Toke Makinwa: The Media Buzz
Words By – Yemisi Suleiman
Toke Makinwa became a household name about 12 years ago when she made her major media debut on Rhythm 93.7 FM’s ‘The Morning Drive Show’ as a co-host. Fast forward a few years later, the on-air personality has evolved to become one of Nigeria’s most sought-after hosts. Toke’s evolution is one that is credited to her consistency and relevance in the showbiz industry.
From being just a radio girl, she made a television appearance as the host of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 2012.
She co-hosted Flytime TV’s 3 Live Chicks, a show which debuted as a web series before expanding to terrestrial television. Toke Makinwa has hosted numerous notable events, including the 2013 Future and City People Entertainment Awards, as well as the 2014 Headies Awards, amongst others. She is also a publisher, vlogger, actor, and fashion-prenure with a beauty and handbag line launched under her eponymous label, Toke Makinwa Luxury.
Not one to be held down, Toke, who lost both parents when she was eight years old, has continued to build an impressive career reputation, crowned with a number of awards to her credit. As excitement for this year’s edition of the ongoing reality show, Big Brother Naija Season 7 continues, Toke Makinwa who is returning for the second edition as host for ‘The Buzz’ on Showmax, is set to treat fans to an exciting time, as she reviews and dissects the show with her guests. The English and Literature graduate from The University of Lagos, who says she is excited to be back on “The Buzz”, also shares her views on the reality show, journey to stardom, her fears and misconceptions by fans.
How do you feel returning as the host of the 2nd season of The Buzz on Showmax and what should viewers expect from you this season?
I am pretty excited about the show, “The Buzz” on Showmax took the entire viewing experience to the next level last season. We had never before seen clips, and interactive discussions on happenings in the house with guests and fans of the sho. I am looking forward to more heat, more gossip, more drama and more fun clips this season.
What do you think about the BBNaija Level Up Housemates? Would you say they are bringing on the drama and intrigues that the viewers expect?
I love what Big Brother is doing this year with the two houses. I love the style of competition, and the selection this season is fresh, young, new, and exciting. Viewers are in for such a fun ride, I can feel it. I love how vocal the housemates are, everyone is bringing personality which makes for good Tv.
What value would you say “The Buzz” adds to the entire BBNaija show?
It gets fans’ favourites so excited to watch how we dissect the show. They are used to watching highlights, Sunday evictions, and live shows: and now, there is a review show that talks about those moments with guests, it’s so exciting.
What are your favourite moments from the last season of The Buzz?
Emmarose ship, I loved Angel and Boma’s fight, the friction between Pere and Whitemoney too.
You are known to be high on fashion. What should viewers and fans expect from you this season?
This year, I want to have fun. I’m playing with the GenZ fashion scene; so, expect a lot of edgy looks. I’m planning on keeping it colourful, light and refreshing. I can’t wait.
You are a radio, TV personality, publisher, vlogger, and most recently an actor, how do you juggle and also strike a balance with your personal life?
Honestly, wake up and just take on the world. It helps when I don’t list all that I do; I just apply myself to each job and keep pushing. It gets a little crazy on the schedule side; for instance, I can’t remember the last time I went on a date because I’m always working. I am not complaining, I am addicted to working. I love seeing a project through. I’m young, energetic, and won’t always be. Now is the time to live out my dreams.
How did you move from being a radio personality to TV, owning a fashion brand, and being in the movie industry? What was the transition like for you?
It’s been 12 years of applying myself and wanting more. I have such a curious mind and it never stops craving for more, to push the envelope just a little bit further, try different things, apply myself even when I feel I know nothing about it. I believe that consistency will always beat talent and that has been my story. Once I apply myself and I keep learning, I get better and better.
What event in your childhood shaped you into the kind of woman you are today?
I’ll say losing both my parents at such a young age, I was introduced very quickly to the uncertainties of life; you’re here today and gone tomorrow. So, making each moment last is key.
What makes you smile and what scares you the most?
I love traveling, I love visiting new places, and I am my happiest on a plane. What scares me? Losing me, losing the spark, losing myself-belief, and losing my faith. I’ve worked so hard to become who I am, I never want to lose her.
Your Vlog ‘Toke Moments’ deals with relationship and lifestyle issues generally, what informed it? And would you say, the purpose for which you created it has been achieved in any way?
My Vlog started as an experiment, I just loved talking so much. I started talking about things most people talk about behind closed doors. We all hear these things, and we discuss them with our close friends when no one is there. I wanted people to feel like they are not alone in their experiences, a safe space where you can relate, laugh, love, hurt, and laugh again.
You always encouraged women to be financially independent and keep breaking glass ceilings that they don’t need any man to validate them, does that make you a feminist?
I am definitely a feminist! I believe in equality. We’ve come so far and the movement has made a gigantic impact but we constantly are labeled as “men bashers” and “men haters” when the movement is so much more. Who is society? You and I, and we cannot continue to blame society for the injustice against women. We must effectively empower women not to be better than men, not to take the man’s place, but to also, feel included in jobs, home fronts, and social issues too.
What do you think women can do to allay the fears of men that women want to take their place?
Why should women try to allay the fears of men? I think that each gender was made specifically for a reason. Men are men and women are women. Women are not trying to be men, women are just trying to have the same level of equality in terms of the same opportunities at work places, the same opportunities to earn just as much as the men do because so long in the past, women have been relegated to being only home makers. We are only asking for a little bit of inclusiveness in certain areas. I don’t think there is any woman that wakes up in the morning and wants to be a man. We like being soft, feminine and our power is the fact that we are women. So, any man who is threatened by a woman, it’s more of him than of the woman so I don’t think there is anything women can do, to make men more comfortable. Men shouldn’t feel threatened, we are made differently for a reason and we just want to be included in most amplified conversations that involve moving forward and growth.
Women definitely have a huge part to play in sustaining society the way it is today . Just give us our kudos and let’s work together.
How do you deal with nasty online comments as a person?
I, honestly don’t take it personal; people will do what they’ll do and a hateful comment says so much about the person who is giving it and not the person on the receiving end. You don’t know my life, you see a fraction and form your opinion which is fair, but you show who you are by the things you let out.
You are one of the most stylish ladies around, how do you put your clothes together to always stand out?
I almost certainly, don’t over think it; I have a team of brilliant people who are not afraid to push the envelope, if it works, it works and if it doesn’t? We try different things. One thing though is, we must have fun with fashion.
What is your definition of elegance?
Less is more and comfort is confidence. If you’re comfortable in it, exude all the confidence in the world, that’s how you become timeless.
Who or what inspires you most in life and why?
My Mother inspires me so much. When people hear me talk of my parents, they are a bit confused because my birth parents died when I was 8 years old. But, I had parents who raised my siblings and I just like theirs. They did everything they could and that selfless act, leaves me humble all the time. I never lacked anything. My mother is so strong, life hasn’t always been kind to her, she’s lost so much but how she’s managed to create a beautiful life, leaves me inspired.
When you are not working, how do you spend your ‘me’ time?
Traveling. I book that ticket and just explore.
Are you in a relationship and maybe willing to give marriage a second chance?
I am open to getting married again, I love love, I love being in healthy relationship, and I do not think we were designed to be by ourselves. I know it’ll happen and I can’t wait to meet the lucky chap.
What is your greatest strength and weakness?
I can be very headstrong, it is my biggest strength, I don’t accept defeat, and I’m pretty determined. Unfortunately, it is also my weakness, I can be very unforgiving, and very hard-headed too.
What is the greatest misconception about you that you’d like to set straight?
People think they know me, they see TM and think that’s who Toke is, they are wrong.
Now that you’ve done radio, tv, and movie, what’s next for TM?
I have done radio, television, movies, I am still on YouTube, written a book, and of course, started my business. Honestly, I would like to become a filmmaker. I definitely want to have my own movie made. I have been in front of the cameras, I would like to see what it is like working behind the cameras as well and I am working towards it.