Gorgeous EbonyLifeTV(ELTV) Presenter Zainab Balogun gleefully tells about her interesting life, career, hopes, dreams and her rise from doing the “groundwork” to being offered lead and supporting roles as an actor.
Born and raised in London is a Nigerian talent whose physical beauty is matched by her creative mind. Scouted by Premier Models Management at only 16 years old, she proceeded into a successful modelling career.
She has been featured in both national and international campaigns with the likes of United Colours of Benetton (UK) many other top brands and has walked the runway for Arise Fashion Week, Lagos.
Before joining ELTV, she co-founded ‘The J-ist TV’ show, an entertainment web-series she used to express her passion for African culture.
Now an award-winning presenter, she not only features as a presenter but also produces on the channel on ‘EL Now’– a daily entertainment news show, she’s also joined by two co-hosts on ‘The Spot’.
Her transition into acting began as an extra in both TV and film productions and has been featured in BBC One’s drama ‘Material Girl’, Bollywood movie ‘Cocktail’ and Sky TV Channel 4 ‘The Charlatons’. She also found herself on set with legendary director Christopher Nolan in 2011 for ‘The Dark Night Rises’ and has acted as the lead role in a Nigerian TV series ‘The Island’.
OnoBello.com had the pleasure of speaking with her about everything! Want to know more? Then read on…we’re sure you’ll love it!
Modelling for Lanre DaSilva Ajayi
OB: What came first modeling or presenting?
ZB: Modeling came first before everything I’m known for. I knew nothing about the industry but grew to love it as I got older. It was definitely a good foundation to have that led to me trying other things.
OB: How did TV Presenting start off for you?
ZB: I initially started presenting online with a friend. We created and produced an online entertainment web series together. However I got into TV by doing what most people do which was auditioning for the job. I had auditioned for a few different gigs and heard about EbonyLife TV audition dates. It was what I was looking so I simply signed up and got the job.
OB: What’s the most intriguing thing about your job as a presenter?
ZB: The most interesting thing for me as a presenter is the conversations I get to create with those I speak to. I get to bring a discussion to the table and watch it grow. You never know what people are going to say and the best part is what you leave with after the process.
With co-presenter on ELTV 'EL Now
Zainab with ELTV 'The Spot' Co-presenters Ebuka Obi-Uchendu & Lamide Akintobi
OB: Did you ever try singing at some point?
ZB: I actually used to be in a girl group called Regne(pronounced Reign) during secondary school and the beginning of college. We wrote and sang together. We went as far as to have a little EP. I can’t remember how we figured out we could sing together or even get away with being paid for performances but I guess we had to be decent enough for people to book us.
OB: Any confidence tips for newcomers looking to keep up with you, career-wise?
ZB: Believe it or not I was a bit of a shy once but covered it up pretty well. I think you can break out of that by slowly putting yourself out there. You can do this from giving short presentations at school to reading in Church. These are little things that will help you get comfortable with public speaking as well as help to improve your communication skills. Start small and then move to more challenging environments.
OB: You are also an actor? Can you tell us about this?
ZB: Acting is where the majority of my heart is. I started right from the bottom as an extra and I will always recognize this because some people think they want to make it big time and not do the groundwork. Extras play an important role. This led me to roles in The Dark Knight Rises by Christopher Nolan and Cocktail by Bollywood director HomiAjadania. These experiences changed my life and I knew I wanted to be an actor. From this I started auditioning for lead and supporting roles which to my surprise I was offered. With that I’ve been fortunate to have such roles in with the likes of Channel 4’s (SKY TV)The Charlatans.
OB: How do you handle the many male attention you must get? It must be difficult being beautiful and popular?
ZB: I wish I knew about this attention you speak of lol. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am a confirmed workaholic. I focus so much on my work that I don’t really get to feed into the attention. When I do, I like to think I handle it graciously.
OB: Are you dating anyone?
ZB: Not at the moment.
OB: What do you look for in a man?
ZB: I used to have a long list when I was younger but now so far as he is ambitious, smart, kind, good looking and not crazy, I’ll take him. If he was tall with a beard too, I’d be very happy.
OB: What would be an ideal first date?
ZB: In case you haven’t heard, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic so for me, conversation and good food makes the perfect date. An ideal setting would an intimate dinner in the garden, under the stars and maybe some games to finish off.
OB: What is the most discouraging thing anyone said to you about pursuing your dreams? How did you handle it?
ZB: I used to have a few people tell me that the creative path I wanted to take wasn’t secure and that those in it weren’t credible. I was told that I was going to be another casualty if I went down that route. I don’t believe in people prescribing what your life should be life. God orchestrated everything until this point. Who am I or who are you to argue with that? So long as he kept making things happen, I kept ignoring the negatives.
OB: Why did you decide to go for a low-cut hair, it has come to be known as your signature cut? Any other particular reason you opted for it?
ZB: I was growing out perm and got impatient with it so I decided to head to the salon to go for the big shave about six years ago. As I walked out that day I never really got back to growing it out. Every 2-3 weeks from there, I would cut it off again. I just loved the way it looked.
OB: How do you get ready for TV and red car pet events, do you have a style team you work with to achieve your looks?
ZB: TV is pretty simple. We have a stylist we work together with that puts looks out for us. As for red carpets, it depends on the event and how much time I have. Sometimes I’ll go all out with a glam squad and other times I’m happy to pull from my own wardrobe.
OB: Give us an insight into your beauty routine?
ZB: My routine is not very complicated. I use the Simple facial range for washes and exfoliating. I try to steam at least once a week but I’m quite bad at keep up with it. I cleanse with glycerin and rose water and finish off with a Velocity light moisturizer.
OB: Where will be your dream place to work?
ZB: With everything I do, I like to think global so definitely working internationally is something I’d like to achieve. Most importantly, I’m focusing on more film productions with interesting stories at the moment. Getting more movies under my belt is the goal!
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