The Oyinsans are multi-talented family whom I had observed for years (especially Titi, been stalking her since Unilag Days) . Their story remains an inspiration to many of us, its the journey one of a family’s unity in taking the future together. And what better time to interview a family than Christmas huh?! Pls enjoy.
Tell us about your career journey and your initiatives.
Wow, I get this question all the time. When it comes to careers, I haven’t actually, in a sense built one as opposed to fallen into a path. My career has developed over time and morphed and changed a number of times. It started out as a means to get an education with modelling and going into events. From there, I was eventually asked to go into TV programmes, hosting on different stations NTA, Nigezie, Sound City and in the end, I was just being asked to do so many different types of things- red carpet events, coordinating of hostesses and so much more like that.
So, when it comes to careers, when radio came in, I understood that it could be used as a platform to help people, advise and mentor them and also bring them together, network with people and more.
The number of amazing people that I have been able to meet on a daily, even hourly basis because of radio is just amazing.
The initiatives came about as a result of needing to have some sort of structure and process regarding helping people, communicating with hem and, networking and articulating the interactions with each and every contact I met.
I have all these contacts I meet every day and without a structure, there’s no way I can actually the turn the people I know into a means to do business so in the end, I feel like a social entrepreneur in a sense and I’m trying to coordinate myself as such.
What informed the I am Dynamite Network (and Naija Women in Business) movement?
One of the first initiatives to ever come about, was the I am Dynamite project. If you visit the site, iamdynamiteng.com, you will see that we celebrate a lot of people who have come together to help a number of young girls go to school. The target is to help 300 girls eventually but we have started with 30 and its been going on for two years now and this year, we have been able to send another set to school so 60 have been sent in all. By God’s grace, another set next year.
Iamdynamiteng came about because I wanted to understand myself and why I could legitimately call myself Dynamte, what have I done to call myself that? And what could other girls could do so that, just like Dynamite, their dreams explode into reality.
We have so many things we try to achieve but we just need that little extra push or edge, and once you educate a girl child, you educate a nation, you prevent her from making mistakes that an uneducated girl would make, help her improve on her life.
There are a lot of young ladies now doing amazing things just because they had an education. There are so many mentors out there for young girls and I hope to be one of them.
The I am dynamite Women’s Network started out from a radio show initiative called Naija Women in Business from 5 years ago. There were so many amazing women doing great things and I was given the opportunity to showcase them every week. They came to the studio to share their stories, using those stories to encourage others who were just looking for something to do, to get out of the house and be more enterprising but they just didn’t know how to go about it. Hearing these women’s stories was a sure-fire way to encourage them. So far, we have had 500 women come on the show over 5 years.
We started a WhatsApp group where a lot of great women talk every single day. It’s grown from WhatsApp to Telegram App which can accept up to 5000 members. We have had business fairs and training sessions on how to do things better, coordinate finances and the fact that they need to remove themselves from the business and treat those businesses like the entities they are and more. We got them to network and create alliance and so much more.
What’s it like being a regular-sized mom in the media and in the public eye.
I think that’s a diplomatic way of saying not a super-skinny mom(lol). I actually, honestly had a major battle on my hands with my weight but I made a conscious effort to align my everyday life with adjustments to my health and fitness lifestyle. I got a fitness trainer who came three times a week for the first 9 months after I had the kids. In a conscious effort to remain driven, I decided to bring the trainer on the radio twice a week to ensure I saw him often. Being given the mandate to represent a set of people who want to lose weight and get fit was interesting. I. I am about to complete 100 days on the Rice Boycott. I have remained focused with the help of my husband and I must thank him for this.
Being a mom in the media means you are held to a certain standard, you have to represent and you have to keep yourself in a certain way that other people will see you and be encouraged by you.
I feel responsibility for myself and what other people do in response to what I do. I’ve noted that a lot of other parents often create avenues to create adjustments in their lifestyle and their parenting skills just because of things I’ve said and I don’t take that granted.
Back in the day, there was no social media but through social media, you are able to encourage and inspire people on a daily basis.
