She’s the definition of the phrase; “Full of Life” and yes, some mothers do have them. But Bella Rose Abisolaoluwa Iyere Okojie is not a pain in the neck for her mother nor the nation at large, instead she radiates each day with her ever brighter self co-hosting the Breakfast Show with Dan Foster on Inspiration 92.3 Fm. She does not have to get the joke nor wait for the punchline before she burst into laughter.
Simply known as Bella Rose, she’s the younger sister of the kid-star turn Gospel diva, Benita Okojie and just like her sister, her love for Jesus drives her passion. According to Bella Rose, being an OAP at Inspiration Fm has strengthened her faith and helped her to practise what she preaches.
Bella Rose recently spoke with Alex Amos on her Christian faith, her broadcasting career, family, social media vices proffering solutions amongst other issues. She’s such a natural as far as broadcasting is concerned, she attested to this when she replied to the question about her love for broadcasting.
“I wouldn’t say I discovered the broadcaster in me,” Bella Rose said, “Right from when I could speak, understand and reason, I knew that I wanted to be a speaker. I have always loved talking, my mum used to complain a lot that I talk too much when I was young. I remember I used to sit in my dad’s car, pick up the paper and practice as a newscaster. So, I have always loved talking, the broadcaster part kicked in when my sister started getting interviews on TV stations and Radios. When I saw the camera, I felt a kind of connection to it and everything synched when my love for talking and reading the paper came in contact with my love for the camera.”
Further probing stated the obvious but Bella Rose admitted that her course at the Redeemer’s University, Ogun State made her a better broadcaster.
“I would say broadcasting for me is innate, going to school and studying mass communication only made me better at it because I learnt other aspect of Mass Communication and creativity as well. You know, being gifted to be able to do something is different from learning something that will complement the gift that God has blessed you with.” She said.
Bella: Growing up with my sister was fun (laughs), I have always been her right-hand-man. Growing up we did not have so much friends, so we were our own friends… from making our teddies and toys students and writing on the walls with chalk to cooking rice out of white and red sand, we had a lot of fun. We also did a lot of talent hunts; acting singing and playing action film with my brothers… add to the goofy and spiritual upbringing from my parents, I’d say childhood was really fun.
Having Benita as a sister was the best because no matter how famous she gets, I’ll always be her BFF… I remember a time just before she broke even as a celebrity, she came home crying and I was asking her to tell me who had beaten her so I can go and bite the person… it’s still that way with her. She’s always saying I act like I’m the older one.
SelahAfrik: During those years, was there ever a time you secretly wished you were the one in the spotlight instead of your sister, you know, sibling rivalry?
Never, there has never been a time I secretly wished I was the one in the spotlight because we always share the spotlight. At times in her video, I’m the one you will see doing all the dancing and she has never had a problem with it… it’s just the way we have been brought up. She always like to share the spotlight with me… sometimes peeps will say, ‘Bella has to be here because she is Benita’s ginger.’ I’m the one that makes her go all out and at times, especially when recording, my mum and dad had to be there else, she will not do what she’s been told to do so it’s really a family thing… everyone shares in the glory. I never at any point had that in mind; instead it was me looking out for her.
SelahArik: Working at a radio station (Inspiration FM) were inspiring lives with the knowledge of God is at the core of the objective, describe how this has helped to make you a better Christian.
Bella: It has really helped me. I granted an interview about a month ago and I said when you have that responsibility of not just going to the radio station and sticking to a script nut you are actually trying to inspire people ( I mean, it’s called Inspiration fm), so there is always that consciousness to always want to pray to God to ordain the words that comes out of your mouth. I get on air and tell people to do this and that, then when I’m alone, I have to do these things too… you cant give what you don’t have and besides, you have to practice what you preach, therefore it has really helped me and I have come to the realization that cant do anything without God.
SelahAfrik: Will you say your position as an OAP at such a station makes you a role model?
Bella: Definitely, whatever position you find yourself, you are a role model. Right from the scratch, way before I became an on-air-personality, my mum always lay restrictions to the kind of things we can do because people are looking up to you and you may not even know it. So I am an on-air-personality and that makes me a role model but even in my everyday life, I am still a role model.
