Away from the brand her parents, Soni and Betty Irabor have built in the last 14 years, which was recently celebrated in a star-studded event, Sonia Irabor is easily coming into her own as an individual entity in Nigeria’s media space.
In this interview with YNaija, Assistant Editor of Genevieve Magazine, Sonia Irabor acknowledges her parents’ influence and support in her interest in the media, lets us in on her biggest lesson through the job so far and some more.
Have you always been interested in the media? Did you always know you’d work in the media or you just happened on it?
I have always been interested in media and entertainment. A lot of my childhood was spent taking in some form of media or another from video games, to TV shows and films and it stretched even to the news, so I suppose I had a feeling I was going to be involved in the media in some capacity or other.
Considering being born to parents who are media veterans, at what point did you start to see yourself like one or both of your parents?
Fairly early on, I’d say. My parents have always been amazing supporters of whatever interests my brother and I had. My dad always encouraged the writer in me. I remember at 6 or 7, him suggesting that I write some poems from my primary school yearbook. One of them made it in, it was called River Corona and was about how the rain flooded the school grounds. It was deep.
How long have you worked with Genevieve Magazine and how has your educational background and experience influenced the brand?
I’ve worked at Genevieve Magazine for 14 years – bizarrely. I started off as the teen correspondent and columnist with Teen Zone, before becoming the international correspondent and assistant editor. I also write a column called Here’s The Thing.
The brand is influenced by all the incredible brains that work together to keep it alive. I am but a minute part of the cog that keeps that wheel turning. All of my experiences as a freelance writer/ ghost-writer/ PR manager in the UK, came together to provide just another potential angle to consider in developing, sustaining and keeping the brand fresh.
What are your biggest lessons from working with Genevieve Magazine?
Hmmm! It’s been over a decade of learning on the job, it’s very difficult to come up with one big lesson but if I absolutely had to, I’d say, “always keep it moving…” In spite of many lows, some more brand-threatening than others, the only way we’ve been able to get over, is by keeping the wheel turning. One mustn’t dwell on the disappointments but must instead think of a solution and keep growing and improving.
What are your plans for the future of the magazine?
The journey is far from over and there is still a great deal of unchartered territory for us. We want to keep redefining the magazine and keep giving our readers – old and new – something fresh and exciting to look forward to, to be inspired by and to fall in love with.
How does it feel being a part of the phenomenal brand that is Genevieve Magazine?
It is a great honour.
What would you change about the magazine or do completely differently, if you could?
The beauty of a growing brand is that there are still many opportunities to evolve, redefine and refresh.
Aside Genevieve magazine, do you have any personal endeavour?
Though I am most associated with Genevieve Magazine in Nigeria, it is actually one of many branches of my career. I am what they call a “slasher”: a writer for screen and stage/ a PR and Marketing consultant/ an actress/ a producer.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
It’s a tie: difficult people and lack of resources.
How do you balance your job and your personal life?
I don’t have much of a personal life but I do acknowledge that it is important to take time for oneself and so I have what I call “Sonia’s Friday Hang Time”, occasionally. I take myself out on a date.
Your pop culture/entertainment go-to. Music head. Wallflower. I do not like to write. On a mission to decipher covfefe.