360Chat With MTV Base’s Stephanie Coker

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With her infectious personality and charming wit, Stephanie Coker is one of the most sought after TV presenters in Africa. After winning MTV UK’s “Find my Freederm” presenter competition, the budding presenter relocated to Nigeria to host her own weekly show on MTV Base, capturing the hearts of young people across Africa.  The fun and bubbly presenter also doubles up as an on air radio personality and has hosted events for international brands including Bacardi and Pepsi.

Hailing from North London she is no stranger to UK television having reported for Sky’s community channel, discussing issues affecting people in London at grassroots level. Stephanie had always sought to use her love and talents in media Relations as a means of restructuring many false Western perceptions about Africa. And with a staunch passion for the African Culture, Entertainment and Fashion industry, she was commissioned by OHTV, (UK) for a documentary she made on young Nigerians about “Christmas in Lagos”

Armed with a degree in media and communications the Brit is also a writer and has had her work featured in UK publications such as “The Voice”.   Stephanie Coker has over time through her achievement driven home the fact that beauty with brains is still very much inherent in the world today.

Her OAP position at one of Nigerian’s top radio stations, Cool FM  gave her access to interview international and local superstars, Chris Aire, Tichina Arnold, Genevieve Nnaji, to name a few. Stephanie has worked for the International brand MTV for over a year and has made great waves in the industry. Her determination and drive have also reflected in the increasing number of projects she has worked on in a short space of time. Stephanie’s love for the screen is also evident in ELTV, a new TV network airing in countries across Europe, USA and Africa.

Education Background- what school did you attend? When did you discover you had a passion for acting?


I attended St Mary’s Church of England Primary school in North London. It was a really small school where Christianity was taken very seriously. That’s where I discovered my love for storytelling and acting. My favorite subject was English, my teacher often gave me golden stars for my stories. I told stories with so much conviction that my peers believed that some characters actually existed.  At parents evening my teachers were able to convince my mum to enroll me into drama school. The fees were so high and I was already attending Saturday school and at that time extra studies was much more important to my parents than drama school. So myself and some friends at school managed to convince our principal to start an after school dance and drama class. I performed a lot of the routines and scenes for my aunties and uncles whenever they’d come to my house, and they all nicknamed me alajota (dancing for sales). I made quite a bit of money during school holidays.


What inspired you to move to Nigeria?


My move to Nigeria was not at all planned. I got a callback from an audition and packed my bags within two days. My parents were so confused as to why I’d want to move to a place that I’d never lived in before and practically didn’t know anybody. It was quite funny because I always told them that I wanted to move but I don’t think they ever took me seriously. I’ve always had a safety net living in London with my parents. For me I have learnt so much more about life living in Nigeria than I have my entire 22 years spent in the UK.


Comparing the work dynamics of working in Nigeria versus working abroad.


Working in the Nigerian entertainment industry is a completely different ball game compared to the UK. There are a lot more avenues and ways of finding out about auditions in the UK, here you have to keep your ear on the ground and network. However there are a lot more opportunities out here especially because it’s not about being the novelty black girl. In the UK, a mainstream media company might like you, but if they already have a black person on their platform then its basically a rap. Whereas here I feel like I am appreciated more for my talent and my colour is irrelevant. Saying that, I sometimes wish that companies could look past the whole accent thing. Being a good presenter isn’t about the way you speak, but how you engage the audience with your personality.


Current Job and Experience


Prior to moving to Nigeria, I reported for Sky’s community channel, discussing issues affecting Londoners at grass root level. I have always sought to use my love and talents in media relations to  restrict many false Western perceptions about Africa. In 2010 I was commissioned by OHTV, (UK) for a documentary she made on young Nigerians about “Christmas in Lagos”. In 2011 I was named a future Power Leader by Deloitte and Google and since then I have endeavored to take on jobs that depict Africa in a positive light. I have always loved the MTV brand and when I was given the job to present for the countdown show “Street Request” for MTV Base Africa I was ecstatic, especially because the show is shot outdoors and roams around Lagos engaging with Nigerian youth. I also host a few shows on the Ebonylife TV network and its been absolutely amazing. The station fits in perfectly with my aspirations to make Africa a place where young people living in the diaspora would love to invest in and be proud of.

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Quo non Ascendam. Writer. E-mail: wana@360nobs.com

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