at switching accents, how did you know you were good at it?
Well, even as a child, I could imitate people so every time I heard a new accent, d would always try to copy it. I’m also good with languages so that helps a bit.

Which is your favourite accent to mimic and why?
Ooh ! Thats hard, I love them all because they all challenge me.

Do you think comedic abilities are something someone either has or doesn’t? Or do you think it is something that can be learned?
l believe it’s a talent. I doubt if one can learn to be funny. l believe it has to come naturally.

Where do you get your material from?
Any and Everything.

What are you not particularly good at?
Maths

Chicken Republic or KFC?
It’s the Republic all the way

What is your most embarrassing moment?
I came out of a public rest room and did not realize that my skirt had gotten caught in my underwear. . The world got a good view of my hinder parts, and I was doing catwalk oh. Chai!

Which one item can you not leave home without?
Chewing gum

When was the last time you tried something new?
I’m actually trying out a new life style right now. LOL

Whose life has inspired/influenced you the most?
MINE! It’s been full of dramatic tragicomedies (for lack of a better word)

It’s about time that I…(please complete sentence)
Lost all this weight!

My life wouldn’t be the same without…(please complete sentence)
Jesus

The most interesting time of my life was…(please complete sentence)
RIGHT NOW

What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Making the Chigul brand bigger and better .

Thank you for digging deeper with us and letting us into the life and times of Chigul, we truly wish you the very best for all your future endeavours.
Stay tuned for the next EbonyLife and Times edition where a good time is had by all! And remember, life is short and time is swift so don’t dull, make a difference