I’ve been getting marriage proposals but… —Katherine Obiang

For Katherine Obiang, now an On-Air-Personality, her love for the big screen in recent time is soaring. The humble mother of three, who loves travelling, in this interview with DUPE AYINLA-OLASUKANMI, talks about her new role as a project manager for a stage play running this month at Terra Kulture, and the reason she is still a single mother, among other issues.

YOU have been known as a TV person. Why this new passion for movies and the stage?

Well, it is always good to diversify and try new things. I am always up for new things. So, when the director, Sola Roberts, ran the idea by me and we kept talking about it, I said to him you are a young person, do something that will stand out because of your passion for the art. So, he said let’s do Elechi Amadi’s “Pepper Soup”. It is a comedy, and everybody likes to laugh. Things are so intense that we can be carried away with our everyday life; we need something to ease the stress. And I have always loved the stage.

Stage is difficult, don’t get me wrong; it’s more difficult than film. We had friends who were willing to support and PlayFactory produce it. He asked me to produce it but I just prefer to deal with project managing. People are exploring new frontiers; OAPs are going into movies; radio and TV personalities are also opening their minds to new things. So, I just felt why don’t we stay with the family and make it a Cool Wazobia and NigeriaInfo thing.

Are you considering dumping radio for movies?

I don’t think so, I think I will just try to blend it the best way I can. I don’t know which way this road is leading me to but I am flowing with it for now. I can’t say what I will do or not do.

How did you come about the selection of an OAP for the play?

Well, I just felt these are OAPs that people identify with personally, and because they have also hosted successful shows. I spoke to them and that is how the dream came true. People complained about stage, but now a lot of young producers are trying their best to resuscitate the stage. And to make it more fun, we have got some comedians too. And there is Lawal Sheriff, the news editor at Cool FM, he has a theatre background. But when you see him, you won’t know that he has an artistic side that he would like to bring out as well. And not just the regular faces that we are used to it; we also have the good fortune of working with two internationals, a French Lebanese and an American. The cross culture angle is great. It is just coincidental that everybody is coming from Cool FM and Wazobia.

Now that you are giving so much of your time to work, how do you handle the kids?

Well, the kids are currently on vacation, to resume soon. But I just have to find a way to do it. The children know about my new project and help me read out my script. My son will take Ichela, and my daughter will take Ineba, while my last daughter who can’t read yet is left in the cold, and I just give her something to occupy her. You hear the lines being delivered by children, you will laugh because they are innocent; imagine your eight-year-old reading that? And she is trying to put life into it. They know mummy is working and we have to do it together. So, the routine has been established. When they get home, they have to do their homework, leave them on the table and I can look at it when I get back. It is not easy, but I just have to balance my activities before the hair on my head turns grey. But it is exciting for them.

OAPs are known to be in the background, why are they trying to get recognition now?

I think the fact is everybody is looking for ways to conquer new borders. And because we have a disadvantage; I have been a TV person, so I know that the attention is immediate whether you like it or not. But radio, you have to struggle to put yourself out there because all they know is your name. All they know is your voice and that might sound different once you are out of the studio. Take Mayowa Lambe for example, she is a different person on radio. People would say ‘oh I love Mayowa, she is a spirited person’. But when you see her outside, you will not recognise that she is Mayowa, because she speaks pidgin on radio. So, we are trying to conquer that disadvantage; but not struggling to do this and having the interest makes all the difference. I am an accountant, but I had to do it, because my parents were against it. Now, I am in the line of communication art, so they have given up. We are working round our disadvantage to make it our advantage.

You are so busy, is there a space for a man?

I am taking a breather. Right now, I have young children. After you have been in a relationship for so long, I think it is healthy to open your mind to other things. Let’s chase money first, it will come along. When you look at your children, you want to give them so many things, so let me focus on that. My parents do ask me, especially my mum. I am busy doing so many things, which include Lekki Wives Season II. Anyone who comes into my life now is just coming to suffer. I can’t focus on that person. It is not that I don’t get attention, I do. I get all sorts of attention, but I am not ready.

I think in our society, people don’t understand when you say you are not ready. They look at me, like I must be mad; but that is the truth. For me, I don’t want to bargain, because there are so many things to consider. I am on the radio from 10am to 3pm. From that time to wherever, I am running against time and, of course, I must also pay attention to my children. By the time I am done, I hit the bed fully clothed. And by six in the morning, my son will come and put on the light, ‘mummy, it is time to wake up.’ It is a miracle I am still like this; it is God. And I can’t do any meeting before my time on radio, except I am on leave. And when I am on leave I like to travel, to go and breathe a little. But it will come; I have no doubt about that. Man matter? I don’t have power.

Do you miss being on the television?

I had an amazing time on television but I don’t really miss it. My boss (at Nigerian Info FM) recently told me we will be going on television soon, so I just might be going back to television. It doesn’t look like I have a choice.

Tell us, why the sacrifice of television for radio?

Television is more natural for me than radio but I soon became tired of the constant harassment it brought my way. And then, I had reached a point at NTA where nothing really excited me anymore. I wanted new things and to an extent, the bureaucracy there (NTA) didn’t have plans for that. Again, there was too much attention from the press – I couldn’t go anywhere without being recognised, it is still the case now though. Television was an intrinsic part of me but radio was a place to hibernate for me. Radio allowed me to be more vocal and impact more through my words as against the many distractions on television.

Having spent over a decade in the media, any personal plans?

I would like to have my own talk show and get people to talk and share experiences in a different way from what we see here; a platform where I can talk with people and help them laugh even as we share their problems. I want to bring on board all sorts of personalities; the serious-minded or light-hearted people and it would be on TV.

How did you start your journey in the Nigerian media?

It was during my one-year internship. I was working with the accounts section of a radio station and one day, the programme manager called me and asked me to read something for him, after which he asked if I had thought of doing something on radio. I gasped, but because I am always up for a challenge, I said yes when he asked if I was interested. I used to script everything I said so I can sound interesting and gradually I grew into it.

What inspired the set up of your media outfit, 2PM?

I wanted something different and unique and 2PM media was born. A small representation of what I do and all the things I can do.

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