All in Interviews

Nigerian Inter Ethnic Love Stories || Mercy & Chris Okere

The first time I saw the name 'Mercy Haruna - Okere', I knew that I'd love to interview her and hear her inter ethnic story especially because I had assumed that the name Haruna was somewhat affiliated to the Northern part of Nigeria. So after many months of looking forward to this feature (and actually meeting her in person!), I'm glad I can finally share her and Chris' lovely story and oh-so-beautiful photos of their family. 

Mercy is Igala from Kogi State and Christian is Ndoki/Igbo from Rivers and Abia State. They've been married for four years now and currently live in Kent with their beautiful 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.

According to Mercy "Chris was fascinated by the fact that I was born in his home city, Port Harcourt (PH) and I think I fell in love with his bald head… #TeamBaldie". They both grew up around ethnic and racial diversity, and have succeeded in having a beautiful union despite inter-cultural differences. They share their experiences with us - about the beauty and challenges of inter-ethnic unions - one of which is Mercy's inability to understand some Chris' favourite foods...

How It Feels to Be A Twin - Kehinde & Taiwo Omotosho

When I reached out to Kehinde, and explained that I was fascinated with twins and would love to feature them on here, she jokingly responded "No worries, we are fascinated with you mortals too". Oh dear. I guess we mere mortals just have no idea how twins are slightly above mortals eh?

The names Kehinde & Taiwo are common names for twins from the Western part of Nigeria. There's an interesting explanation regarding who is older, and who comes out of the womb first. I often think I know this clearly in my mind, and then when I try to explain it to someone else I get confused.

These lovely ladies are in their late twenties, and they have two 'mere mortal' younger brothers. Kenny has a degree in English but is currently studying nursing in Indianapolis, having previously worked in the media industry for two years as a TV producer and newscaster. She is an irrevocable sanguine and loves to write funny poems, read, dance & cook!

Taiwo is also a nursing student who enjoys dancing and acting. She says she can wake up from any kind of deep slumber just to have her mum's akara (Nigerian meal made of fried ground bean paste).

They share their experiences with us! But first - according to them, an unspoken rule about twins is that "you never ever intervene in our fights, arguments or quarrels. In a twinkle of an eye, we will settle, and pounce on you".

A Day in the Work Life of: Ufuoma Okumagba - Business / Communications Manager

If you stumbled on Ufuoma's Instagram page, you may be likely to think she doesn't have a day job but rather travels the world carefree and without a hassle in the world. Afterall she's just got back from her 25th country! But you wouldn't be alone in thinking same. Someone recently left a comment on one of her photos, 'advising' that she use her money for more important things.

But Ufuoma has a day job that she loves - working and grinding like many other people. As a business/communication manager in one of the world's most recognisable global technology companies, Ufuoma has to juggle many balls and often has her hands full.

I'm particularly inspired by her journey to securing this role as an immigrant in Canada.  I know first-hand how difficult and seemingly impossible that can be. But again she's done it using one of the free tools that everyone has access to, but yet we often overlook!

She shares a day in her work life with us. Her responsibilities, best moments, the myths about her job and what other career she's genuinely curious about. No surprises on that last one - it's very much related to travelling!

We Interview: Bola Onada Sokunbi (Clever Girl Finance) - Money & Finance Expert

I love talking about money. I love budgeting and knowing where every last bit of my money goes to. And ofcourse, I absolutely detest being broke. So when I stumbled on Bola of Clever Girl Finance (CGF), two things attracted me to her Instagram page. First was probably the beauty of the page. Her message was conveyed in text and in such pretty fonts. Second was ofcourse the money wisdom she was dishing out. She was certainly filling a need and I knew that some day I'd love to meet, interview or have coffee with her.  When I realised a couple of weeks ago, that CGF had only just turned two, my enthusiasm was tripled. Her success has been outstanding and I couldn't wait to ask her a few questions.

It's often such a pleasure when someone is not only smart but actually nice and warm in real life. Curious about the apps she used to create her images, I slid into her DM about a year ago, and she graciously answered all of my questions. And when the time came for this interview, despite her tight schedule, she made it work!

