Why I dumped engineering for showbiz

Maryanne Ahneeka Iwuchukwu is an ex BBN housemate, model, engineer, entrepreneur and TV host of the newly created Jollof Show. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde she talked about her experience as TV host, motivation and more.

Which edition of Big Brother Nigeria were you on?

I was on the double wahala edition of the Big Brother Naija Reality show. That was three years ago. I have moved on from there to TV presenting and entrepreneurship.

I am the spice of everything. I am a chemical engineer and I am also an entrepreneur. If I give you my portfolio, you would run. Right now, I am not practicing as an engineer because I have a lot on my plate. I am also into education, I am an educator. I don’t have a physical school yet but we are working on that. I am very keen on education and I am also an entrepreneur. I seek out different business ventures and I put my hands in different things. I have a degree in chemical Engineering and I am getting a degree in Education from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

Tell us about your experience on Big brother?

It has nothing to do with what I am doing now. This show is not the Big Brother show and I prefer to focus on what I am doing now. I am the host of the Jollof TV show produced by Zikel Cosmetics. The idea was berthed by Zikel and he approached me to be a part of it. Then I was doing something like this on Instagram called Showbiz Patrol and he wanted me to do same with the project. I must say that even before Big Brother I had always been a host. So, that naturally is a continuation of my life.

How did this begin?

I was working with Linda Ikeji as a Red Carpet host. Then, I moved on to Hip TV as a Red Carpet host before I went to Big Brother Nigeria. That happened and then I came out. And I am still doing what I am doing because that is what I am good at. So, this show came up, we worked on it and it was supposed to start in March. We filmed it all through March, Post the COVID and we were able to get guests to come around and have fun with us. So, basically the Jollof Show is about having interactions with your favourite celebrities. Also, you get to learn a few things about lifestyle. This show is not just about coming to have fun, we learn things about fitness, grooming, about your weight, working out, use of slim teas and we learn a lot of things here. That is the lifestyle segment and then we move on to the trending segment, here we talk about what is trending in the world around us and fill our viewers in, just in case they missed it. Next, we go to the celebrity part where we interact with your favourite celebrities, have fun with them, get to know their deepest secrets, eat and find out what they are about. So, it’s just about coming together, have a beautiful blend of spices just like the jollof rice that we enjoy in Nigeria. It’s just the same feeling that you get when you eat the Nigerian Jollof rice. It is the best thing that has happened to rice. It is something that is shared at every event. It is something that cuts across every tribe. So, the show has something for everyone. The context of what jollof means is what we are applying on the show. No better word to describe as how jollof feels.

When is the show going on air?

The show is going to be airing on WAP TV, DSTV ,GOTV, StarTimes and other terrestrial channels from the first Friday in May by 8.30pm . We are going to have a fresh episode every Friday and repeat on regular days for this season.

What informs the choice of your guests?

When it comes to lifestyle, we need to get someone who is an expert in what we are going to be talking about. If we are going to be educating people then we need someone who has a sound background about whatever we are going to be talking about. For instance, if we are talking about Make up, then you need to get the best Make-up artist. If it is fitness, then you need to be schooled in that discipline. So, that is what informed our lifestyle guests. Our regular guest are people that you like to see, your favourite celebrities that you want to know more things about them. Then we get to ask them the questions that you wish we could ask them.

We also tried to make sure that our individual brands do not affect the quality of what we are trying to put out. In future, we may decide to have sponsored segments. We hope people like what we have done in this first season and improving in our output. All this would shape our direction for the next show.

What makes your show different from others?

So, our difference is the efforts that we put in to make sure that we get the right information across. We do background research on the people we call on to give information. Also, we make it fun because sometimes learning can be boring. We make it a fun way so that you will not feel bad for not knowing something. It’s a mix of fun and entertainment. And also a mix of education, that is the most important thing. We have a platform where they can comment on who they want to see on the program next week.

What was the inspiration for you?

Zikel and I have a strong relationship on the Make-up brand. So, I can’t do anything that would be a reproach to myself. I believe in the show, I believe in what the show stands for and the services it chose to offer. If you are too busy to know what is happening in the world, you have a run down. I believe in the message of the show and that is what drew me to the show. I am doing something like that and it is called Showbiz patrol. But this show brings it all together as fun, entertainment and information. It’s a 30 minutes time but the running time is 20 to 26 minutes. Productions can be very chaotic, there was a time that we were recording and the dogs were really barking. So, there are things that could go wrong but you need to get a good producer that is hands on. All those things that happened on the set affect the production. Also finding guest is a challenge, you know who celebrities can be, there time schedule and all that. Our production manager, camera crew all put in their best. I bring my personality to the show, my quest to have fun in all that I do. In the last style segment, when things went wrong I infused my lucky go character into it. In my dressing, I had a stylist that I had to work with but in future I would try to incorporate my own styles.

-The Nation


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