Discover the inspiring journey of Diane Russet, an It girl making a name for herself in the entertainment and beauty industry. From her early years to her move to Hungary and Cyprus, Diane's story is one of resilience and unwavering determination.
PUBLISHED: June 29, 2023
After over three years of attempting to meet Diane Russet, I finally had the opportunity to speak with her, as Diane Russet arrives at the apartment situated on the outskirts of the Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge, the vintage aura of old Ikoyi lifestyle blended with a 60s vibe is apparent. The apartment exudes a certain charm that perfectly encapsulates the retro atmosphere of the area. Diane's fashion sense is also noteworthy as she steps out in a matching grey t-shirt and pants, showcasing her distinct personal style.As she steps out of her car, Diane has mastered the art of relaxed glam — a look that’s sleek enough to be seen in, but comfortable enough to handle a busy day. For all that Diane russet has going on in her life, she’s remarkably sweet, and an endearing story is one of courage, resilience, and unwavering determination.
Diane, a 27-year-old entrepreneur, influencer, chef, actress, and director, is an "It Girl" (or "That Girl," as they are more frequently called today) making a name for herself in the entertainment and beauty industry. Hailing from Ilorin, Kwara, in the north of Nigeria, Diane's parents have roots in Kogi and Kaduna State. She spent her early years in Ilorin before moving to Kaduna, where she attended both primary and secondary schools.
Diane's remarkable career is a testament to her talent, passion, and determination. She not only grew up in an area that has had a seismic impact on the entertainment and beauty industry but has also played a significant role in shaping these arenas. Diane's ability to succeed in such a competitive field is a true inspiration to young women everywhere.
During our lunch conversation, Diane revealed her aspirations for the future. She spoke passionately about her desire to inspire and empower young women to follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She also shared her plans to expand her business ventures and take on more challenging acting and directing roles.
It's clear that Diane's star is on the rise. With her exceptional talent, drive, and creativity, she is sure to continue making waves in the entertainment and beauty industry for years to come.Like a number of origin stories that have grown out of Nigeria’s famous reality television, this one begins with passion.
Diane Russet was actually born in Ilorin, a city located in Nigeria's Kwara State. Her mother hails from Kogi State while her father is originally from Kaduna State. Although her family lived in Ilorin for the first three years of her life, they eventually moved to Kaduna where she attended both primary and secondary schools.
Despite the challenges that came with moving to a new city, Diane excelled academically and was known for her hard work and dedication. Her parents instilled in her a strong sense of discipline and emphasized the importance of education. This helped shape her into the accomplished individual she is today.
However, Diane's success didn't come without hardships. Tragically, she lost her father shortly after graduating from high school in November of 2012. It was a difficult time for her and her family, but they persevered through the grief and continued to support one another.
As Diane shared these details with me, it became clear that her past has had a profound impact on her determination and resilience are rooted in the lessons she learned during her childhood and teenage years. Despite the challenges that life has thrown her way, she has always remained focused on her goals and committed to making a positive impact in the world.
Diane eventually opened up and shared her story. I was struck by her resilience and strength in the face of adversity. As we talked, I learned about her journey from Hungary to Cyprus and the challenges she faced along the way.
Diane had originally studied Medicine and Surgery in Hungary, but she quickly realized that it wasn't the right fit for her. Despite the initial setback, she remained determined to find her true calling. After some soul searching, she decided to pursue a degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics, which she believed would be a better fit for her interests and skills.
She knew that she needed to find a way to pursue her dreams without sacrificing her financial stability. So, she made the brave decision to move to Cyprus, where she could pursue her degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics in a more affordable and supportive environment.
The prospect of traveling abroad wasn't as exciting as Diane had anticipated. “The exchange rate between the Euro and Naira currencies proved to be a challenge for me, " That year there were some currency exchange problems, so it was hard to acquire any money from my mother back home. I recall that a friend of my cousin loaned me some cash to cover my semester's tuition. In order to have some extra money, I made the decision to take on various jobs. After a brief pause, she added, and so I had to start juggling between jobs and studying, which took a toll on my Cumulative Grade Point Average, CGPA. This forced me to change courses several times, and the more I changed courses, the less happy I was. “My first job was at a coffee shop, and I was fired the following day just because I didn't speak Turkish."
Despite this, she decided to study Turkish and eventually found a new job. "After that terrible experience, I made sure to learn the language and found my next job at a casino. Even with my first job It wasn’t enough to fit my bills so I had to search for a second job. I had the good fortune to land a second job as an assistant chef at a restaurant serving Arabic cuisine, where I honed my cooking skills.” “Even though I was getting a little financial stability, I'd have to say that was the worst semester I've ever had. I had to work different shifts, and I hardly ever had time to actually study my books," she said. Some people don't exactly have it easy. I can only imagine how distressed and traumatized she must have been at that time. She then went on to discuss how she balanced all of her jobs with school, which required her to once again drop into a less challenging course.
