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LADIES NIGHT: (L-R) Novia McDonald-Whyte, Regina Jane Jere-Malanda, Jessia Huie, Jas and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde

I RECENTLY enjoyed a lovely Friday night at the very lush restaurant Mango Tree in Belgravia, south west London, with a set of power playing women from the industry.

At the elite and intimate dinner were British PR expert Jessica Huie, New African Woman’s editor Regina Jane Jere-Malanda, Jamaican journalist Novia McDonald-Whyte, and the biggest Nollywood starlet Omotola Jalade Ekeinde otherwise known as Omosexy!

Omotola travels across the world with and without her airline pilot husband Captain Matthew Ekeinde. How she manages to stay connected to her four children whilst abroad and working very hard is amazing.

Omotola is about to be catapulted into the international sphere with her very own reality show The Real Me, which starts on October 8 on OHTV (Sky channel 199.) Already one of Nollywood’s leading celebrities, she will soon be the Kim Kardashian of Africa with her new show.

Omotola was refreshingly open, considering she had her camera crew capturing every moment of her evening, from fork to mouth to conversations. We discussed her thoughts on London, her diva daughter Mariah (well what do you expect when you name her that), and she revealed that the only wine she drinks is port wine.

It’s often the case that the bigger the star, the more likely they are to be fully involved with numerous charitable causes, because they want to give back. Omotola is no exception, as she’s regularly involved in extensive charity work in her home country of Nigeria.

Another attribute A-listers often have is that they are articulate and opinionated and here again, Omotola fits the bill. She was brutally frank with her thoughts on her fellow African talents, citing MTV Africa’s Alex Akossi and OK Nigeria’s Alexander Amosu as top personalities.

With Novia’s input, we all discussed the various circles of black society both in Jamaica and the UK, and the differences in cultural rituals and society. It made for a very exciting and thought-provoking evening.

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Terrific Tasha


TALENT: Tasha Danvers

I know I spoke about her last week, but I was so taken by British athlete Tasha Danvers that I had to salute her again in this week’s column. Talented and articulate, the Olympic bronze medalist personifies determination and has proven that hard work really can lead to great rewards.

Tasha was such a big name at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, I wondered why she had retired to focus on TV presenting during the recent London Games. She explained: “I retired because I had just had enough. I was getting injured so much with constant niggles here and there, which would take me out of training for a week, and then another thing would happen and I’d be set back a month.

“So eventually, you get to the Olympics and it’s like, ‘I wouldn’t be able to go there and perform to the best of my ability.’ I could have probably gone on the team for decoration, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to finish my career with that kind of standard.”

Revealing what winning means to her, Tasha added: “For me, getting a bronze medal in the 400 meter hurdles was a really amazing moment because I had been through so much to get there. That year had probably been the worst in terms of preparation. I had an Achilles problem, I tore my hamstring twice, I got a virus – it got to the point when I was at my Olympic trials and I almost didn’t get picked."

“When the team list was revealed, I think the head coach received 42 texts within the first hour, asking why I had been picked. So to stand at the start line in the final was a big deal for me, as I’d already come much further than anyone expected. And when I crossed that finish line, it was just a great relief. Thinking about that moment still gives me goose bumps. It just solidified that everything I had been through was worth it.”

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