Sunday, September 19, 2010

Twelve Questions with Omawumi (and My Weekend NEA Style)

Yep, I thought we could take a fitness break this week and recap the Nigeria Entertainment Awards a little bit. The night before the awards, I got a chance to catch up with the NEA hostess herself, Omawumi. We know she's gorgeous, we know she's talented, so is there anything we do not know about Omawumi? I sat down with the hostess to talk about some little things that you may not have known about the rising star.

Suzanne: What’s in store for you next professionally?
Omawumi: Well, I’ve done a little bit of acting recently so I think I’m going to do a little bit more. I started out with theater and I’ve done a couple of cameo appearances in movies. But I will take my time because I want to do really “gen gen” feature films.
I have also started recording my next album. Again, Cobhams is going to produce a couple of tracks. There are a lot of A-list artists I want to feature, but I will also work with one or two great artists that people don’t really know. The album will have a new direction this time, but I won’t stray too far from the ‘me’ that my fans know.
On the business front, there are a few businesses I’m going to be putting out there, but it’s all a little evasive right now. So I will let you know more as I know more.
I am also working on a big production, which we are calling ‘Chics for Christmas’. It will be a Christmas concert and comedy show like what we usually have in Nigeria, but with a full female cast. We plan to bring on some International Nigerian acts to headline the show. The Ministry of Women Affairs is getting involved too, and we are working to build that relationship. It is a process and though it’s still in the planning stages right now, it will definitely happen.

Suzanne: That is a long list of great stuff you are working on. We will be following your progress and supporting you all the way.
Are you also involved in any charities?
Omawumi: As a matter of fact, I am getting involved in a few NGOs. One of the major ones I am involved in right now is the Pink Pearl Breast Cancer Foundation. We are working together to create awareness about the issue so that women can go and get regular breast screenings, and load themselves with knowledge that could help them possibly prevent breast cancer. We do have a breast-screening awareness event coming up in October.

Suzanne: Yes, October has become recognized as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So readers out in Nigeria will definitely be trying to get as involved in this event as they can.
Now, we all know you are an entertainer, and usually, there is a long list of people that have inspired entertainers to get where they are. But if you could name one person who is your inspiration, dead or alive, who would it be? And if you could meet them what would you say?
Omawumi: Wow! I could go on and on. If you had any idea about the kind of person that I am, you would know that I take things from different people. So it would not be entirely fair for me to name some and leave some. She smiles and pauses. But I will anyway. Someone I really look up to is Nelson Mandela. His life, his story, his leadership qualities are just amazing. Understanding that he is also human, but he always wanted to try to make a difference is what makes him one of my role models. But to be honest, if I met him, I would be completely dumbfounded and not know what to say.
Aside from that, my mother is a very big inspiration in my life. And God. This may sound cliché, but my life, my direction, most of the decisions I make, everything I do, is directed by God.

Suzanne: So do you have any special talents that the world does not yet know about?
Omawumi: Well, I like to cook. And I think I cook fairly well. I didn’t use to say it, but before now I used to cook a lot at home, and also do what people refer to as ‘Consultancy Cooking’. This is where you help put together a menu for someone to organize a party, and get people to do the actual cooking. But it’s just a hobby.

Suzanne: So what would be your favorite dish to cook then?
Omawumi: One of my strong points is native dishes. I love to cook Nigerian food. I think I can probably cook almost all the delicacies in Nigeria. But especially banga, starch, and ovwo. And yes, the Urhobo girl in me came out the moment she talked about starch and ovwo. If you don’t know what that is, Google is your friend. Immediately we started talking about usi, our vibe changed! Food does bring people together!

Suzanne: What is your guilty pleasure? Something you know you shouldn’t do, but you do it anyway.
Omawumi: Ah! I can’t tell you. If I tell you, it’s no longer a guilty pleasure now!

Suzanne: Hahahaha! I get that. That’s okay. So what is your favorite pastime? What do you do when you are not working?
Omawumi: I read a lot, I do a lot of research, I watch movies. I think that’s pretty much it.

Suzanne: What kind of things do you read? Like magazines, fiction, biographies?
Omawumi: I read a lot of novels. I think I’m the kind of person that goes from horror to fantasy to romance to courtroom drama. Basically, a lot of variety really for fiction novels. But for non-fiction, I mostly read autobiographies. All those political books don’t interest me. Nah.

Suzanne: Nah. So what is your biggest beauty secret?
Omawumi: I ‘baff’. If you don’t know what that means, it means bathe.
She laughs. No, but seriously I don’t joke with water so I baff and drink a lot of water. I’m very comfortable moving around with no makeup, and not a lot of fussiness. If you had seen me earlier today ehn! I just don’t have that power to be doing all that sprucing all the time.

Suzanne: So the wig isn’t one of them?
Omawumi: The wig is part of the comfort-promotion. So I can just chill and get ready very quickly.

Suzanne: In that spirit, what is the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard about yourself in the news?
Omawumi: Oh my good God. I can’t tell you. There are loads of them, but it would not be fair for me to push all these types of stories. I’ve heard a lot of stupid stories about myself. But one thing I want to say is that I always encourage people to concentrate on my music and the part that enlightens them rather than seek out the things they will not learn anything from. So they should always remember that I am a human being. Lean on me no be kill me. I’m going to start using this saying now. I love it.

Suzanne: I really like that. Lastly, what achievement would you grade your success on? What’s one thing that would make you say you’ve arrived?
Omawumi: At every point in my life. I feel that the reason I am doing what I’m doing is because someday God is going to use me to minister to somebody’s life. Because if na garri I dey soak, I’m okay. My disposition is that as long as I’m alive and my head is working, I’m fine. I mean, really, what is the yardstick? How do you measure success? Is it when you have amassed all the wealth in the world? In fact, let me rephrase my answer, I will say that I have arrived when I have affected the lives of a lot of people.

I thought that was rather insightful.

I also got a chance to catch up with a few other nominees before the event. Here is a recap in pictures.

2 Face



Jesse Jagz

Lara George

Tope Adeyoju from View Naija and Modele

For a full recap of the awards, follow me on Twitter (@eightsnweights) and review my tweets from the show. And also check out my interviews with the other nominees above on and later in the week.

Let me know what you think of the interview. Have a lovely week ‘Eights’ and ‘Weights’!


  1. Great interview! I love Omawumi and she comes across as very down to earth and eloquent. I took a moment over the weekend to listen to your interview with M.I. and I enjoyed it (I like your accent!).

    I liked the outfit you wore too...looking very good, Suzanne (your arms are to die for)!

  2. Thanks GNG! Too many compliments...I'm blushing :)

  3. Lovely interview...I really like Omawummi...she seems so well grounded and real...


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