For a television personality who is fashion savvy and relatively ubiquitous, Bolanle Olukanni is the antithesis of everything you’ve probably figured her out to be.
Olukanni endeared herself to the Nigerian television audience through her seeming innocence and girl-next-door demeanour on the MTN Project Fame show.
The television personality also has a gig on Moments with Mo as well as her own show, On the Carpet with Bolinto.
But that is not all there is to Bolanle Olukanni.
In this interview with TheCable Lifestyle, she opens up about her passions, love for entertainment and her true personality not known to many.
It’s been said that you returned to Nigeria to contribute to the country’s development? Besides that, what else motivated your decision?
That was the main reason. I needed to be back home so that I could be part of the country development. we are at such a crucial stage in our history and I want to be part of the people and form and push Nigeria to its full potential.
Did you have some sort of epiphany or what sequence of events led up to it?
It was nothing out the ordinary. Once I was done with University, I knew I wanted to move back home and it was the best thing for me.
Since your return, has everything panned out as expected? Definitely not, it has been much better than I expected. Nigeria has fortified my will power and desire to achieve so much more than I could ever imagine.
Why entertainment? What drew you to the industry?
Prior to university, I planned on working as a radio VJ. I used to live in Kenya and fell in love with Kenyan radio. Hence when I went to school I studied communications. When I got to the university, I become more interested in development and public service work than media, so I focused mainly on that.
Once I moved back, I began working at an NGO in Ekiti for my NYSC year. As my NYSC drew to an end, my passion for media and entertainment was revived and I began auditioning for presenting and acting opportunities.
What’s the biggest sacrifice you’ve had to make to be in this industry?
Above work, goals, and dreams, I have always promised myself that I would never have to sacrifice my character and values for my career.
Fortunately, I have remained true to that. Being in the public eye means that we are constantly judged, scrutinized and exposed to criticism so in a sense I have sacrificed a sense of privacy.
Between acting, presenting and other endeavours, which gives you the most fulfillment?
I love presenting, it’s definitely my first love. I have always been a curious person and I enjoy getting to know people and probe into their lives to find out what makes them tick.
Being a presenter/talk show host allows me to do this. It gives me the opportunity to be inquisitive and find out more about human stories.
How did you secure the Project Fame gig?
I was interested in being part of the show but not as a front end presenter. I went to audition as a backstage host and was offered the opportunity to host the show.
You are quite known for Moments with Mo, how has that experience been? The chumminess on set between the ladies, does it translate beyond?
Moments is my heart! I have learned so much about myself and the power of the human story through the many interviews that I have done. It wouldn’t have been such an amazing experience if the co-hosts didn’t sincerely have a strong affinity and friendship amongst ourselves.
One of the most popular Project Fame episodes was when Joeseph Benjamin proposed to you. Was that planned?
That was a very funny day. I had no idea about the prank. It was a good one cause he got me good.
Who is Bolanle Olukanni?
I’m an introverted, outgoing, serious, goofy, introspective and compassionate woman.
If one were to ask about you from people who’ve known you since childhood, how would they describe you?
Are you a Netflix and chill kinda lady or a dinner and shopping type?
I am a Kindle kind of person. I enjoy reading a good book and staying at home. I do my shopping online.
Owing to the intense scrutiny on celebs, how do you manage romantic relationships? Are you in one at the moment?
Just as you said scrutiny, you are asking me a question that is intruding on my private life. It’s very simple, I don’t put my romantic relationships online so I don’t have to explain to anyone why XYZ is not in my life anymore if the relationship doesn’t work out.
Once your relationship is online, the pressure is so real and there is this constant feeling of overthinking if you post anything online that has to do with a relationship.
Can you date someone into entertainment/media?
I am open to dating anyone as long as they have a good heart and we connect.
Having been raised in four different countries, which did you feel more at home in – while growing up?
I learned to feel at home everywhere because it was my reality was that moved frequently. So I was never too attached to one place for too long.
I had an adventurous childhood. I got to explore interesting cities and visit amazing historical monuments. I attended school with students from all over the world and was exposed to so many interesting cultures. It was very influential in my outlook on life.
Fashion seems to come easily to you, how much work do you put into what you don?
Well, thank you, I love clothes so it comes relatively easy to me when I am planning an outfit. I see it in my head and the pieces just come together.
Have you ever had an off-day fashion wise?
Yes! many. Not all outfits are a hit.
What brands/trends are you rocking nowadays?
I am always a fan of comfort so lately I have been wearing white sneakers with everything. I’m a huge fan of matching colors so monotone. One-colour looks are a current go-to look for me.
What was the last book you read and which one are you currently reading?
I read “How to win friends and influence people” and I’m currently reading “The Smart Money Woman”.
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