Safely speaking, the origin story of Toke Makinwa’s foray into the Nigerian media can be traced to her radio career at Silverbird’s Rhythm 93.7FM. As a co-host on the station’s morning show in 2010, Toke entranced listeners with her voice that sits between silky and hoarse, caffeinated but not too jarring. Working in a respected media empire as Silverbird placed her squarely in a grapevine of opportunities that further propelled her in the media – hosting the 2012 outing of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN), and other hosting gigs.
Still meandering through the firmament of radio, Makinwa took a swing at television. Together with Oreka Godis and the late Tosyn Buknor, she co-hosted Flytime TV’s 3liveChicks, a female-centric show known for its acidic humorous bite on issues and trends. 3liveChicks gave Makinwa the opportunity to be comfortable with television, learning the nuances that sets this media form apart of radio. When EbonyLife TV arrived to disrupt the media landscape, Toke landed for herself a hosting spot on Moments, a flagship talk show that was moulded in the image and personalty of media entrepreneur Mo Abudu.
Toke as always showed a keen eye for grabbing opportunities, in the world of her profession but one of the most undeniable testament of this trait was writing her sensational On Becoming memoir about her personal life, and addressing headier issues of her collapsed marriage with ex-husband Maje Ayida. On Becoming went on to a bestseller, a tell-all confessional that fed into the carnivorous appetites of tabloids, social media and the celebrity industrial complex. She was winning, suddenly becoming a literary sweetheart and going on book tours in and out of the country. Importantly, she made it cool for women to leave toxic marriages. On Becoming carried this gospel.
The pivot to fashion entrepreneurship was only natural, launching her eponymous luxury handbag line – Toke Makinwa Luxury – in 2017 and skincare product Glow the following year. Toke was also adding to her stack of nominations and wins in the media, being a trailblazer and all-round inspiration for women to shatter the glass ceiling. In recent years, and with Instagram’s updates on its features, Makinwa hatched into a style aficionado.
With her Instagram, she mastered lighting, themes and angles, a fashion chameleon turning out dazzling looks from chic casual wear to red carpet. She launched her YouTube vlog series Toke Moments, with its own refreshing take on cultural trending topics. Makinwa’s Nollywood debut in the 2019 comedy Market Must Sell doesn’t ask that you take her seriously, as was the Jade Osiberu’s star-studded 2019 movie Sugar Rush.
In the time of coronavirus-induced lockdown, Toke’s ingenious use of digital infrastructures like TikTok is showing that she’s more than just a pretty face, creating self-film skits and engaging with fans. Toke has, over the years, taught her internet followers and those that look up to her to be self-reliant and to be steadfast in their dealings as she has built that image of herself for her fans to look through – an image that shows strength when the world wants women to be weak, an image that says ‘work hard’ when everybody is saying you can’t.
It’s ten years for Toke and as she celebrates this milestone in her career, we are rooting for to achiever even bigger things in the future.
Michael is a dynamic writer who is still exploring the nuances of life and being human. When I’m not writing, I’m out with friends or spending nice time alone watching movies or TV Shows.
Michael is available on Twitter and Instagram @TheMichaelFaya