SelahAfrik: Give us a rundown of a regular day in Bella’s life from home to work and back home.
Bella: (Laughs), I don’t live a boring life but at the same time it’s not the usual… I mean, I wake up around 4am, I leave the house between 5/5:30. I’m on-air till like 10:30am, I leave the office earliest 11am and I go on to do other things. I also have a gig with TechCity.com, it’s a technology website where we do reviews and stuff. Sometimes, we also have gigs, we have to do a recording, a review for one product or the other so my guys at TechCity come to pick me up and then I have to do rehearsal if we have shoot. Sometimes we have meetings and stuff, then at weekends, I sometimes follow my sister out for ministration and of course church. That’s at weekends but during the week it’s pretty much from the house to the radio station and then meetings during the day… I really don’t hang out so much but recently, I have been going to the movies but after that, im back home, on my bed, with my laptop… my sister, my mum and brothers or just chilling with my dad, we are having a good laugh, watching TV and everyone is just being really goofy, we say our prayers then it’s bed time.
SelahAfrik: You were formally working with Raypower 100.5fm, what informed your movement to Inspiration fm?
Bella: Inspiration fm pretty much happened. It wasn’t like I planned to move, I think God just divinely orchestrated it to happen the way it did. I was at Raypower for about a year. I was actually planning to do some other things but out of the blue came Inspiration fm so I would not say anything was responsible for my leaving Raypower, I guess it was just the time to leave but I’m still friends with them and we still have a great relationship.
SelahAfrik: What has been your most embarassing experience so far as an OAP?
Bella: It something that happens (laughs), sometimes you are interviewing someone who is not exciting and it rubs off on you… it’s embarrassing, it makes you look like you are not good enough. Other times someone may be talking about something you know nothing about but thank God for Google, you can quickly educate yourself. For me, my first days were the most embarrassing because I couldn’t handle the console and had problems working the music board and that came out tacky but now I’m a pro (laughs).
SelahAfrik: What about your best day yet?
Bella: Hmmm… Everyday for me is a good day especially when I hear people tell me ‘you have really inspired me,’ ‘your laugh made me feel good,’ that makes me go over the moon. My mum especially, she calls me and tells me something like ‘Hey Bella you did that right… I could not get enough of you.’ Sometimes Dan [Foster] walks in and say ‘You are doing a great job Bella… You are surprising me o,’ that makes me feel awesome and it happens a lot these days so I think my best days are here… by the grace of God (chuckles).
SelahAfrik: Your laugh on air has not gone without notice, is this some sort of trademark?
Bella: Maybe, it something I’ve always had and people have always talked about it, at home, while I was in school so maybe that laughing a lot has now turned to some sort of trade mark on radio and it’s something I want to hold on to dearly and proudly as God gives me grace. Laughter and happiness is not something everybody has so that is my own way of radiating the world. Someone said to me ‘Bella, just laugh… that’s all I want.’ Another person said I should record my laughter and make it a ringback tune, you know, something people can listen to when they are feeling down and I just might give that a deeper thought… you never know.
SelahAfrik: Shopping, partying or a quiet evening in church, which will you rather be doing this evening?
Bella: Coincidentally, this evening, I’m going to be at church, we have this thing at church and my group is going to be leading this evening… maybe it’s not a coincidence afterall (laughs).
SelahAfrik: Mention 3 make-up items that you cannot leave home without
Bella: Number 1, my perfume, I love perfumes, I cannot leave home without my mascara and then… maybe my foundation… maybe.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about your conviction about Jesus Christ
Bella: My conviction about Jesus Christ is that He is, He was and will forever be. I know that Jesus was sent down to die for my sins and the least I can do is for me to live for Him who came to die for me. The most plausible explanation I can give for Jesus being with me is when I am in a situation and I call that name – It works for me. When I call that name Jesus, it gives me peace. I don’t even have to pray so hard most times, I just mention the name Jesus and let go, then things happen.