Raising twins in Lagos with your schedule is obviously a lot of work, how have you been able to manage?
Raising twin girls in this environment is one of those things that you never know how its gonna go. All you can really do is pray for Grace, Strength, Mercy and Favour daily because its apparent that every thing you do or say is being sucked in by these two individuals with different personalities and views on life.
With twins, people believe that once you give one child attention, it should be enough for both and that once you give a child one item, you give the other the same, all will be happy but we need to go the extra mile for one on one day while the other is fine and on other days, its different.
Instilling good morals and the message of Christ and more is such a responsibility which we don’t take for granted and we are doing what we can, with the time we have.
Every single moment we have with them, we use to teach and inspire them and give them all they need to be the best they can be. That’s all a parent can do really.
We give them the chance to ask questions and we answer all those questions.
Pls tell us about yourself, give us an abridged version of your story. Tell us about your career journey and your initiatives.
My name is Gbemileke Oscar Oyinsan, I’m a broadcaster, media entrepreneur, kicked off my career in 2005 with UNILAG FM, then moved on as pioneer staff at Inspiration FM, then I worked with the BBC for a while as producer and moved on to City FM as an OAP and Head of of Programming until I resigned in Feb 2016 to set up the MC company and concentrate on grooming the next generation of MCs.
What informed your transition from being an OAP to an MC, and your starting The MC Company?
It’s not really a transition, its more of an extension. From experience, most of the really good MCs have a broadcast or media background which helps you with speech, confidence, being a good orator. I was just amplifying an aspect of my career that I believe I have a natural flair and love for. What led to The MC Company was simply the fact that a lot of people who are interested in the same profession don’t really have an MC school to go to if you want to be a lawyer, you to law school, a medical doctor, you go to medical school but if you want to be an MC, where do you go?
I’ve been working on this project for about 3 years now basically trying to create a platform for people to learn from experienced hands in the industry and more importantly, I was afraid that there’s a knowledge gap between the older generation and the new generation of MCs.
How did you guys meet?
We met on the red carpet, I was a Producer-Presenter with Showtime Africa, a show belonging to Tee A while Titi was a VJ with Sound City. She basically, thought I was a guest ready for a red carpet interview and I played along, not telling her I was there to work. She did not know I had my own stand set up.
One thing led to another, we got talking after work and found out we had a lot of common interests when it came to media and from there, it took a life of its own. We dated for 4 years, we’ve been married for almost 5 years.
You guys are a unique couple and family in a number of ways. You, all, are media personalities in your own rights, you’re extremely busy but your lifestyle is cohesive. Tell us about this, was it all planned?
Well, about the cohesiveness of our personalities and time, we’re just learning as we go along. Our schedules are extremely busy, with our individual projects and responsibilities at home and office. to the kids etc. Sometimes, we’ll be in the same house and don’t get a chance to physically be in the same space for more than two hours at a go. We keep in touch via chats, whatsapp, emails while in the same house working. As long as communication is fluid, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. Weekends, we try to dedicate to the kids, the family and just basically have a down time. For me, weekends are my work days, finding time during the week is also difficult because she is busy during the week with work, The Dynamite project, meetings, the kids, school, shopping etc. It’s really crazy, I don’t know how we do it, but we do it.
Raising twins in Lagos with your schedule is obviously a lot of work, how have you been able to manage?
Raising the twins has been our priority from the get go. When we realised that we were going to be having double blessings, her mom was instrumental in setting up the structure. Titi is also learned. The programme they both run, Your Baby and You, on Inspiration FM has given them great insight as to how to mange child affairs more than the average women and this has been an asset to us as couple, we also have help, whom under guidance and supervision has been able to coordinate with us.
When we have events, my mother in law has been there to help out.The older the girls get, the easier it is to manage them, they don’t need to be changed, they can change the TV station themselves they can engage and entertain one another.
We try and shuffle the shifts and make sure that someone stays at home while the other attends an event and very rarely , we attend together. We are just trying to strike that balance and get as much rest as we can.
