Since Tolu Oniru known simply as Toolz came back from the United Kingdom with a degree in Business and Mass Communication from the London Metropolitan University to take up a job in the broadcast media, things have been on the up and up for her.
The vivacious beauty who was born in Lagos to the famous Oniru family of Lagos is respected as an on-air-personality for her blend of natural humour, love of most things, showbiz, passion for music and strong African entertainment knowledge. In this interview with Potpourri, Toolz lets us into her world. Excerpts:
By Esther Onyegbula
It’s been over three years since you moved back to Nigeria from the UK, how has it been? Are there any regrets?
I moved in 2009 actually. It has been one of the toughest but most rewarding journeys I’ve been on (and still on). I try not to focus on regrets. I miss constant electricity, hate Lagos traffic, but I believe I have made an impact here that I wouldn’t have, if I had remained in the UK.
People feel you have gotten to this height in your career, so quickly, because of your privileged background; what is your response to this?
That is not true. For the first 12- 18 months of my career, a lot of people didn’t know my surname, and were not really aware of my ‘privileged background’.
My family have been supportive, but they don’t really get involved – my father wanted me to be a doctor/lawyer, so he wasn’t particularly thrilled with my decision to get into entertainment. Now he sees me on TV, in magazines, hears me on radio and he respects how hard I have worked. He never wanted me in entertainment.
Now let’s talk about your career, what do you think about the current direction of the media industry?
I started doing radio, and have been doing that for over four years, so I’m definitely more comfortable there. Television needs more focus, skills etc., but it is still very enjoyable.
However, I think the Nigerian media industry is still very young, and over the next years we can expect lots of developments. More choice, more content, better quality content and different ways to access Nigerian entertainment
When you started out, did you have any map for your career trajectory? If yes, has it gone according to plan?
Getting on radio happened accidentally, it was my first radio gig, and I wasn’t sure I was any good. In fact I was certain I would be fired in three months, but that didn’t happen. My career was initially on a ‘plan-as-I-go’ basis, but now I try to plan more and set more long term goals.
The last season of The Juice featured a lot of celebrities, which celebrity or guest story has inspired you the most and why?
Pretty much, all the celebrities have inspiring stories to tell. They have had to overcome different things to get to where they are now, and each story is inspiring. All were exciting in different ways -some because the guests said things they shouldn’t have, and some because the guest was absolutely hilarious. Presently, we are working on making sure The Juice is available to an even wider audience
What is it like being a top female media personality? Are the challenges different on account of your gender?
There are definitely challenges as it is still a male dominated industry, but things are gradually changing.
How did you get the job as a host for The Juice? Was it based on a recommendation or did you go for auditions?
No audition! I got a call and they told me about the project, fast forward a year or so, and here I am!
What is the next big thing for you and what keeps you going?
The next big thing for me is under wraps now, but what keeps me going are my goals, and my need to make a positive impact in the industry.
How would you describe your style (fashion& dress sense)?
My dress sense is very womanly and comfortable. I wear what I think suits me and what is comfortable.
What is your typical day like, from dawn to dusk?
On weekdays, I’m up by 8am – if I don’t have any meetings before my radio show, then I am at the Beat FM from 11am till 4pm. Most days, I will have to film (for The Juice or any other projects) or have a meeting or two. My day often ends at 9/10pm.
How do you unwind?
I love to sleep! Reading also helps me unwind – a good crime thriller normally helps me forget a stressful day.
Which city, country, would be a choice holiday destination for you and why?
I’ve never been to the Caribbean, so I would love to go to the Bahamas for the beaches, relaxed island life and cocktails!!