Jumai Shaba is a television presenter and a red carpet host. Elegant and known for her exquisite style, she talks on her career and passion in this interview
Q: Can you shed more light on your background?
A: My name Jumai means Friday. It is a Moslem name but I am not a Moslem. I am a Christian, born on a Friday. I am 31 years old. My father is from Niger State while my mother is from Ogun State. I did my elementary school in Lagos and college in England. I have degrees in Information Technology and Writing from Middleséx University and Manchester University in London. I was trained in the World Bank on disbursement and financial issues. I have worked as an Information Technology consultant, basically providing I.T solution to several companies for 10 years before joining the entertainment industry. I worked with the Ministry of Information when my sister was the personal assistant to the minister. Also, I have worked for Windsor Petroleum and Lloyd Bank, among others.
Q: What is your unique selling point?
A: My selling point is my mind. My ability to process things and I don’t look for answers from people. I look for answers from within myself and from God.
Q: What are your favourite fashion accessories?
A: I am an accessory person and I belong to the old school that wears a set of jewellery made of earrings, necklace and bangles. I always have a wrist watch on. I have lots of bags and shoes but I can live without them. I am more particular about what I am wearing than the accessories. I also love fabrics, I play with patterns.
Q: Are there fabrics you particularly like?
A: I love things I can play around with like Chantilly lace, and I love Ankara because it is very versatile.
Q: What gives you the push?
A: I get the drive from my mother, she is a workaholic. Her business has been in existence before I was born. Till date, she wakes up every morning to work. Success drives me as well.
Q: How do you cope with pressure from the social scene? You disappeared for a while…
A: I did not really disappear from the social scene as such. When I got signed on to ‘Jara,’ an M-net show for two years, I was not prepared for the amount of attention I was going to get; being thrown into the limelight and its attendant glitz and glam. I did it for a while. Later, I had moments where I started associating events with work. In order for me to go to an event and enjoy myself without feeling pressurised, I would attend an event but would refuse to pose for red carpet photographs. I pick and choose where I show my face these days unlike when I first started.
Q: So, what pushed you into running a fabric store?
A: I own a fabric store. My mother is a fabric merchant and she supplies fabrics to my sisters and I. My grandmother was also into fabrics and it has been in the family for a while and it was only a matter of time before I came into the business. Entertainment is just a bonus, a platform for me to showcase some of my God-given talents. It also helps with my business because some of my friends from the social scene ask me and I tell them that I also own a fabric store in addition to being in show business.
Q: How do you handle both the business and showbiz?
A: It requires humility and I enjoy being able to serve. I enjoy putting fabrics on people’s skin and making them happy. I do wholesale because I don’t pay rent on the shop.
Q: What does style means to you?
A: Style speaks for you before you speak for yourself. It is the first thing people notice about you, which means that what you wear should present what you are. I like looking séxy but I believe less is more and that one can be séxy without showing too much.
Q: What clothes would you not be caught wearing?
A: You would not catch me in búm shorts or clothes that show my breásts. I show cleavage but with modesty. I am a role model. I won’t also be caught wearing a bikini unless I am outside the country because I am extremely shy and I feel that wearing bikini could look like being in underwéar.
Q: What are the two things you carry around in your handbag always?
A: Anointing oil and lip gloss.
Q: What is your beauty routine?
A: I am very low maintenance; I use olive oil, apricot scrub and sunscreen. Sun block with SPF 70 prevents black people from getting too dark.
Q: How do you keep in shape?
A: No secret to it. I eat everything, lots of chocolate, soft drinks and spaghetti. I have good genes, my father is very slim. I have never tried to diet or exercise.