Her real name is Yinka Olukunga but she is famously addressed as Nnenna as a result of her role in one of Wale Adenuga’s television series, Super Story few years back. This incidentally shot her to limelight. Since then, she has not looked back.
But now, the Lagos born entertainer cum model is concentrating on what gives her joy, which is Nnenna and Friends Show, a subsidiary of Wale Adenuga Productions, and she is very much passionate about it. ENCOMIUM Weekly took the Lagos State University graduate of Marketing up on this and more when we visited her office on Friday, July 5, 2013.
What’s happening to your career at the moment?
Generally, everything is fine. But basically, it’s Nnenna and Friends right now, and it is about children. It’s a television show. We also have Nnenna and Friends live show and excursion for children as well.
What informed all these?
It’s basically the passion I have for children that gave birth to all the programmes concerning them.
What’s going on acting wise?
That has been put on hold for now because I don’t really have time to go on location. I have been busy with Nnenna and Friends, with children.
What has been the experience with the children?
It has been wonderful. It’s fun.
There is a talent hunt coming soon from the stable of Nnenna and Friends in conjunction with Wale Adenuga Production Television (waptv), can you shed light on it?
It’s about discovering the special talents in children. Then, after discovery stage, we will showcase those talents to the world. We want to let people around the world know that an African child really has something unique inside him or her. And we will be testing the children in music, dancing, comedy, acting and all that.
Who are the children eligible to participate in the talent hunt?
It’s for kids between ages six and 16. It takes place by 8am on Saturday, July 20, 2013, while the wapTV Talent Hunt for every one between ages 16 and 30 comes up by 10 am on Saturday, July 27, 2013. The venue for both events is D’Pencils at Joy Avenue, Off Osolo Way, Ajao Estate, Lagos.
What are the criteria for participation?
It’s free. So far you have the required talent, come, you will definitely be attended to. And after the exercise, the winner will be announced.
What has been the response from the public so far?
Fantastic! It’s massive. This is not the first talent hunt we will be organizing for children. This is the third time and they’ve all been very successful. That’s why we’re encouraged to organize another one.
What happens to the products of the talent hunt?
Right now, they are part of the N-Stars. If you’re very conversant with our shows, you would have noticed them performing. They are dancers, singers, instrumentalists and all that. So, we groom them to realize their dreams. So far we discover that you have the extraordinary talent, we will groom you after winning the cash price. You will be attending rehearsals every day.
So, former winners are part of the N-Stars, I mean N for Nnenna.
At what point would they be allowed to be on their own?
Once you outgrow our specified age, you will be allowed to move on.
Hope they won’t be dumped later?
Nnenna will always be their role model, aunty, sister and mother. She will always be there for them.
What has been the response from parents concerning this programme?
Parents have been very supportive. They are also excited that Nnenna and Friends has been doing something like this for their children. It’s equally their pride that Nnenna has interest of their children at heart.
How do you source sponsorship for the programme?
It has not been easy getting sponsorship for children’s programme like this but some have been coming up, and they have been very supportive. Although, not as much as we really expect for the children, we still appreciate the fact that they identified with the programme.
What really informed your passion for children?
It has always been there. I grew up with it. I have always been a crazy fan of children. Even, when my mom had her baby, I practically nurtured the baby, bathing her and all that. So, it has always been in me since youth. It’s natural and that will be there forever.
Now, you have completed your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, how does it feel being a full-blown graduate?
(Laughs) it feels great and wonderful. I feel very much happy about it. I also feel a step ahead of so many things and a step closer to so many things as well. As I always tell children, education is the best legacy. They just need it, it’s a must, before doing any other thing.
So, as a role model to all these children, I just want to lay a good example for them. I want them to know that to become anything, education should be given the first place in their hearts. It opens doors for you whether you’re an actor, singer, comedian or dancer, name it.
Tell us about your experience as a youth corper?
It was fun. I really enjoyed it. It was service to one’s fatherland which I loved. I was at the orientation camp for three weeks. Later, I was posted to Community High School, Ojodu Abiodun, Ogun State. It was really an interesting experience. I had fun with the students. Seeing me as Aunty Nnenna was enough for them to interact freely with me which I also admired.
So, it was very easy for me to blend with them. I was able to impact their lives in my own little way. I was warmly accepted in the area.
How do your parents feel about you being a graduate now?
They are very happy and excited. They give God the glory all the time. They are happy seeing me doing what I love doing. And they have been very supportive and prayerful. So, I am grateful to God for that.
What actually did you study at Lagos State University (LASU) where you graduated from?
I studied Marketing.
What class did you make?
I made a second class upper division (2.1).
Okay, what next after this?
It’s Nnenna and Friends, nothing more for now.
You’re still a face of Visafone, how would you describe the experience so far?
It has been fun. It’s great and wonderful. It’s a kind of mutual relationship between the two parties, and it has been good.
Let’s digress a little, how would you describe your love life at the moment, boring or lively?
It has not been boring. With God, it’s very lively.
We all know everything with God can’t be boring but let’s know the truth about your love life in the real sense of it?
Everything is God because He is my love.
Are you telling us there is no man in your life at the moment?
No comment. When the right time comes, that will be unveiled.
Does that mean you’re single and searching?
No, how will I be single when I have thousands of children around me? Besides, I have God. That means I am not alone. I think that should be private and let’s keep it so.
Okay, how do you cope with male admirers?
I deal with them politely and diplomatically. I am not a rude person. And to me, there is no point being rude to your admirers. Left to me, they are part of my fans. And your fans won’t appreciate you if they don’t love you, men and women alike, even children.
For them to really say, Nnenna, we love you, that’s enough, and I appreciate it. I can’t get bored. Let them continue admiring me.
Let’s have a flash back at your past relationship, experience and all that…
(Cuts in) No, I don’t want to go back to the past. What’s important to me is the present and the future. No further comment on that.
THIS INTERVIEW WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, JULY 09, 2013