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TITI OYINSAN: There is hardly a boring moment on TV
Titi Oyinsan is a model, former MBGN contestant as Miss Lagos, entrepreneur and On Air Personality. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she opens up on early life, how modeling led her to broadcasting, inspiration and having a very supportive husband.
TELL us about your experience in broadcasting?
My journey into broadcasting began in the modeling industry in Nigeria. I started as a model when I was 17. From there, I was invited as a guest on different TV programs like Funmi Iyanda’s Show as a model. That was how I got exposed to how TV worked at the NTA.
I was blessed enough to be able to audition at the NTA. But that wasn’t my first TV date. My first experience started with Nigjizzy, a music channel with Kwame. And then I moved on to NTA and then to Sound City. The job is one that is exciting. You never know what is happening next. You never know where you might have to go or who you have to meet
There is a whole lot of equipment in all, it is technical. It is very interesting. There is hardly ever a boring moment on TV.
What are some of the memorable moments?
Milestones. Definitely, the most memorable for me is Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) .It’s a milestone for me. In 2007 I represented Lagos and was Miss Lagos in MBGN, and it was very definitive and very memorable. I won the award for best traditional costume and I was in the Top ten category. That was very memorable for me.
What inspired you to go into this sector and what were your expectations?
I was told by my dad about what I wanted to be in future. I said that I wanted to be a journalist. I didn’t really believe him. But he said that he could prove it. Then he actually brought out my secondary school books from JSS. Then I was asked what I wanted to become in future and I wrote Journalist.
So, I have a feeling that it has helped me to be in line. I ended up studying English Language and Mass Communication in Lagos State Polytechnic for three years. I don’t think I can point at exactly what inspired me. But, I think it has always been something I have ever wanted to do.
Would you say that you have met your goals?
Yes, I am. I do feel fulfilled. I have been able to learn so many things, meet so many interesting people. I have been able to go to so many countries of the world because of being in the media, as well as being an objective anchor personality: someone who hasn’t taken sides or chosen a particular party to slander anyone, or make anyone feel bad. And then, of course I have used their platform to try to uplift people, give people a positive outlook to life.
There is also a lot of respect that comes from working in the media, even though you are a family person, you are opportune to work in your own country and not running away to another land, just because you have the opportunity
I am someone that believes in Nigeria, that believes that if we have life, we have hope. All we need is the right guidance for the people who have stayed here and are ready to do the work.
However, this is not to say that those who have moved to other places are bad or wrong. It is the path that they have decided to take. But in the end, there would be a few who would stay to help, to make this country grow and maybe, I might just be one of them.
What were the initial challenges?
I don’t think I can remember my first broadcast. But I can still remember the beginning, the first few times that we went out to do red carpet events for Niggjizzy. There was never really somewhere to stay, after an event, maybe after an evening event, a finishing the red carpet for hours. Then you may end up sleeping in the vehicle, on the studio floor till morning. So, we found creative ways to look good, create different looks and costumes. Also, I started working when I was in school. I was balancing school and works. Meaning that I might fly to Lagos and go straight to class. I was always tired. And from school, I would take bike all the way home before nightfalls. So that my parents won’t freak out. There was so much that posed a challenge back then. This was as early as 2005 / 2007. There was a lot that was different about the industry back then. But it is all changed now.
Did you feed like quitting at any point?
I don’t think that there was any point where I said I wanted to be anything else. Of course, there were other times when I ventured into other businesses. I got into events management and did a lot of ushering work. I love to coordinate events and coordinate for other people. So, I did that even though, the money wasn’t that good. I was also interested in the back end, behind the Camera, instead of being in front of it. And I do have some aspirations in directing and there are not that many female directors. I had hoped that could be the next phase for me, directing my own shows based on the experiences I had had in the past.
That should be an interesting one for me but I don’t think I have ever wanted to quit from broadcasting or media.
Oh yes! I can actually remember an embarrassing moment on air. It was a particular political party and I was supposed to read out one of the results of an election for. I don’t want to mention the name of the party. Most of them have acronyms representing them I called out the letters and read out a completely different party name and I was live on air. I didn’t know where the name came from but because people were listening live, probably millions. I felt like I had completely bungled the whole broadcast. I quickly corrected myself but I just felt like the whole world had heard the slip and it was really bad.
What inspires the things you do?
I know it’s sounds cliché, but inspiration and drive comes from God, my environment, being a woman, understanding what it is to be a woman. And then I get . The average Nigerian about their dreams and aspia lot of inspiration from my husband, my kids, my familyrations inspire me everyday. They are the ones that make me want to get up at 4am, to start doing my makeup to be on air by 6 am. The people, the fans, the followers, the dynamite women who keeps striving everyday to make ends meet. They are the ones that inspire me. They are the ones that drive me.
What are the other things that occupy your time?
