Olayinka Olukunga Ademo, popularly known as Nnenna, is a model, actress and singer. She has a passion forÂ youths. In this interview with Tosin Clegg, she talks about her career,Â childhood and marriage
People have come to know me as Nnenna
My name is Olayinka Ademo. I got the name Nnenna, which fortunately or unfortunately has taken over my real name, from playing the role of Nnenna in one of the Super Story series titled Nnenna, Gift of Love and thatâ€™s how I got the name.
The brand has to do with children
We have four major aspects under Nnenna and Friends. We have the live show on selected dates, twice or thrice, in the year when we celebrate children who come from all over to have fun with Nnenna and her friends- comedians, musicians and all of that. We have the Nnenna and friends educational tour where we take children on educational tours within and outside the country. We call it edutainment because the children have fun and learn from tour. We also have the Brain Power game thatâ€™s strictly devoted to academics and it airs on WapTv and other stations where you have two schools compete for a grand prize. We ask them general questions and itâ€™s basically to encourage the students to also learn and at the end of every episode both students walk away with amazing prizes.
I started off as a model
I did a lot of modelling jobs with Dudu Osun, among others. Then acting came up and the Nnenna role became my major break. Surprisingly, people fell in love with that character, the face and everything, so thatâ€™s how it started for me.
Itâ€™s been fun working with others
For instance, recently, Papa Ajasco reloaded and I was on location for that and itâ€™s coming up real soon. Itâ€™s amazing and very hilarious. Lots of stars were on set and it was fun for me as I got to meet new people. People you donâ€™t get to see on a normal regular basis but now you get to see them and have fun with them. Itâ€™s been fun for me all the way and I donâ€™t have a problem with anybody.
My career as of today
I remember that when I was much younger, I used to stand in front of the mirror gesticulating and performing to myself. My mum kept wondering what was wrong with me but I knew I wanted to do something similar and work for children but didnâ€™t know what form it would take. When God opened this door and made way here for Nnenna and friends, I knew it was what God wanted me to do, and I am living my dreams.
Â Nnenna is a simple young girl
She is a wife and a mother of twins and a great lover of children outside Nnenna and friends. Nnenna loves to dance, especially salsa and I can dance anywhere. Also, I love to watch TV and disturb people.
I went to Carol Nursery and Primary School, then I moved on to Abeokuta Girls Grammar School for my secondary school and then I attended Lagos State University where I studied Marketing. For my love of children, IÂ did a post-graduate course in Educational Administration at the University of Lagos.
My father was a disciplinarian
My mum is a beautiful woman and my friend. And you could get to talk to her but dad, a disciplinarian. If he is coming you would be like â€˜where is my bookâ€™ but it was fun all the way and he loved us nonetheless. So, growing up was fun and Iâ€™m the first of four children.
Also being the big sister, I had loads of responsibility on my shoulder and that came with being the first born really. I think that has also helped me shape my life, knowing at an early stage that I had responsibilities, so I had to stay focused.
God brought us to where we are
He started with us and took us here. Then, I would say the Chairman of Wale Adenuga Productions, Mr. Wale Adenuga MFR. He believed in the brand and doing something for Children. Thatâ€™s one of the reasons itâ€™s still on. Also, I have a team that believes in it too- Faith and Rebecca.
I have lots of people working with me who love the brand and share the same love like I do towards children and somehow we have been working together and itâ€™s amazing. And we know this is just the beginning and though itâ€™s challenging, as support is one big problem and when there is no funds you can be incapacitated. But, you can only do what you can do and leave the rest to God; but if we have more support from companies we would do more. We have discovered amazing talents from Nnenna and friends who are performing acts and now in the universities, but still come back to dance at our shows and build relationships with the children. We could also have done more for them and help build their talents; with support we would be able to do more for them.
Â On being with WapTv
In the last one month, several people have been asking me â€˜whatâ€™s up.â€™ And I guess they all have this notion that I canâ€™t do any other thing outside wapTV and thatâ€™s the problem. I didnâ€™t know that before until I spoke with some people. Even when I was on set of Papa Ajasco, some people kept asking if I wasnâ€™t tired of being here. And thatâ€™s when I realised people have this mindset that I canâ€™t do anything outside WAP. But really, I can and if I get a fantastic script I would do it as I want to act and like to work with all the big names out there. I have seen their movies and their quality productions. But if it comes, then Iâ€™ll go for it.
Winning Best Child-Friendly AwardProgramme
And thatâ€™s big for us. Also, as I said earlier, not having sponsorship is our major challenge in supporting the cost for children, but what keeps me going is that when parents see me they say â€˜thank you very much for what you are doing, we love your programme.â€™ Well, thatâ€™s enough for me to continue. And when children see me, they say they love me and then I know I must be doing something good for them to look up to me, and Iâ€™m laying a good legacy for someone out there.
Mentors and role models
In production and all of its sides, I will pick Wale Adenuga. He has been able to build his business from nothing to something and I hope one day Iâ€™ll reach that height. My parents too, as regards relationship; and I have a god mother, Mrs Linda Etukudo, who talks to me a whole lot and in every area of my life. She is a great source of strength. Also, I have my friends, my husband, who understands me inside out and I can be very naughty but he still got my back.
I would love to work with Denzel Washington
I would really love to work with him. I recently listened to a speech he gave at a university and, I listen to it every day. Nonetheless, what keeps me going is â€˜do unto others as you want them to do to youâ€, and over the years that has helped me and if you want people to be nice to you, then you have to be nice to them.