SelahAfrik: Share with us some of your latest bible discoveries
Bella: Hmmm… that will be the book of Psalm 127, verse 3 to the end where the bible talked about ‘children are the heritage of the Lord… as arrows are in the hands of a mighty man so are children of the youth… happy is the man who has his quiver full of them, for they shall speak with the enemy at the gate.’ This brings to mind what is obtainable now. Children do not have time for their parents… let’s not even talk about parents not having time for their children. Children do not respect their parents and are therefore not bringing joy to their parents. These days a lot of things are being westernized therefore children have become too arrogant, they cannot be talked to and their pride is literally kissing the heavens… and I’m sitting down and thinking about the words of Psalm 127 that says the children won’t be ashamed. They are the ones that will go and represent their parents anywhere, either on social media, in front of family, friends and the likes but what children do these days, if their parents should find out ehnn, they will probably get a heart attack. The internet these days is full of so many vices as it is also full of opportunities but it is sad that children have plugged into the vices than the opportunities. There is also that constant fight and effort for parent to make sure that children are not in the wrong place doing what they shouldn’t be doing either on internet or in real life but it is not easy I tell you. Times have changed. The children are not making any effort to be on their best behavior. It really bothers me, according to that portion of the bible children are supposed to bring pride to their parent but it’s appalling that what is obtainable now is destructive. It will take a lot of prayers, counseling, seminars and the likes to get it right.
The story of Jacob and Laban’s daughters also intrigues me. Laban played a fast one on Jacob and had him worked extra 7 years to get Rachel. One thing that made me see is that Jacob wanted Rachel… he really did. It got me asking if we still have men like that out there who will damn the consequence and go all out for the woman they want. Are men of these days patient enough? Are they willing to work extra hard to get what they want? Are they willing to let go of past hurt like Jacob who didn’t hold on to the first seven years but went ahead to work extra seven to get Rachel. These portions of the bible are written thousands of years ago and when you relate it to the present age, you would shake your head saying ‘Lord please have mercy’ but at the end of the day, there are still few men out there who would go the extra mile and that’s what I look forward to by the grace of God (laughs).
SelahAfrik: Is there a man in Bella’s life?
Bella: Well, I have my dad and my two brothers Benjamin and Benedict… great men in my life… I love them with everything I have (laughs). Apart from those three men who are the most important men in my life right now… well, there’s Jesus (laughs).
SelahAfrik: Where do you see yourself at the end of this year?
Bella: At the end of this year I see myself as a major morning show host. I still co-host with Dan [Foster] and he’s doing a fantastic job… leaving me sometimes to do the job by myself and coming in once in a while to checkup on what I’m doing, I appreciate him for that but I want to be very independent and hold down an audience for about 3 to 4 hours on the morning show. I also do some emceeing gigs so I hope to get better at that. Emceeing is one thing that you can’t get once so I’m working on myself, I’m trying to read as much as I can. I’m also doing some writings as well, I hope to have written a book and offer it before the end of the year by the grace of God. It’s a dream I have procrastinated on so I hope to have completed… or atleast gotten to half before the end of the year (laughs). TechCity is a project that is close to my heart. God has been faithful these past years so I look forward to TechCity being a bigger brand and a much loftier platform by the end of this year by the grace of God and hey… who knows? I just might be getting wedded by the end of the year (laughs)… by God’s grace nah.
SelahAfrik: Mention a few of your favourite Gospel artistes – aside Benita of course
Bella: I have to mention Benita again (laughs) and right after Benita Okojie, I have to mention Mali Music. I love what Mali Music is doing for the Kingdom of God with his music. When I first discovered him, I didn’t let anyone hear word in my house (laughs). Then I think Nosa comes next. Fantastic and really great guy pushing the gospel of the Kingdom. Frank Edwards comes close… he’s quite a worshipper. I like Lecrae as well. I’m leaning towards Hip Hop, I really don’t know why but I like the fact that these people are doing these great things for the Kingdom of God. I also love Matt Redman and Aaron Shultz, Donnie McKlurkin, Tamela Mann… it’s an inexhaustible list but let me stop here for now.
Follow @BellaRose007 on Twitter & @BellaRoseo on Instagram
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Catch Bella Rose Okojie on Breakfast Jam on 92.3fm Inspiration fm Mondays through Friday and Wedding Vibes on Saturday Mornings
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Written by Alex Amos for SelahAfrik 2014 ©
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