Denrele Edun, popular presenter and compere is living his dreams. He has worked so hard over the years to build his brand and it is paying off now, though, a lot of people misunderstand the brand. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with him on his brand, marriage, career, etc…
Will you say you have accomplished most of your set goals and targets for 2015?
It is already half way into the year, I have not done half of it. My priorities are right, no doubt but I have not gone far. Anyway, I live life for the moment, we are getting there gradually. Career wise, yes, I am getting there, but on a personal level, I still have a long journey to go.
How is the experience working with Channel O?
It is an amazing experience. I never thought I would get the job. When I got out of Sound City, I was on ground zero. I had nothing, my sisters were still in school, fees needed to be paid, bills were running. I was living from hand to mouth. I can remember I had a job to do in Festac, I was in Maryland then. I got a call to come to Mnet’s office, I managed to go but was late. When I got there, I met high ranking officers of Mnet. Iit is quite difficult to see them together at a sitting, I had to scream because I knew something was up. I was given a script. I didn’t use the script and I was able to deliver. They asked me about Sound City and I told them the truth. Before I got to Mnet’s office, everything went wrong. There was serious traffic, the person I borrowed his car was already ranting. I didn’t know God was preparing me for something great. Two weeks after, I was called to join Channel O. I told them I won’t believe it until I am holding a mic. They flew us to South Africa, lodged us in the best hotel, we went for training and that was it. Working with Channel O has expanded my brand to the frontiers of Africa. I have travelled wide, I am working with a structure that is more rewarding. They also made me work with other Mnet brands, it has been an amazing experience. I can’t trade it for other things.
What are some of the challenges in the course of your job?
Normal office politics that is everywhere. May be you feel sidelined or you are given something that should belong to other people. One great challenge is the working hours. They work very early and I sleep early in the morning. I don’t sleep at night. Anyway, I have survived the worst, the crazy, the ugly.
A lot of people believe you must be taking something to keep your energy level high all the time?
No. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t take anything to keep me high. I am always myself.
Why don’t you sleep at night?
It is my lifestyle. I am used to going out at night. When I was in Sound City, most events held at night. As a presenter, you have to be on the red carpet, interview every one that came and some people don’t come early. I will not leave the red carpet if I am not satisfied. At night, I am either drinking tea or watching television, or I am on the social media.
If you were not a broadcaster, what would you have been doing?
I would have been a teacher, I read English education in school. I have a solid background in teaching. When I got out of secondary school, I was not up to 16. So, I couldn’t get admission to the university, I took up teaching job. The pay was good and many parents liked me because I handled their kids well. I also had after school coaching for many pupils. Even when I was in UNILAG, I had to go for teaching practice at 300 level, I taught at Ijesha Tedo Grammar School, Okota. One thing that surprised my supervisor was the fact that I knew all my students by name. About 500 students, so, I could have been a teacher.
How do you relax?
Do I actually relax? May be when I am hanging out at the family house with my sisters and father. Also, relaxing for me is when I finish a job and I am satisfied, my clients are happy too. I really find it difficult to relax, I am always active. I feel I will be missing out of something if I do.
What informed your love for high heel shoes?
I tell people the higher the heel. The closer to Baba God. Most of these shoes are not as comfortable as they look. Fashion is pain. All my shoes are quite uncomfortable. A lot of people think I am an attention seeker or I always like to be in the news. I just like wearing them, no other reason.
Where do you get them?
I don’t really buy these things. A lot of people misinterpret the essence of Denrele. They think I spend money to get these things. No, I don’t live an extravagant life. I will be sweating and running around under the sun to make money and I will now use everything to buy shoes, am I mad? Never! I can’t remember the last time I bought a pair of shoes for myself, most of them are gifts. There is one big shoe I have, the first leg came in February and the other leg came in March. The company wanted to be sure the owner could walk in it. I don’t spend much on clothes and shoes.
You often give the impression that you would have loved to come as a lady?
This is a good question nobody has ever asked me before. I look a lot like my mother, I know I look towards the feminine side, there is no denying it. People have even labelled my mannerism and gesticulation to my sexual preference but I always tell people, whom you go to bed with is different from who you go to bed as. If I was trying to be a lady, I am deceiving my conscience and living a lie. I am just comfortable with the person I am, I am comfortable with my identity I have built over the years. I am comfortable with the brand that is selling my market. We are in Nigeria, we are conservative people, they frown at what I do but they secretly admire the guts I have, they secretly wish they have such gut too. I was a bit confused about my identity while growing up. Every day people asked me if I was a girl or a boy. Even at the university, most time, I open my chest and tell them I will open my trouser too if they can open their’s. We will just end up laughing about it. I like who I am, I can’t give up Denrele for anything.
Will you drop your weird attitude by the time you get married?
It will continue. I am not putting up an act. This is who I am. I am happy about it. If I stop, people will think I have been living a lie for a long time, it will be a complete waste of time. It will be better for me to run to a country that is not on the world map. I don’t think I am weird, I am a regular guy, I am really grateful to God for that. I rather retrieve my bride price and send her to her father’s house. She will just spoil my market, Denrele fetches me money.
How will you feel if your children follow your footstep?
I will give kudos to my father for giving me the opportunity to discover myself. He is a Yoruba. I can remember, he would go to church and they would call a meeting, telling him to caution me. He would come back from church to gist us and we will all laugh about it. Even my relatives that used to laugh at me now kiss my ass. I really give my father kudos for that. The same church they ex-communicated me, now receive me like Barack Obama. I will encourage my children whole heartedly. My father must have foreseen that it will pay on the long run.
It seems Denrele is getting fair?
It is powder and photoshop. Of course, I am a little lighter than I used to be. I started appreciating myself and taking good care of myself. Again, my mother is not a Nigerian, she is not African. She is Indian. When I was in secondary school, I used to be very light, gradually, I became dark. My mom used to complain all the time that I am too dark. All in all, I just started taking care of myself with the right products.
Your attire at the AMVCA caused a stir?
I anchored the red carpet in the past two editions, I was supposed to anchor this year’s edition but plans changed at the last minute. A lot of people called to tell me I should say this and that about them. My dress and hairdo were the last minute plan. I just wanted to do something different, it wasn’t a publicity stunt, nor a controversial agenda.
Will you say you still miss Goldie?
Yes, I do. I do every day. We had so many plans. The two of us are limited editions. At times, when I am in a situation, I used to ask myself, what will Goldie do if she was in this? I don’t smoke or drink alcohol but I take white wine once in a while. Goldie taught me that. We were quite close. We quarelled once that we didn’t talk to each other for two months but eventually, we settled.
When will Denrele marry?
This year. I don’t want to say much about it. I don’t want anybody to know the bride. I can’t wait to start having children. I love children so much.
Have you found Miss Right?
It is a yes or no. I am still trying to understand what is going on. I have been into relationships that the person wanted to change me. Someone even fought me because of my friendship with Goldie. I just want her to understand me and where I am coming from. She is a Nigerian but I go with the flow, anything can happen.
– SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN