Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori: Queen Of Humour
Words By – Jemi Ekunkunbor
Bukunmi Adeaga-Ilori aka Kie Kie is one rib cracker who quickly catapulted herself into a social media star, amassing over 2milion followers, with her ever so hilarious skits on instagram.
The award-winning digital content creator, brand influencer and event host, won the hearts of many on Instagram, for staying true to herself and her craft, with a system of delivery which infuses comedy in all she does.
Through her humorous and entertaining social media posts, she rose to fame online and is one of the most famous IG comedians whose creativity also earned her career spot in Nollywood. The Bowen University Mass Communication graduate is the proud recipient of this years AMVCA award for Best Online Social Content Creator. She shares her career journey, winning the AMVCAs, life as a wife and mother amongst other issues.
Congratulations on emerging as the AMVCA Best Online Social Content Creator. How does that make you feel and what does it mean to you?
Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. Its my first win. It feels very good, I feel excited, I feel honoured, most importantly, because its such a great feeling to be appreciated for work done. I have been doing this for about 10 years now and I would like to say a big thank you to Africa Magic and AMVCA, for creating a platform that allows fans and family around the world to vote and appreciate talents. I feel really honoured.
What would you say is your unique selling point that stands you out from other content creators?
For me, my unique selling point remains being myself, there can only be a better me. I can be better than what I was yesterday; I cannot be a better version of somebody else. Being me, staying true to my craft and my system of delivery; infusing comics into almost everything that I do, and doing it while staying in touch with me, is that one thing that sells me out extraordinarily.
From your online content, you are obviously very creative, at what point in life did you discover your creative flair and how did you harness it?
Interestingly, I have always been in that entertainment space; from dancing in secondary school, to being in the drama team. I was also in the choir, and an instrumentalist.
I studied Mass Communication because Ive always wanted to be in the media space and after that, I studied Digital Marketing, as though I had seen to the future that I was going to become a brand influencer someday.
Coming back to Nigeria after school, I really wanted to be on television. So, I started as a Tv producer and a presenter, even though I had bragged at some point to be a stylist (a fashion stylist). However, I started creating my own content in 2014 when I did the Style It With Kiekie, Style connect and Style network.
These are shows that were tailored to fashion contents but then, a lot of people who watched the show, would come up to me and say, from the way I speak, I am very funny, how about me doing more in that space. Then, I started throwing Kiekie bants here and there, and just dropped one video at different intervals. I dropped one Mokalik and that went viral, it was my first viral content and that was indeed how I was able to confirm that being original to me is that one thing that will sell me. Fast forward a couple of months after that, Covid happened and I started doing more of the Kiekie bants and people fell in love with my character as a person.
How do you get inspiration for the contents you create?
As a content creator, I am inspired by almost everything around me; people, location, occurrences, excitement, everything excites me, and everything inspires me. I always say to people- everything around you is content, it is left for you to decide which one you are pushing, and which one you are not. So, practically, everything around me inspires me and like I said before, because I like to stay in tune with who I am, I always infuse that originality into everything that I do. So, when you see my work you would always recognise it.
What do you love and hate about it?
What I love about it is that it allows me to be anything, everything, whenever and however; no limits. I could be any character. When I say no limits, that does not mean that I do not have my own moral compass that I work with; I do, but, I’m just saying I could and its just like being an actor, you could play any role, any time. Because you’re killing someone in the film does not make you a murderer in real life, so its just that space that allows you to be everything.
About what I hate, I honestly do not hate any part of it. I genuinely love what I do, I’m grateful for it, I’m grateful that God has given me this talent and I’m super grateful that He’s given me the grace to be able to find it. I’m even more grateful that He’s given the space to continue to grow in it.
As a new mum, how do you schedule your posting-related tasks and your motherly role?
Being a mom is very challenging and then my work is extremely challenging as well, because in the content space, the content is time based, everything is moving. As time is moving, trends are popping. So, being a mum and being a content creator is really challenging but the beautiful thing is, I’ve got such a huge support system; my parents, my husband and my siblings, so that makes it a lot easier. I would say, I just take a step at a time. I don’t overwork myself, I dont put myself under unnecessary pressure. I tell myself every time that, whatever I do, however I do it, is the best I can do because, being a mother on its own is a lot of work.
When would you decline a paid sponsorship?
I would decline a paid sponsorship if it doesn’t align with my own moral standard. Like I said before, everybody has a limit. There are some things I dont believe in, and I dont subscribe to, so anything that falls outside of my moral scope, I would definitely turn it down and I’ve done that a couple of times; and it feels like the right thing to do.
You are also an actress, how did you get your breakthrough in Nollywood? And how has it been so far?
I think I got the break into the film industry from my skit. A few directors and producers in the country realised this girl is equally as good as an actor, from my contents, then I started receiving scripts, very interesting ones. The ones that I love, are the ones that you see me in. Also, because I do not want to be stereotyped and boxed as the jester. I would rather be seen as an actor than a jester. Im grateful for that skit platform because that was literally what pushed me into the film space.
As one who is in the limelight, you are not allowed to repeat a dress or be seen in a certain light by fans, how do you handle this pressure?
Pressure? No, thats not me .I am very comfortable in my skin. I have clothes that I have worn a couple of times, I just restyle them; try on different hair, different accessories and shoes thats all. Im not under pressure but, the exciting thing is sometimes, in this space, when you get to some level, you actually have designers and stylists willing to work with you because they know they are going to get some certain exposure from working with you. But outside that, I have clothes I have worn multiple times, Im not pressured by things like that because I am very realistic and the way Ive built my platforms, I want people to come on there, be happy and excited, no pressure whatsoever, but great vibes always. However, if I see anybody trying to introduce any type of negative vibe I dont connect with, I disconnect with that person.
How do you deal with social media trolls? Social media trolls do not exist in my space. I just feel like these are human beings who are trying to get as much attention as possible and Im not up for it. If that is what youre trying to do with me, it just wont work; I just dont pay attention. If I have 3,000 comments saying Go Kiekie, Go KieKie, Go, that means the world to me. If 20 people are speaking negatively or otherwise, Im definitely not listening.
Where were you born and what was growing up like for you?
I was born in Ibadan and I also grew up in Ibadan. Im the last born of my family. My secondary school was in Ibadan. I went to Bowen University for my B.sc where I read Mass Communication. Growing up for me was really exciting, being the last child of the house. I was pampered by my parents and my older siblings. Attending Bowen University was sharpening for me because that was where I started to exhibit my fashion interest. So, growing up for me was quite exciting.
What informed your choice of career as a teenager?
Honestly, I owe it to my parents because I have always been the type that likes to talk. I remember my dad saying to me one day that, if I must talk, then I must say something meaningful. The next day in school, I joined the literary and debating club and that was how I started speaking professionally to an audience. Right after that, if you asked me as a child what do you want to become, I would tell you I want to be a newscaster. I have always wanted to be in the media space. I have always wanted to be in the entertainment space and you know, being in secondary school and in the dance group as a drummer and chorister, all these things just formed my choice in life.
What is the best advice you have ever received in life?
The best advice I have ever received in life was from my dad which is The moment you discover you, you unlock the beginning of your future. Once you discover that unique thing about yourself, its like unlocking your depth of wealth, unlocking your success, unlocking your upward growth; its just phenomenal.
How would you describe yourself in five words?
Energetic, fun, family- oriented, career-driven and firm.
You have a very good sense of style. What does style mean to you?
Style is a direct reputation of who you are, how you see yourself, how you feel, and how you want to be seen. Style is just a material expression of who you are. So, to me style remains my person, who I am.
What do you love about fashion?
What I love most about fashion is that it allows me to be whoever I want to be; today, Im chic; tomorrow, Im formal; next tomorrow, Im casual or sporty. Fashion allows me to be whoever and I love that.
What makes you smile and what scares you the most?
What makes me smile is when I do something that is better than what I did yesterday. That always makes me smile. What scares me the most is the thing that comes with what I do. Sometimes, I just want to be me, I just want to walk into the market, into the store, or the airport and just be me, be happy, be jumpy and be alive but, the thing that comes with the job, kind of boxes you sometimes. That is quite scary.
What is your greatest strength and weakness?
My greatest strength is how I have constantly trained myself over the years to be me, you know there is a lot of noise everywhere, somebody is popping today, a particular style is trending tomorrow, a particular thing is making the rounds, but what has remained my strength is the fact that I have trained myself to be unique to myself and to be genuine. Thats the only thing if not the most important thing that has been selling my craft over the years.
My weakness is the fact that I sometimes push myself too much and in the moment of my weakness, I take a pause, I reflect and Im able to genuinely tell myself, Kiekie relax, nobody is chasing you.
If you have to advise young people out there who look up to you for inspiration, what would you tell them?
What I am going to tell the young people out there is the same thing I have said over 10 times during the course of this interview which is, you have to be unique to yourself. You can only be a better version of yourself; you cannot be a better version of somebody else.
Remember the advice I got from my dad; when you genuinely unlock your true potentials that is unlocking your greatness. So please do not waste time trying to be like somebody else but, focus on discovering yourself and you would realise that the sky would not be able to hold you down.