IN CONVERSATION WITH DELPHINE OKOBAH
Delphine Okobah studied architecture at the University of Lagos and is a graphic designer, event compere, red carpet host and former beauty queen who has volunteered at some major art and culture events including the Art X Lagos fair (2016) and the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2016. Okobah, a young entrepreneur runs TDAtelier, a digital design and communications firm in Lagos and refers to herself as a “multi-layered media mogul”. She recently launched her YouTube channel where she reviews film and television content.
Did you have any reason for studying architecture?
Growing up, I was always fascinated with the world of art, fashion, building, interior design and the media. My favorite TV show was Extreme Makeover and I loved the idea of piecing together personable homes for the less privileged. The joy on their faces when the brand-new homes were presented to them always warmed my heart and so I dreamt of becoming a TV show host and an architect! I also love the discipline one derives from studying the course.
Have you successfully combined your varied interest in school and afterwards?
Architecture is a 6-year course but I wanted to buy a car by earning extra income without having to bother my parents. Interestingly, I got involved in media jobs including presenting part-time on Spice TV of the Sound City group, which helped in sharpening my communication and public speaking skills, as well as beauty pageants through friends. I even won a car at one of them! At that point, combining my interests affected my studies somewhat so I put the media aspect aside and faced architecture squarely. While at school, I was exposed to various forms of lifestyle, visual and performing arts, and different levels of human interaction, which gave me a better world view. After graduation, I worked in construction and real estate for 3 years while hosting TV shows, red carpet events, compering and some occasional modelling. I also love graphic design so I was able to do this for individuals and corporate bodies. I finally decided to soft pedal on architecture and focus on media and graphics.
What were your memorable projects and will you return to architecture?
I have not left architecture as it serves as a building block and informs all I do.
Right now, I am concentrating on media and graphic design, but I am sure I will find other ways of architectural expression not limited to construction sites; It could be building sets for fairs, TV shows and films. I am also thinking about what can be done for the less privileged. For my Masters in environmental design, I wrote a thesis on the development of the Makoko slum village in Lagos. With respect to my memorable projects, I initially worked as an architect on The Aba Mega Mall project which was the biggest one Greenfield Assets Limited, an infrastructure development company had at the time. I ended up being moved around the different departments of design and communications within the firm which was great because it was a fusion of the worlds I love.
Can you tell us about your volunteer jobs?
I am passionate about the arts, media, our burgeoning film industry, and youth development and empowerment. For the inaugural Art X Lagos, I volunteered for the South African-based Stevenson gallery. Only one of the directors/curators Joost Bosland was available so I was assigned as a gallery assistant by the organisers. For AFRIFF, I worked as communications/graphics designer, creating visual placeholders and posters for the industry sessions and official film selection for the social media content. I also hosted the red-carpet events for the opening and closing galas.
For the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) event held in September 2016, I worked as content developer and social media representative. I currently volunteer as a communications liaison officer for Project Nigeria (PN) and Youth of Nigeria (YONG), both non-governmental initiatives set up to bridge the communication gap between the Nigerian government and her citizens, primarily through social media.
I have also hosted several red carpet events for pioneering movie premieres at House on The Rock like Selma where the message was used to drive citizens to vote during the 2014 elections in Nigeria, Captive a story of redemption to encourage the downtrodden and despairing in the community, and 93 Days, which is about the eradication of Ebola in Nigeria and how our national heroes saved the country from an epidemic.
What is your next project about?
I am working on TheDelphinatorTV movie review show on my Youtube channel and I am excited about! Several episodes are out already. I wish to educate Africans and the rest of the world about the opportunities that still abound in the Nollywood industry.
What message do you have for young people out there?
Do not sit down twiddling your thumbs hoping money falls from the sky.
Work hard at what you love or where your interests lie. Be visible and seek advice from older and more experienced people in your chosen field of endeavour.
Image credits: Delphine Okobah
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