Apart from broadcasting, I am a trader. I trade online, trade Forex. I have traded on the block chain. I like to monitor the markets internationally. I like it, I like how volatile it is, I like how exciting it is when you have a feeling how the next big breaks is going to come. Of course, the money making card is interesting as well. As you can imagine it does entail a lot of risk.
If you are someone who isn’t interested in risk, then you probably won’t be interested in that. So, I do trade online.
What lessons did you learn working in the sector?
Working in the sector has taught me about a lot of respect for people who are there before me, and how powerful the platform in media actually is. There is power in that microphone, there is power in the voice, that goes out through the microphone. Radio especially taught me that yes , things can be fought and won on air. Broadcasting, the media has potential to save a life
It also has potential in talking one if care is not taken. It’s a very serious platform, and even from the entertainment angle it is very important to keep it free and fair. No matter, who you are or where you are all over the world, once you say you are a member of the press, even if you don’t have a very big car , expensive watch, you are likely to be given access to particular places, areas. To see or speak with particular people, that you wouldn’t be able to if you were doing any other profession.
Do you have people that you mentor?
I do have people that I mentor. I have mentored a few people temporarily. A lot of interns pass through me while I was on the radio and even while I am on TV now. I can only hope that they have learnt a thing or two from me.
What are the challenges with mentoring?
The challenges of being a mentor is that a lot of people don’t truly share their actual hopes and dreams, their goal. And if you have different goals from them, from the onset, you might end up going in different directions. It can be disheartening when you find a very good mentee, someone you think could change the industry, so good if they could just push themselves more, But once they see something better, money being made they toe a different line. You just feel the industry has lost a very great future member because they have been brainwashed or bamboozled by how flashy or glamourous something else is.Youths is the only challenge, the fact that as mentees they are going to toe the line that want to.
How do you relax?
I relax with my kids. I am a proud mother. The work life balance, I don’t know if it truly exist. It is something as volatile as the Forex market, it goes up and down. It is never really that balanced. But you just have to try and make a way to let it work. It works if you have an understanding partner, a partner that understands the industry and also makes his own contributions, that makes it easier. If for instance, I have an event or have to cover something leading to the night, I know that he is there. He will be with the kids and they would be ready for school in the morning, just in case I don’t get back that very day. I also have the kind of husband who understands when I am tired, he helps. Maybe not as demanding as the average men can be. Not to say that I don’t pull my own weight, I do. It does pay to have someone who is understanding.
Tell us about your favorite travel destination and what you like about it?
Travel destination so far would be Dubai. It might sound cliché, might sound boring. Something everyone says but I’m to go to a place where you can get a little bit of everything. You can have an open market, have luxurious beach, a good transportation system, restaurants from all over the world. You also have great place for the kids to be. Hotels that affordable, or hotels that are expensive depending on your choice. It is just a balanced place to be. I am not basically a fan of places where the main language is not English. I am always nervous, when I can’t understand the language of the place I am in. I am not going to be relaxed in such a place because I am always going to be thinking what is this person saying , what do I order or how do I get out of here. That is not a vacation, that is stress.
What type of books do you like to read?
I have read all sorts of books. I have read lot of romance books, teen fiction lots of science fictions. I am not really a fan of business books. I have gone through a few but I don’t think of it as light reading. So, those are the kind of books that I read.
What does style mean to you?
For me, style means comfort, anything that would not hinder my movement and time management. If it is going to stop me from getting to a particular venue, if it takes like two hours to put on this outfit or get this look, then I am not really for it. So, style for me is what I would look and feel most comfortable in.
What won’t you do in the name of fashion?
I don’t cause myself pain in the name of fashion. I do wear cinchers and waist trimmers but I get to two or three sizes smaller just because that is what people are doing now. I would rather be comfortable, be able to breathe than look fantastic in an outfit.
What advise do you have for Nigerians on coronavirus?
My COVID-19 message for Nigerians is that this is an unprecedented time we find ourselves in. It is very likely that we won’t witness a situation like this again ever in our lifetime. We pray that we never do. On one hand, we are in a situation to realise how blessed we really are or have been. How blessed we are to have the technology that helps us keep in touch with our loved ones, help to keep us informed. How fickle life actually is and how easy it is for something to snuff it out. Meaning, we should enjoy what we have and live our best life while we have life.
And also people need to take it seriously, it is real and from what we have seen around the world, we are blessed to not have been as harshly affected by the disease as so many countries have. I pray that as a nation, we will get out barely scaled by tomorrow it. We should also see this as a turning point for our health sector. There are lots of things that should be in place that are not in place. But can now be put in place because of our knowledge of how important, we also need to look at the education sector, see how to modernize it and make it more accessible to the average person. Education online has always existed in the past five years. But people just started taking it seriously in this part of the world in the past few months. And that is something that we need to get up to date with. Stay safe everyone, stay clean maintain the highest level of hygiene possible. Look after your family, stay home, stay safe.
Stat home and stay safe
TITI OYINSAN: There is hardly a boring moment on TV