Bola is a certified financial consultant providing tailored money advice to women - helping them ditch debt, budget, save and build real wealth! From her one on one coaching, accountability group to money journals, worksheets and e-books, it's obvious how much effort she puts into her business and how much she knows her onions! I've got so many money tips off her page it's amazing.

She often shares how she saved $100,000 in 3.5 years, while earning $54,000! Recently someone doubted this and it was absolutely hilarious when she pulled out the receipts and evidence.

Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories || Yewande & George Thorpe

Yewande and George celebrated their 3 year wedding anniversary just a few days ago, and it's the perfect time to share their experiences as an inter-ethnic Nigerian couple. Weirdly enough, she was one of the first people I reached out to in relation to this column.

I ran into her on-line in a very funny way. If you recall from the hilarious and untold bits bits of my wedding, the driver of the car I was to ride in to church couldn't be found, and so my sisters and I ended up in the photographer's car singing and dancing on the way to the church. It was hilarious (video snippet here), and when the photographer posted it up, Yewande commented saying cheekily "Driver & photographer for the price of one!" I later realised that for her wedding which was a few months after mine, she had planned to use the same photographer!

Yewande is Yoruba from Ogun State and her husband, George is Efik from Cross River state, although he's from an inter-ethnic household as his mum is from Delta state.  I'm so excited to share her love story and experience. From the one thing she's strike out from her husband's culture, to how she's pretty much an expert at Efik dishes! 

Fun Fact: She and her husband were born on the same day and are birthday mates. How cool! 

A Day in the Work Life of: Tega Ogbuigwe - University Lecturer (& PhD student)

I personally looked forward to this post so much, because in the past few years I've come to greatly appreciate and respect university lecturers as a result of being married to one. I think it's amazing how on the outside it seems like they could have it easy, but then it's such hard work round the clock! One that obviously takes a whole lot of dedication and if I'm being honest, one that I'm not sure I could ever do.

But Tega is absolutely in love with her career; and you can see this from her responses. I'll have to admit that I stumbled on her via Instagram thanks to her perfectly sculpted body, but even underneath fitness photos she's almost always sure to hashtag #lecturer and that's how I found out what she does by day .

From previously lecturing in Nigeria, Tega now lectures at the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. How she ended up there is an interesting story in itself - one that is sure to inspire you and make you take chances!

She's married to her Husbae as she calls him and they have two adorable boys. In describing herself she says "I can’t sing to save my kids but you will hear me singing all the time. I can run 10miles without stopping. I’ll rather lie on the couch staring at the ceiling in silence than watch TV. I have an “angry look” by default so I am learning to smile a lot. I’m obsessed with workout leggings. My favourite junk is any drink with caramel in it!" 

She shares her work life with us. Enjoy! 

9 People 1 Question: Kinky Hair Experts on Growing and Caring for Nappy Hair

If there's one thing that I absolutely wished to conquer this year, it was understanding and loving my natural hair (i.e my hair in the way it grows out of my scalp and without any chemicals or relaxers); and generally being more adventurous with my hair. I had transitioned for most of 2016; gradually cutting off the relaxed ends until it was fully natural. But I hadn't made an attempt to wear it out often or learn to style it, and it was mostly in protective styles. But seeing so many 4c hair enthusiasts proudly wear and style their hair made me itch to sort mine out. I love how all over the world, many more people are embracing this.  

But in the first few weeks of 2017, I broke my new hair resolution and went back to the arguably easier way of applying relaxers. But yet again, since January I haven't had any chemicals and so I'm eager to try again. What better way than to reach out to nine kinky hair experts for all the inspiration and tips? 

So whether you're already a natural hair expert; in the process of mastering your own hair, considering switching up; tempted to go back to relaxers or simply love a good story - you'd enjoy this piece. 

Some also shared really hilarious hair anecdotes and encounters and the one reason (or amount of money) they'd consider going back to relaxers! I gotta say we've got ourselves some pretty deep naturalistas. 

