Ghanaian TV host and presenter, Gladys Owiredu is a popular entertainment presenter on one of Ghana’s most popular cable networks, Multi TV which also is in high demand in Nigeria and other neighbouring African countries. In an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Gladys revealed why she is so passionate about her job and what entertainment means to her. And how she’s carved a niche for herself in the Ghanaian media industry.
How did your journey to TV presentation start?
It has always been an interest so. I watched out for opportunities in that area. Fortunately, I saw the advertisement on national TV, that is Ghana Broadcasting Corporation advertising for broadcasters. So, I applied and went for the interview. That time, you write an entrance exam for employment. So, I wrote the entrance exams, passed and was called for auditioning and interview to know our abilities in broadcasting, the voice, your phonetics, speech and everything related to broadcasting. And the interview, of course was the normal job interview.. Later, I was called that I passed and now have an appointment to work with them. That was how I got in as a broadcast journalist and was trained as such at the GBC Training School.
Entertainment means something that puts a smile on your face, something that relaxes you while you are being informed and educated. It’s about getting information in a relaxed manner. For me, that is entertainment.
You’ve had the privilege of interviewing top Nigerian celebrities on your programme. How would you compare them to Ghanaian celebrities in terms of branding?
Beyond interviewing them, I’ve had the chance to also visit Nigeria and get to be in their midst and get the chance to also read about how big the Nigerian entertainment industry is booming. Everywhere they go, it’s like they make the loudest noise. One thing I realized is that they understand the business aspect of the show. Talking about show business, showbiz is not just a show, showbiz is not about ordinary recorded entertainment, the business aspect that makes it grow and sustain it. Nigerians seem to have that.
As a female reporter what are the challenges in your profession?
It’s everywhere, if women are able to stand up to the men, it’s almost like; hey! woman take it easy, slow down, that kind of thing. I remember when I started, I believed in branding a lot, and setting standards, so to the best of my abilities in my own way that I can, I made sure I crave for that quality and it means a lot to me. So, when I started, I realized I wanted to be a point of reference for entertainment in television, so I had to do the extra, I had to go the extra mile to get information that you can’t get easily or served in silverspoon for you.
Where do you wish to see your career in five years?
In five years, I see myself in a grooming position to mentor young ones who wish to find their feet in the industry. I wish to be in that position to assist them. I have already started discovering a few talents here and there. I just want to mentor them because I really didn’t have the opportunity of somebody telling me how to go about it.
Who are your role models?
Professionally, if I have to go beyond Africa and my country, Oprah Winfrey is one person I really look up to. I admire that woman a lot, she’s got it. I still look up to her; I still admire the way she took her exit. There was a plan and it was beautiful. Her retirement and all, I still follow her and she is doing a lot that I still admire. So, she is one person in my line of career that I admire so much. Locally, I look up to Gift Anti. She is done so much for herself and obviously, I look forward to doing better than what they have done.
What are your inspirations?
My passion inspires me a lot and I count a lot on God for strength to keep me going. I count a lot on Him for wisdom and so He’s been good to me so far, I don’t see what else I can do without God.
What’s your advice for aspiring young presenters?
They should read a lot. The secret to a successful career in broadcasting is one; your language. It’s not just the appearance, of course when we see you; you must strike and feel your act in you, your appearance, makeup and your outfit must speak. Beyond your appearance, when you open your mouth, it must agree with your career. When you speak, you must radiate confidence and your language must be relaxing. You can’t just have it all if you sleep over it. So, you must work at it, read, learn and look out for what the industry offers and learn it right. Don’t look at where somebody is today and conclude that it’s where you want to get to. No, it doesn’t come that way, learn to crawl first, walk before you can run. These days, when you hear presenters talk on radio or television, it’s so bad. Bad diction, bad language and it’s alarming, because they are not reading, they are not learning.
Tell us about some of the Nigerian celebrities you’ve featured on your platform?
I’ve had the opportunity to interview Jim Iyke and I remember he warned me not to touch on certain areas, but during the interview, I found myself going there (laughs) and that was about him and Nadia Buari. I also had the opportunity to talk to Tuface. He is such a wonderful human being, he is a nice gentle man and I had a great time interviewing him. I’ve also interviewed Monalisa Chinda and many of them, just that their names are not coming now, but I have interviewed quite a couple of them.
What is your experience of Nigeria you would like to share with us?
Your style of events is very different from ours. Ghanaians are laid back but Nigerians are loud (laughs) and for the very first time I stepped down in Nigeria at the international airport in Lagos, I almost fell into the hands of a 419, like Nigerians would call it. But when I look back, I just laugh over it because it’s one of those things. And I’ve told myself that I need to be prepared any time I’m alone in Nigeria and also have enough to pay the 419 (laughs).