Who is the “Good Cop” parent and who is the bad cop between you guys?
That depends on the scenario (laughs). There’s a good cop and bad cop in myself and Titi depending on who we are dealing with.
More often than not, I’m the good cop but when I’m bad, I’m really bad. I’m firm and very stern. They have mastered and can sense when daddy has reached his peak and they conform. Titi obviously, as a mother, is a constant bad cop but she flips the script on them from time to time, engaging them more often.
When I do engage them, I shut every other thing down. They now speak very well so we have conversations. That’s the recipe for now.
How did the epiphany come for you to present your kids as talents and personalities just like you? They have Social Media pages and have clinched some brand endorsement-type gigs…tell us.
It wasn’t so much an epiphany, it just organically grew. We began to notice that they were very vocal and out spoken, more than the average, because we talk a lot for a living, one of the ways to engage them is to talk with them a lot. Their mom talks to them and captures the moments and share footage with me. Then, one post led to another and people started to enjoy them and we began researching on child brands and what we can do with that. It’s a talent, not something to be afraid of. We’ve had people say, oh they have reservations but we understand what we are trying to do with them and so far, its worked. There’s nothing wrong with them being benefactors to themselves before they are twenty and what’s the point of having that talent and not letting it grow. They have examples like Venus and Serena Williams, Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber. And I know the next thing on people’s mind is, look how Jackson ended. But, it’s a risk you have to take because for every bad story, there’s a good one. It’s not really about the exposure but about the nurturing and counselling.
It’s a very social world right now, you can influence what people think and say about you through social Media and that has its Pros and Cons. We have been able to master how to project ourselves to the public eye not because we are perfect but because we just give them enough to admire and appreciate but at the same time, be private about it. It takes a lot of skill. We’ve had a lot of people approach us, asking how we train our kids. A lot of people need inspiration sometimes and they need to know things are possible. Its just that its over shadowed by a lot of negativity in the media.The thing we set out to do is to make sure we are not caught up in that and we thank God that so far, its working.
Surely, a busy lifestyle, especially with your careers and building a business (or businesses ) together as a couple comes with its own challenges. Tell us all about that.
When you’re single, on your own and you have some dreams and aspirations, it’s always easier to achieve them and go for them when you have your time. When you have two individuals who are very independent in their thinking and determined go-getters, it’s a force to reckon with, when projected towards a common goalv but it could also be destructive, if the aim and objectives are not aligned. So, one of the greatest challnges for us, is being able to balance our individual aspirations both educationally and career-wise and the overall objective of the family unit so for example, the I am Dynamite Women’s Network has a lot of subsets which take her time and which she’s very passionate about and there’s the Book Club,B and You, etc. They rquire time and attention just like anything.
You have her role as a wife mother, as a member of staff all juggled into one. One of the greatest challenge is balancing everything out.
Finance is also a challenge, how do you fund all these projects that are not yet generating income?
What we do is always sit down weekly and review what we achieved and what we haven’t, what needs to be done. To a large extent, we independently fund our projects from revenues from alternative sources. She makes money from social media posts, jingle and radio hypes and I do from my MC gigs, Production and through Amber 11 which is our media coy. of course, balancing the family and domestic needs.
We are always on the same page and I think tats one of the greatest assets we have.
What advice would you give to those looking up to you as individuals and as a family?
They need to make sure they complete being an actual individual before aiming to complete someone else. If you don’t know who u are as a person it’s impossible to complete the life of a spouse. One party will end up leaning too much instead of being an equal support to each other.
Tell us a fun fact about your family, something people don’t know!
We watch a lot of comedy shows. Like the big bang theory, friends, will and grace, and we love the Graham Norton show. Comedy shows make us laugh away the pressure of the day. And also give us something to smile about in conversation later in that has nothing to so with everyday life.
What Amber & Ruby’s favourite things to do.
Ruby is really into building blocks and structures anything that can be stacked is interesting to her. Amber is more Techy and lives to work on laptops and tablets, painting and drawing
Interview conducted by Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa