Canada-based multifaceted talent, Sophia Oladiran, is one of the gifted hands raising the country’s flag high in Diaspora. Sophia is the CEO of MyTime Canada. She has also carved a niche for herself in fashion, catering and humanitarian services, among others. She talks with Chinedu Ibeabuchi about her career and what life overseas offers compared to motherland
Could you let us into your background?
I was brought up in Lagos. My dad is from Ilesha and my mom from Abeokuta. I had my B.Sc in Business Administration from the University of Ilorin. I have acquired several Diplomas here in Canada. I’m lucky enough to come from two different families. I’m a mother of two adorable and wonderful children.
Tell us your childhood experience and how it has helped to shape you?
There are so many childhood experiences I would love to refer to. I remember when I was younger, from five years if memory serves me right, I loved to entertain, dance, sing and act in drama. Right from my primary school, at St Mary’s Day Nursery & Primary school, I would participate in the cultural dance and drama play. I grew up listening to music of different genre and watched different movies. My siblings and I would entertain my Dad, his friends and the rest of the family. And he would spray us five kobo or N1 note back then, which was a lot of money for a youngster. Thinking back now, all this helped to build and shape my confidence along with other experiences. Back then, I was only doing it all for fun.
Can you recall any childhood pranks that landed you in trouble?
Yes, I did just like every other child. Being mischievous and smart in my own childlike mind which in turn got me in a lot of trouble and got spanked from mom or dad.
You’ve made your presence in the showbiz industry in Canada in just a short while. What do you think you’ve been doing differently?
First, it’s to the grace and favour of God; then followed by people who have given me opportunities and support.
Was showbiz your first love?
Nope, it was doing business, funny enough (chuckles).
What motivated your interest in showbiz?
I kept finding myself drawn into it. But seriously, when certain things come to you naturally, you need motivation, more of encouragement, support, love and discipline.
Did you get express nod from your parents to become a broadcaster?
Well, because I choose this path at a much older age, they were more supportive. But I’m sure if I had started younger it would be a big no!
Are your family members proud of what you’re doing now?
Yes, they are, especially my kids. And for those that are not, too bad (laughs).
How has life been as an entertainment personality?
In all, it’s been a hell of fulfilling ride.
Any regret taking this path?
Absolutely None. Only regret is I wish I had started earlier in life.
Could you reveal a few imaginary characters you have in your head while growing up?
I wished I was a famous singer then, considering I can’t sing to save my life.
As a woman, mother, humanitarian, a woman in media, and an entrepreneur. How do you manage all these?
I try not to look at all these stated labels. I just see myself as Olakemi and a mom, then everything follows. I try my best to take it one day at a time. The good, bad and ugly.
As a presenter in a “foreign land”, how has the experience been?
I don’t think there is much difference. I have been presenting only in Canada, and don’t have any point of reference or experience outside Canada.
Which segment of the audience do you appeal to?
Myself as a brand, I appeal to anyone who aims to do better in their lives; anyone who enjoys humour with a bit of sassiness. I also appeal to youth who aspire to make impact in their generation.
Have you ever been fat-shamed before?
That term “fat-shame” would only apply if I am ashamed of my weight. I’ve always been comfortable with my weight. I’ve always been chubby and I’m not ashamed of it.
How vibrant will you say the entertainment industry is in Canada? Is it as vibrant as Nigeria?
They both have their different flavours.
How do you feel when people tend to appreciate your curves more than the beauty itself?
I’m appreciative and I say thank you, but would rather they appreciate my beautiful mind.
What’s your biggest fear at this point in your life?
I try not to dwell on fear but enjoy the moment.
What would you consider the most interesting part of your job?
The experience, the curves thrown at me and the different kind of people I’ve met along the way.
From your own assessment, do you think the Nigeria government has done enough to support the creative industry?
No, they have not. I don’t think there is anything in place to build or encourage the creative industry in Nigeria. But I could be partly wrong.
What books have you read that affected your life most positively?
A lot. It’s hard for me to decide because each one has helped me in one way or the other. But the best of them all is the “Book of Life Experiences”.
How do you unwind/relax?
Sleeping. That’s the perfect act of relaxation.
What is your life philosophy?
My philosophy is based on simplicity. Try and be good as best as you can. Do what makes you happy. Do what you love, and love what you do.
How would you describe your person?
Simple, realistic and, according to my kids, the best mom ever. (chuckles).
What is your advice to Nigerian youth?
It’s hard to advise a Nigerian youth from this side of the world simply because the conditions faced by a youth in Nigeria is not palatable for growth and development. I’m just being honest.
The question should be what is my advice to youths and I would answer by saying, when you discover what you’re good at, build on it, ask for help, and if help doesn’t come on time, charge on. No matter the career path you choose, get educated, no matter how little. Be strong, be ambitious, be contented, work smart and hard.
Would you consider yourself a fashion freak?
Nope, my sense of style or fashion is too simple to qualify me for it, but I can bring it on when I choose to.
What does fashion mean to you?
Feeling sexy, comfortable and most times simple.
What’s your typical day like?
My typical day is getting my kids ready and off to school, then heading out for my business of the day.
What’s your next conquest?
Working on a project for kids. Also continue being an advocate for care and cure for breast cancer.
What’s your favourite food?
Is there anything you will never be caught wearing?
Not really. If I like it and I feel comfortable in it, I’m wearing it. If I don’t like, then I don’t wear it.
Do awards mean anything to you and have they been coming?
For the ones I have received, I’m very grateful for them. To be appreciated and recognised by my peers, colleagues or by people and organisations who appreciate my contributions in anyway is always a wonderful feeling.