Watching this dark skin presenter on television, many questions come to one’s mind on her state of origin, her kind of person outside the screen? But meeting her one on one, you will be held spellbound at the way she talks and jumps around you like an innocent baby.
One of the Entertainment Splash presenters, Ajifa Atuluku better known as Ajay, is one face on TV that is becoming a darling of many because of her infectious smiles. She is averagely tall, dark and lovely, a beauty to behold and above all, naturally blessed, but she is very picky about her friends.
She spoke exclusively with Nigeriafilms.com, revealing her personal life to us, her journey into journalism, among other issues. Though single, but she is not ready to get married to a celeb. She explained that settling down with a celebrity would be a hard choice to make except it is beyond her will.
So, tell us about yourself and growing up in such a wonderful family?
My name is Ajifa Atuluku. I was born and brought up in Lagos from a family of four children, though a very large family, but biological children we were four. My dad is late, but I still have my mum alive. I am the third child of four children. I am a graduate of Mass Communication from Covenant University. I went to Queens College, Lagos. Growing up for me was very interesting because my parents were very hand-on and I was my dad’s favourite even though my other siblings would not want to admit that, but I was my dad’s favourite because we were very close before he passed on. It was a really nice life growing up that even as children, we had no problems and we don’t know what was going on so it was nice and I had a great time but most of my life has been in Lagos though, primary school, secondary school, but my university was in Ogun state, which is pretty much near Lagos. I am a very jovial, fun and outgoing person but if you get to know me properly, then you will know that I am very picky about people, I am very, very particular about friends. I talk to everybody but I can count my friends at one hand. I am very friendly, outspoken, down-to-earth and I am very real and i will tell you my mind. I don’t keep things, I don’t get angry, for you to get me angry, you need to be a proper witch. So, that is just me.
What did you intend to do while in school?
Honestly, I never thought I was going to be a presenter. Although in school, I used to do all this kind of things, like in school, you will be part of broadcasting and hosting shows. So, I used to do that in school. I never thought it was going to be a profession. It was just by mistake that I entered into profession. I actually wanted to go into advertising or public relations, that was my original plan while studying Mass Communication, but as God would have it, this is where i am today.
So, how did you join TVC?
Well, not TVC, but into broadcasting as a whole. I was an MC at my friend’s birthday and one of the people who attended was Mofe Duncan. He said, ‘ah, Hi-TV, we are trying to recruit, we are looking for someone to present and I think you will do a good job,’ I was like ‘please go and sleep.’ I told myself that I was not going to attend the auditions but my very close friend, Amiola kept saying ‘let’s go that she wants to try too’ so I went with her, she tried out so I said let me do same also and the next day, the producer called me and said, ‘hi sis, we want you to come and work for us, please we hate your hair style and please change it before you come.’ So, I did that and that was how I started working the following week. So, that was how I started broadcasting as a whole with Hi-TV. Then from there I moved to TVC where I am now. Because as at the time, the two stations were in the same compound and most of the TVC staffs were from HI-TV and that was how it worked for me.
Did you join the entertainment beat at TVC?
No. When I came here, I was brought here as a producer and I was brought here to do a completely different show, but as time would have it, I started working with Labi on Entertainment Splash, she was presenting the show at the time and I joined her team of as an associate producer of the show at the time and at a point, she needed a break, like venturing into other forms of entertainment, other shows. She later pushed me into the programme and because they knew I presented a show at Hi-TV, I was given the go ahead to present Entertainment Splash. At first, Labi was allowed to do three episodes in a week, while I completed the two remaining episodes until I became the main presenter of the show. I later asked for a co-anchor and Akah came on board.
You seem to enjoy the job now
Yes, very well. Well, I think it’s anything that is able to get somebody to just have a good time. Something, to be able to put a smile on one’s face, to get them to laugh, help to make them ask questions like, ‘what just happened,’ to help them to get a double take of what they have seen and what they hear. You know anything that is delightful to anybody is entertainment to me. So basically, entertainment is to be enjoyed, anything you see, that you watch, anything that you listen to, that makes you happy is entertainment to me.
But some people have said that the programme has lost its vibe since Labi left
Well, I don’t know where people are getting that opinion from. The truth is that Labi has been on the show for a long time. She has made the show what it was at the time when i got into the show. So, we had to give up props that without her, the show wouldn’t have gotten to where it was first of all before we now came and brought our own extra followership. Now, if people are saying that the show has dropped, then I really don’t understand because the show is getting better ratings now figuratively by calculating numbers. I don’t know, I think the show is still entertaining and every single day, we calculate a new number of followers online. Maybe for this year, maybe we have been a little bit out of it because of elections and all of that, but I don’t think the show has dropped in any way and it is getting better as the day goes by through God’s grace.
What else do you do at TVC?
For TVC, I am also a producer. I work on a show called ‘Boombox’. I am one of the co-producers of the show also i work on a TVC news programme called ‘Trends.’ I handle all their online production; that is everything that has to do with Twitter, Facebook e.t.c. So, I work on that aspect for TVC news and it is more serious, but i also produce Entertainment Splash as well.
As a presenter, have you ever had any wardrobe/makeup malfunction?
Yes o, well, not too sure. But to be honest, there are some times when I revisit past editions of the show and I ask myself if I actually a particular dress. Such is bound to happen, you can’t get everything right. Sometimes, your makeup could be wrong, sometimes your wardrobe could be wrong and sometimes it does not flatter you, sometimes, when you look at yourself on TV, you look nice and when you come off air, you look like a Baboon. That’s just life; you can’t get everything right because you are not a perfect human being. Of course, there have to be malfunctions but it’s just what you do afterwards and how you are able to correct such later. Like now, if i see that i looked horrible in yellow, next week, i will not wear that colour. It’s just about learning from your mistakes and move on.
It seems you are married to your job
(Laughs), I would like to say I am married to my job but no, I am not. I spend a lot of time at TVC, yes, but i also have my own stuff that I do which takes my time. I am a choreographer and a dancer and sometimes, i host events and sometimes I cover red carpet events and other independent jobs I do personally. Most of my weekends are filled with events and stuff for TVC as well. But, there is no guy, there is nobody that has a problem with my work for now, so there is no guy but when the guy comes, I will let you know how he feels.
Can you get married to an entertainer?
Jesus, it depends on the entertainer. To be honest, i wouldn’t want to date anyone in this industry (entertainment). I can even manage journalism because there is serious journalism but entertainment industry is a very fast industry and there is no way two people who are hot can work together. I can be going for shows and events and my husband too has one show to go and perform or something; there just need to be a balance in life and i think that me basically, i wouldn’t want to date someone in the entertainment industry but it depends. You see this thing they call ‘love,’ it can mess some people up. But if it happens and i begin to like a person as an entertainer, there is nothing I can do about it, but you will still find out that in the element of that person being in entertainment, he will be like a very calm and quiet type. Someone, like Terry G and I will not flow because he is very ‘Gingered’ even though in real life, he is actually a gentle and calm person but I am just saying. So, I don’t think I would date an entertainer if I have my way. That is just my opinion.
How do you deal with times fans call into your programme to spoil your mood?
It has actually happened. When I started working on Entertainment Splash, you know Labi had some set of fans, people that did not want her to leave the show and they did not understand her plans for herself rather, they just love Entertainment Splash and Labi. When I came in, I looked like the outsider to them and on one particular show, three people called consecutively and said ‘what’s this girl doing here and things like that, ‘get off the set, where is Labi and all of that’. Guess what, the show is the show and it must go on that is what separate you from unprofessional presenters. You need to be able to have a thick skin for you to be in this industry whether you are an artiste, actor, anything you are doing, you need to be able to dust off criticisms, you need to be able to dust off people who are trying to bring you down because there will always be those people. So when it happened on the show, i was just smiling like, ‘hello, hi, okay, thank you very much for calling,’ and i had to call for a break just to relax myself but when you are on air, you cannot let your face give away what is going on. Even if you are dying inside, you need to be able to have that poker face so the show must go on because it’s all about the show. Whatever happens outside the show is no one’s business but the show has to go on.
Is your programme more about gossips?
I will correct you there, it is only on Fridays we do what you call gossip and if you watch the show, you will find out that i quote wherever I get them from and i use words like allegedly or apparently because we are not sure. So, if I am getting it from a blog site, I will say according to???, because we stand to be vulnerable to plagiarism. So I make sure that we quote wherever we are getting it from I mean i work in production as well, so we quote wherever we are getting stories from. So what you call gossip is that we are quoting from where we got the stories from and we are telling you allegedly, according to ??? This is what they are saying and this is what is happening, then i give my opinion and I say, ‘I am not sure if this is true but if it is, this is what i think.’ So if you pay close attention to that segment which is only on Fridays, we try our best to quote people as possible so that we don’t have libellous issues on our heads. So it’s not gossip or somebody said this and that, no, we give you facts and figures.
But why don’t you drill your celebrity guests on trending issues?
Honestly, if there is something pressing about that celebrity, we will ask them the question, but when we bring people on top 10, we bring people to countdown their top 10 songs at the time. So, if you throw in a couple of questions in between, it’s not supposed to be serious except something is happening at the time. Tell me, are people not tired of finding out ‘when were you born, when did you start music,’ those are the kind of cliché questions that everybody ask, so i try my best to get the people that come on the show into their comfort zone that they feel they are at home. So it’s just going to be all of us chilling, why you tell us your top 10 songs at the time. Every Thursday, that’s what we do. But if there is anything that has happened and we need to find out from them, we will ask the question but Thursdays are not for serious talk.
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© 2015 Nigeriafilms.com