By Linda Orajekwe
EbonyLifeTV presenter, producer and red carpet host, Bolanle Olukanni, popularly known as Bolinto, is a fashionista who says that fashion is not the only thing that catches her fancy. She reveals that she has other things more interesting than her fashion sense. This interview was first published in Allure Vanguard.
What’s fashion to you?
Oh my God! Fashion is everything! I love fashion; I dream fashion literary (laughs). For the last year, I’ve probably been styling myself. I think fashion is about the expression of self, you know. It’s an opportunity to show the world how you’re feeling.
So how would you describe your style?
My style is very, very me (laughs). My style is fun, easy; I don’t over think it and I don’t overdo it; but still a little bit edgy. I try to have one or two pieces that stand out but – very simple. I’m probably on the classy side of fashion and I believe less is always more.
What fashion secret do you employ to look good for your public appearances?
When I style myself, I always look and say: what’s that one thing I can take out? Because I would think that is the one thing that makes the look effortless. The key word is ‘effortless’. When I have finished, I want people to look and say ‘girl you look on point!’
What’s your beauty secret?
I don’t have a beauty secret for now because I don’t have time to spend on my skin. But right now, I’m working on drinking a gallon of water (daily) so that I can get to a point where I can just go out without any makeup. I’m also trying to get more sleep.
What’s your beauty regimen?
I always wash my face before I for to bed; trying my best to not sleep with my make-up on and I steam my face once a week so that I can clear my eyes out.
How do you think fashion has influenced or helped your brand?
I think fashion is a big player in the identity of who I am as a TV presenter and a producer. There was a point when people didn’t know what I did when they talked about me; they’re like “Oh that fashion person”.
Fashion, to many people, is inspirational. I am inspired by different people globally and locally. Right now, I’m obsessed with Rihanna. I will never wear some of the outfits she wears because I am way more conservative and comfortable in my fashion but regarding how she wears the clothes, you’ll know she’s having fun with them. That’s what fashion is to me; something you can have a good time (with). In Nigeria, there are so many people whose looks inspire me. People like Enemaya Lawani, Toke Makinwa, Somkele Idhalama and Zainab Balogun; these people, I will try their looks. Like for the past two days, my fashion has been more like Somkele’s. Now that I think about it, I think it’s classy and clean.
Do you exercise?
I do. I work out four times a week. Although it’s a new thing, I do work out.
How do you relax?
I sit down in my house and do nothing. I turn off my phone. I have a habit of always using my phone till (the battery goes) dead and once it dies, I don’t turn it back on.
What’s your ideal vacation?
My ideal vacation would be the Maldives. But the truth is, my ideal vacation would be anywhere that has a nice hotel. I’m cool with it as long as the hotel is nice. So globally, it is Maldives, and in Africa, South Africa does it for me. Give me Cape Town anytime. I’m obsessed with South Africa.
So what are you passionate about in life?
I love TV; I love content; I love entertaining people. I am very passionate about people in general. I am passionate about self-development; having the ability to empower people.
I currently work with an NGO that works with widows called Self-Worth Organisation. I am now working on a documentary on what it means to be a widow in Nigeria because I feel women are marginalized. People just forget and mistreat them because there is a belief that if you don’t have a man as your protector, you don’t have as much value and that’s not true. The documentary will shed some light on the things happening with these women; the obstacles and challenges that they face (when) their husbands pass away.
We also have a skills acquisition centre where about 80 women are learning skills like tailoring, catering and make-up. So I’m passionate and excited about empowering people because a lot of people are suffering in Nigeria and we can’t keep pretending we don’t see them. I’m using my platform and network to help them and give them hope.
What’s your watch word in life?
“Follow your gut; it will lead you to glory”. We all have instincts and whenever I follow mine, it leads me to where I know I want to get to so, I’ve learned the hard way to follow it and you wouldn’t want to start regretting when you don’t.
Fashion rule, life rule and beauty rule?
For fashion rule: be yourself and do you.
Beauty rule: drink a lot of water.
Life rule: be nice to people.