Diane was compelled to return to Nigeria by the pressures she experienced in Cyprus. Her friends at the time believed it was pretty wrong of her to return, given the fact that she had no firm goals when she arrived in Nigeria. “I remember being so worn out and simply wanting to return to Nigeria at the moment. I clearly recall how my buddies would urge me to stop and consider what I was doing, but I didn't care because I was tired of the place.”Upon arriving in Nigeria, her mother received her with open arms and never condemned her because of her choice to come back to Nigeria. “I believe that my mother is the most forgiving mother in the entire world. She is like my Gee; we chat about everything and anything, and I confide in her frequently. Naturally, she thought we could have done a better job at the time, but she was never critical of me. We simply got over it since we both realized we had no control over the issue.” Considering how most African mothers react when their children make very "rash" decisions, I personally think that was really lovely of her mother to do so. With the intention of working hard until she had enough money, Diane returned to Lagos, Nigeria. “I made the decision to visit Lagos because I had heard that it was a city where dreams could come true. Without having a solid understanding of the entertainment industry, I subsequently made the decision to try it.” Diane sought to audition for a number of shows during this time as she wanted to establish herself in the business, including a beauty pageant show.
“I recall that on December 31, 2018, I attended the crossover service at House on The Rock. I began to prophesy that I would enter the Big Brother House and remain there for a very long time when the pastor instructed us to focus on the blessings of the new year.” “I discovered I had a blister on my lips the morning before the audition, so I looked a mess. I felt that my audition had not gone particularly well, so I made the decision to let it go and decided that I would try again the following year (2020).” “I remember my sister calling me and telling me about an online audition. I told her I already did mine, and she said the Big Brother Team were set to choose a candidate online.” She paused for a bit to stifle a little laughter and continued “I told my sister that I wasn't really interested in doing the virtual audition because I had the mindset that the team already knew who they were going to pick, so I considered it a waste of time.” My sister finally convinced me and did the online audition, she laughed and said even while I was to record my Audition the laptop and the camera my sister and I wanted to use didn’t work but my sister pushed and finally we sent in my audition clip and trust me it wasn’t the best to my standard. “On the 7th of March 2019, I got a call from the Big Brother Nigeria Team to come for an interview, and I'd just been moving forward from there.”
I had always believed that in order to even consider entering the Big Brother House, someone had to know someone. It transpires that I wasn't entirely off the mark. How accurate was this, I questioned Diane. “Well, there's this system of 'connection' in Nigeria, so I wouldn't blame somebody for thinking that way. I've really been questioned if I ever exploited connections to get into the house, but I don't think those questions matter. If I ever had connections in Lagos, I would prefer to use them to complete my education or accomplish something truly amazing.”
During her stay in the house, Diane felt she was the "black sheep" of the group, seeing as other contestants had an idea or two of how to deal with the contest and the drama that came with it. “I was the person in the house who was least prepared as I faced various issues which included navigating relationships, dealing with conflicts, and being scrutinized by millions of viewers.
Everyone else in the house had a wealth of knowledge and expertise about the workings of the entertainment business; whereas they had knowledgeable staff managing their Instagram accounts for them and thousands of followers, I had my sister in charge of mine. I was just a passive observer of my surroundings and the people around me.”
With every other ex-big brother house mate, the major question on everyone’s mind would be what next so I had to inquire about plans for the future. I was pleased to learn that Diane, who had not completed her education prior to her stint on the show, intends to return to school. She says "By God's grace, I'll go back to school," she told me, adding that she is committed to completing her education.
Given Diane's newfound fame, I was also interested in learning how she was handling her celebrity status. She explained that while she enjoys making movies, she is not someone who seeks out the limelight. "I'm still learning how to deal with fame," she admitted. "There isn't a manual on how to do it; you just have to learn by experience." I found her honesty and humility to be refreshing.
Of course, with fame comes scrutiny, and I had heard rumors that Diane was married with children. When I asked her about this, she demurred, blushing slightly but declining to answer. While I was curious to know the truth, I respected her right to privacy.
As someone who lives for the culture, I have had many celebrity interviews over the years, I have heard a lot of stories. However, I found Diane's story to be particularly inspiring. Despite facing her share of challenges, she remains committed to pursuing her dreams. I hope that her example will encourage young people to persevere in the face of adversity and to never give up on their aspirations. As Diane herself said, “People that believe in their dreams and put up a lot of effort often experience good things!”