Nigerian Inter-Ethnic Love Stories || Lara & Teshola Idowu

Lara is such an amazing and kind-hearted person! We had the chance to meet up during my birthday getaway in Dubai. She was so gracious, invited me into her lovely home, fed me with the tastiest pepper soup and showed me round her beauty studio. As a fashion and beauty entrepreneur, she sews, teaches, consults and offers makeup services.  When she realised I ran this column on the blog, she was very willing to share her experiences and all I had to do was ask.

She's Yoruba, from Ekiti state in Nigeria (though her mum is from Ondo State) and been married for four years to Teshola (although you'd be forgiven if you thought that was their surname as she often goes by the name LaraTesh). On the face of it, their first Names and surname sure make it look like they're both Yoruba. But Tesh, a financial analyst is Itsekiri from Delta State, though his mum is from Benin. Don't you just love these culture fusion?

In her words "the nature of my job, has exposed me to working with people from different ethnicity and culture from all over the world. This has made me conclude that we are not different one another. What we see as different is what is adding color to this world and making us stronger". I couldn't agree more.

In this awesome interview, she spills on their inter ethnic union, how she has Igbo roots, opposition received, her dramatic proposal and the one food from Tesh's culture that she can't fathom eating! Of course, we have her gorgeous and gleeful photos to swoon over! Enjoy.

A Day in the Work Life of: Adaku Ufere - International Oil & Gas Lawyer

Not everyone would apply for a job that requires a language skill set you clearly do not possess. Adaku did. Saw the job ad on LinkedIn, and boom, went in for it!  In a few weeks, packed her bags and headed to Equatorial Guinea - a country that wouldn't even grant tourist visas. Her life and career was about to take a brand new turn - a turn that she's absolutely loving. She's often quick to say, that she's 'living her best life'.

This piece resonates with me for so many reasons. In the same way one woman made Adaku re-think her career aspirations, in my subconscious, I think Adaku was one of those people that made me believe I could absolutely combine being a lawyer and blogging - doing both excellently well and without being shy of the latter. Although she went to the same high school in Nigeria (Queens College Lagos) as I did, and was a couple of years ahead of me, I have from a distance kept abreast of both her exciting career and blogging adventures!

Adaku Ufere heads the Energy practice at a pan-African law firm; managing legal teams across; Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Cameroon, South Sudan and South Africa and directly developing and managing multiple strategic partnerships across the globe for the firm. She was recently named one of the 40 Under 40 Leading Lawyers in Nigeria at the Nigerian Legal Awards 2016. She enjoys public speaking, writing and contributing a lot of her time in mentoring younger ladies. 

In her words "I am obsessed with plantains, Novenas, trap music, Beyoncé, mango sorbets, airplane flatbeds, Jo Malone ‘lime basil & mandarin’ shower oil, and ratchet reality shows". 

How's that for a balanced life? You'll enjoy this one - take my word to the bank! 

9 People, 1 Question || First Class Graduates on Getting a First Class, Benefits, Challenges & Advice!

My first class undergraduate Law degree was one I intentionally set out to achieve. Just because I thought it was the key to a great job and an ultimately better life. I had heard of older persons who had first class and literally had oil companies begging to hire them - and change their life!  I didn't think it was going to be that way for law, but still I thought it'd open doors. And in fairness in my case it has. Being able to go to Cambridge may not have been possible if I had a lesser degree. Plus it has sure opened other doors. But does it make every employer and opportunity come my way easily? Not exactly. So much more is needed. 

So I was much more curious about other first class graduates. What has their experience been? Why did they want a first class? How tough was it? Has it been worth it? Should more people aspire to have a first? 

The timing of this post could perhaps not be more timely. If you follow a lot of Nigerians on Twitter, you may have seen some very recent discussions about first class graduates. Apparently some people thought a certain university was diminishing the value of a first class by awarding 'too many people' first class degrees and that such degrees were on the same level as a second class upper from other universities. 

Well, let's see hear from the mouth of 9 horses themselves as I asked each of them this one question: