My desire to inspire the world- Ifunanya Igwe, Radio Presenter
By Rita Okoye
Beautiful, bold and talented, Ifunanya Igwe is a radio presenter and voice over artiste popularly known for hosting “The Midday Show With Ify” on Lagos Talks 91.3.
Born and raised in Nigeria, Ify attended Corona Secondary school and graduated from The University of Capecoast in Ghana with a degree in psychology.
Ify, took a break from the world of science to focus on her interest in media. One of her major goals as a broadcaster is to raise the bar for women in the broadcasting industry by empowering women through her work.
In this interview with Allure Vanguard, she speaks on what inspires her, her desires to inspire the world, and as well, challenges of a female On Air Personality.
How has it been in the broadcast sector?
It’s been a very educative, exciting and fulfilling journey so far. I’ve grown so much in the little time I’ve been in this sector. Due to the nature of my job, I’m exposed to a plethora of information and people from different walks of life. Coming in contact with this ever so often has pushed me out of my comfort zone to explore areas I’d never have thought to.
Knowing that what I’m doing is doing some good in society is what makes it fulfilling.
This sector is so saturated and you always want to make sure you don’t drown in the midst of all that is happening so there is no space for mediocrity. It is a very competitive industry but I don’t see my peers as competition but as the constant kick I need to keep getting better.
As a psychologist, why did you delve into radio presenting? Please share the process.
I have several areas of interest and I decided a very long time ago that I will explore every single one of them but at different stages in my life.
I started with psychology because I thought it was a great foundation to build my other interests on. I believe psychology is something everyone should learn from because it’s applicable to several aspects of life.
I always used to love helping my peers out from a very young age as far back as secondary school. They’d come to me with their issues and I’d always have great advice for them. I then realised that I became very much interested in talking to people so when I started thinking about my future career I searched for ways I could create something out of that passion.
I happened to come across information about psychology and what it was all about. This led to me to the realisation that what I wanted to do was actually to counsel people and point them towards the right direction.
Growing up, I loved watching the Oprah Winfrey show and I always felt like I would eventually walk in Oprah’s footsteps.
Now with these interests, as I became more aware of what I wanted to do, I realised there was a strong connection between them. So I decided that what I wanted to do was to help change the lives of people through having my own TV show.
I went to University of Cape Coast in Ghana where I studied psychology for 4 years after which I moved back to Nigeria.
As I contemplated my next step, my father began asking me questions about what I wanted to do. I told him about TV and then he advised that as I waited for TV opportunities I should try radio out because it’s all in the same boat and it’ll be a great platform for experience. I agreed with him, I later got an internship with The Beat 99.9 FM were I was for the duration of my NYSC.
Later on, my boss Mr Chris Ubosi whom I have great respect for, informed me that he was starting up a talk radio station of which he’d want me to be a part of. I was absolutely amazed by the offer because I was just a young girl with no radio experience and I wondered why he’d want to take such a risk with having me on (or so I thought). However it’s been such an amazing experience for me and I’m forever grateful to my boss because of his passion for genuinely wanting to see people grow.
Do you forsee yourself dusting off your degree certificate to practice psychology any time soon?
Most definitely, I’m very excited about that but that would be somewhere in the nearest future. I studied psychology because I was passionate about learning why human beings behave and think the way they do. However when I get back into this wagon it doesn’t mean I’d take a break from my broadcasting career rather I’m going to find a way to incorporate it into this existing career. I believe they go hand in hand because my main goal as a presenter is to impact and transform lives by displacing wrong mindsets and building progressive mindsets.
Best On Air moment?
Well, more like the scariest moment that turned out to be the best! When I was live on air during a show, I got a call from a young man who said he was just about to take his own life by jumping into the Lagos Lagoon. At that moment it felt like my head was about to explode but I knew I needed to calm down and act quickly. I tried to calm him down and got his number from him. I then immediately got off air and called the Lagos State Emergency Line and they assured me they were sending a response team to the location. I also reached out to a mental health initiative who then took it from there. He went through therapy and then weeks later he sent me a message telling me how much better he had become. It gave me so much joy.
Worse On Air moment?
No matter how long you do this job, there would be times where your nerves might take the upper hand.
I happened to be on air talking about a particular topic and then I lost my train of thought. I literally blanked out but then I found myself still talking and started realising that I wasn’t making any sense, so I kept trying to get myself out of this hole but I was rather digging a deeper hole for myself. Whilst all this was happening I started getting a panic attack, where my heart was racing like never before and my whole body was shaking. I couldn’t really understand what was happening so I quickly increased the volume of my background music, turned off my mic without giving the listeners any prior information before going off air.
A few moments later When I had calmed myself down, I came back on air and gave an excuse for what had happened. Till today I really don’t understand what exactly happened.
You always want to inspire the world, how then do you get your own inspiration?
I call myself a learner and a good listener. I love to learn everyday from as many channels as possible because that’s how I get my motivation. I love listening to inspirational podcasts and watching videos of great men and women. Hearing from these people who have gone ahead of me makes me dream bigger and makes me want to put in the work to achieve my purpose.
There is a general belief that women hate each other, what’s your take on that?
I do not agree with that at all. The way society manages the gender factor has reduced women to negative competitiveness among each other. This often leads to the kind of stereotyping that has diminished women in the society over centuries. This started from the traditional society where a man can have as many wives but a woman is not allowed to have as many husbands so in a situation where affection is scarce and livelihood is limited, multiple women married to 1 man will continue to compete with each other in order to get the attention of the man and get more food for herself and her children. This is one of the initial foundations to the rabid competitiveness among women. With time it has grown into so many other areas like the work place where certain opportunities are defined exclusively for women without the freedom of migrating from one job to another within the same organisation. The few job areas left for women like secretaries, nurses, kitchen staff tend to promote unhealthy rivalry among women.
In societies where women have as many choices as men, competition among women is very rare.
Even with expansion of choices and options made available by civilisation and development, the spirit of competitiveness driven by hate and acquisitiveness has transformed into civilised effort to be the best among women and among both genders as the case may be.
There is a rumoured ‘beef’ amongst female broadcasters, how true is that?
Is there? This is actually my first time hearing this. Getting into this industry I came to realise that women are very supportive of each other, there is this solidarity amongst us that keeps getting stronger. Often there are events organised to celebrate women in this industry and foster networking which definitely brings us closer.
Do you have a fashion line already?
If no, any plans on owning one?
OfCourse. Plans are in place to birth my fashion line which I’m very excited about however I’m taking my time on this one because it’s very dear to my heart and I want to make sure it is a reflection of who I truly am. I can be a perfectionist sometimes.
Also, starting a business isn’t something you rush into, in as much as I’m passionate about fashion I cannot neglect the business side of it. I’ve been spending time researching and acquiring information on how to successfully start a business.
What do you want to major in?
Fashion Accessories and Ready to wear for women.
Define your style?
My style is eclectic. I don’t like being boxed into a single style because that’s very boring and limiting. I draw inspiration form everything and my style on a certain day may be dependent on how I feel or how I want to feel for that day.
Do you have a particular beauty routine?
Not really. I make sure I take a shower and moisturise twice a day and I drink at least 4.5 litres of water a day. I must say, it has done wonders for my skin.
PS: Never leave your house without sunscreen because the sun is the number agent of ageing.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
This would be my busiest year so far. I have plans on transitioning to TV, my fashion line is also in the works and I’d be working on more exciting projects I can’t really talk about now.