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From Obscurity to Continent-Wide Fame

02 Feb 2013

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Cynthia Okpala was until recently MTV’s only Nigerian VJ. This graduate of Ebonyi State University won the competition in 2007 and has since hosted MTV & MTN Naija Hits on MTV Base and STV. This natural extrovert told Azuka Ogujiuba how winning the MTV VJ Search turned her life around

How did your journey as an MTV VJ begin?
It all Began in September 2007 when I saw the promo for the auditions. I and a couple of my friends decided to enter and I emerged the Lagos finalist. After three weeks of competing with the other regional finalists, I emerged the winner of the first MTV Base VJ search.

Tell us the advantages and disadvantages of this job?
The only way to go with that kind of job is up! It opens so many doors, everyone knows you by name and (it) shoots you up five steps in your career. The only snag might be learning to deal with the pressure of sudden fame.

What does your job entail?
It entails hosting shows, interviewing celebrities and important people, travelling and sometimes writing scripts.

Did winning the competition give the career satisfaction you expected?
Oh, yes! And much more, I was recently telling one of my producers at MTV that I didn’t realise how much I had learnt. I cannot only hold my own amongst presenters around the world, I can create world class television content. I couldn’t have bought that kind of experience with money.

So now that there is a new winner, what happens to you?
MTV is still a family. I am already putting all my MTV experience to work on a new project. I cannot talk about it because of contract limitations, but I am a TV girl.

As a young woman growing up what where you aspiring to be before you won the competition?
MTV was my first job straight out of university. I always thought I was going to do music. After winning the search I thought I would do MTV for a bit and then do music, but I have fallen in love with the way good television and movies are made and that’s who I am now.

Are you a fashionista?
It depends on what your description of fashionista is. If we are talking comfortable and appropriate for the occasion, then yes, I am.

What is your most memorable fashion moments?
I wore this outfit by MAI for the 2010 Future Awards and it was totally gorgeous. Love that look till forever.
Which celebrity would you like to interview on MTV that you have not yet?
I watched the MTV Base Meets with MTN interview with Alek Wek and I wished I had done it. It was an inspiring grass to grace story.

Who in the world will you like to dine with?
The Obamas.


Which star’s phone would you like to flip through?
Kim Kardashian. She’s naughty.


Which celebrity in the world do you think has a near complete perfect life style?
Perfection is elusive but I think Omotola has managed to find a balance between family, work and fame.


Which celebrity in the world do you think has the sexiest body?
Halle Berry has a to-die-for body.


What outfit can you not be caught dead in?
See-through outfits. Won’t be caught dead in them

Who is Cynthia Okpala?
I am a fun-loving, carefree woman who puts God and family first.

How old are you?
27 years.

Tell us about your background?
I’m from a family of five children. I’m the middle child and second daughter. I schooled in MD Nursery and Primary School, Command Day Secondary School, Ikeja and Ebonyi State University where I studied computer science.

If you had to go on an island for an exotic weekend, what are the five things you will take along?
My hubby, son, Ipod, bible and our PS3 console.


Quick Resume
Profession - MTV music presenter - or video jockey, if you prefer that

Previous job - Got the job straight from school

Age - 27 years

Most memorable fashion moments - Wore a “totally gorgeous” outfit by MAI for the 2010 Future Awards - a look she loves “till forever”

Tags: Life and Style, Cynthia Okpala

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