Zimbabwean actress, producer and TV personality, Vimbai Mutinhiri, In this interview, the former model who contested in the Big Brother Africa Season 6 takes you into her world.
What is life as a TV host and producer like? Describe your typical day.
Every day in my world is extremely diverse and unique. The joy of being in the creative space means that each day calls for something new and different from me. Some days I am up early to sit in hours of hair styling and make up in preparation to host on TV, or to host an event. My production company, Mambo Media, specialises in digital content for corporate; so other days see me spending hours planning shoots with clients and with my team or even sitting with editors to ensure our final content is of optimal quality. I love the dynamism of my roles.
What gives you inspiration to do the things you do?
I am undoubtedly driven by passion. I genuinely love what I am doing, and the harder I work and grow I have found that there are young girls who are now counting on me to be successful so they can have the confidence and faith to chase their own dreams. The fact that my life and my success can be a testimony for someone else to strive to be great is all the inspiration I need to keep doing what I do.
Let’s talk about some memorable moments in your career. How did it all begin?
I have had so many career highlights! My life was certainly never the same after Big Brother Africa. I also would not be where I am today if not for Multichoice. They saw the potential in me and gave me what I needed to build a solid continental brand by giving me the opportunity to host on platforms like Star Gist and AMVCA. Any time decision makers give me a stage to be great is memorable for me.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in your career?
I think the toughest thing about the media space is learning to evolve as quickly as the trends do without losing yourself. A great challenge for me was mastering the balancing act between remaining relevant and being true to yourself and your values. You watch so many people cross lines that you know are against your principles, and you watch them get ahead – it is a true test of character to stand your ground and maintain your focus on the straight and narrow path even though you know it means it will take a little longer to get to where you need to go.
How did you cope with them?
I immerse myself in my work – I have learnt that people will always appreciate someone who is talented, disciplined and highly skilled. I have chosen to focus on that – on always being the best version of myself because I know that will never go out of style. I never stop learning; I never stop researching new opportunities and new ways to do things.
Tell us about your women’s empowerment and advocacy work. What projects are you currently working on?
I have always been informally active in empowering young women through mentorship and financial support. However, I realised that there are so many young women across Africa who are hungry for a better life, and have no idea where to begin. By 2035, half of the world’s youth population will be in Africa – this statistics made me realise that impacting individuals is important but that grooming young women for tomorrow on a large scale is the sustainable solution.
The big question here is who is raising our little sisters? It’s mainly the internet, and unfortunately most of what’s available out there is misleading. The platform is therefore a disruption of the bondage that most of our youths are currently tied to because of visuals and ideals on social media and online.What lessons have you learnt working in Nigeria?
Nigeria undoubtedly teaches problem-solving and innovation. The environment is ripe with opportunity for those who are able to think on their feet and remain resilient. These are traits that I didn’t even know I had in me (that Nigeria has not only taught me but also refined in me).
As a daughter of a diplomat, travelling around the world, what were the memorable moments you had while growing up?
I think one of the greatest things any human being can ever do is to travel. Travelling to explore new places and experience different ways of doing things, to learn new languages and observe foreign cultures. The greatest blessing from having parents who had jobs that enabled our family to travel vastly across the world was this exposure that has shaped my thinking and my ability to adapt to different environments easily. Any time I got to try a new food, or pronounce a new word is very vivid in my memory books.
Let’s compare when first you started your career and now; what has changed?
So much has changed. I have changed so much as a person – I am more sure of myself, more intentional and more determined than ever. I think being new at something comes with its own insecurities and fears, but after having done it for so long there is a peaceful confidence that presides over everything. I don’t feel like I have a point to prove to anyone: I’m one of the best hosts in Africa, whether you book me or not. Before I always felt like I had to convince people, but now I know it’s a fact and that alone is joy to me.
What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the sector?
I would certainly like to see a lot more hosts take their craft more seriously and actually go through formal training. I am a little exhausted with seeing social media stars getting on stage and “winging it” – it’s disrespectful to both the audience and to those who have invested in making this a craft.
What is your definition of style? How would you assess Nigerian designers?
Style is what your clothes say about you before you even open your mouth when you walk into a room. I love the fact that Nigerian designers expertly capture this ethos. Nigerian designers speak to the nobility and elegance of an African woman – and that’s why their designs stand out anywhere in the world.
What are some of the items that you treasure most in your wardrobe?
Believe it or not – my sneakers! I love sneakers, and I would wear them with everything if I could. Apart from that, I am a perfume lover.
How do you relax?
I indulge in spa treatments, read a book or go for walks.
Tell us about some of your awards and recognitions.
I have won several awards – from leadership awards in my country Zimbabwe (Victor’s Award for Young Person of the Year 2012), to awards for being a top host in Africa. For some reason, I have never been one to fuss over accolades – I prefer for my work to speak for itself.
Let’s talk about the people you admire and role models
As I grow older, I have discovered that my role models are ordinary women who beat the odds – you hear about women who are able to take all their children through university whilst working at the market, or domestic workers (house helps) who manage to get degrees and upgrade their occupations. Those are the people I admire.
If you had to advise young people, what would you tell them?
I would tell them the winner of the race is the finisher, and not the beginner. In addition, I would say that it is important not to be obsessed about today’s situation. Instead, it is better to focus on where you are going, which is usually more important.
Source: The Nation