A captivating narrative about Venita's inspiring journey, as a successful single mother in the entertainment industry, she challenges traditional gender roles, balancing her career with parenthood and redefining domesticity. Her resilience, openness about life's challenges, and thriving career make her an empowering role model.
PUBLISHED: November 13, 2023
It's around 10 a.m. in Lagos, Nigeria. Venita arrives at the Aura Magazine studio on the Lagos mainland, looking stunning as ever. It's my first time meeting her, and she appears all-natural and serene. I've always wondered how she has been able to live in two separate worlds. Firstly, as a single mother of two beautiful daughters, and also as a public figure in a society in which women are trained to be domesticated. The fight against patriarchy has been a longstanding struggle, with women at the forefront of this battle for gender equality and equity.
My first instinct upon meeting Venita was how calm and approachable she was. Contrary to the rumors about her being fierce and hot-headed, the woman that greets me seems warm, cool, and kind. After we get settled, I ask her the first question. It's a simple question, yet quite deep. My desire is to get to know her better. While there are basic details about Venita on Wikipedia, she leads a very private life. Because of her privacy, there isn't much information available about her personal life.
Venita has cemented herself as one of Nigeria’s sweethearts through her many roles on the silver screen and her appearance in the Nigerian reality TV show Big Brother Naija. Let's recall that she was recently a housemate on Big Brother Naija All Stars, and she was also a housemate on Big Brother Naija Pepper Dem, which took place years ago before the All-Stars season. I was curious to learn more about her life before she shot to fame.
She looked at me with an amazing smile and said, Just before Big Brother, I was in the family stage of my life. I think I shifted my focus from working to building a family. But, you know, I've been around for a long time. So, yeah, it's been quite progressive. I've gone from strength to strength in my career.
But, yeah, when I got pregnant with my firstborn, whom I actually did not end up having, I actually ended up losing that child. I took a step back and decided to be more intense and intentional about family planning. I was also quite domesticated before I entered Big Brother. But prior to all of that domestication, I was steadily advancing in my career, to be honest."
My pregnancy was not planned, and I recall feeling uncertain about the potential outcome. When I lost my child, I carried a sense of guilt, believing that my experience was somehow to blame for the loss. It wasn't until I lost that pregnancy that I realized how much I had hoped for the child. Subsequently, my partner and I made a deliberate decision to conceive again. However, it was not a straightforward journey, and it took some time before our firstborn arrived." Her openness in discussing the loss of her child and her determination to conceive again instills in me a profound sense of familiarity with her story
I found it really interesting when she mentioned that she was domesticated, and I wanted to know what she meant. She says, "When I say 'domesticated,' I mean that a domesticated woman is someone whose job or lifestyle revolves around managing a home. It includes all the processes and responsibilities related to a home, not just housekeeping but also staff management, childcare, and hospitality. It involves handling all the responsibilities, being very present, and being fully committed to your relationship and your family."
I am constitutionally unable to avoid bringing up her mother, who she mentioned was quite domesticated and a source of inspiration. I express curiosity about whether she felt pressured to emulate her mother's role, especially with two daughters of her own.
"It was a significant decision for me to fully embrace this role. My mother was a prime example of someone who balanced domestic duties with her work. I aspired to mirror her qualities in managing my home, wanting to provide the same nurturing environment I experienced while growing up."
"I hold my mother in high regard. Her ability to balance two jobs while caring for four children is truly admirable. She largely shouldered the responsibility on her own and even managed to provide me with a private education. I was exposed to numerous opportunities and sources of knowledge. For me, she epitomizes what it means to be an exceptional mother. I've encountered other people's mothers, each with their unique stories, but my mom is my aspiration in many aspects. I often tell her that if I could be just half the mother and wife she is, I would be content. Many of these values and qualities begin at home during childhood. So, yes, I wanted to emulate her, but it's important to note that my journey is not solely based on emulating her. I had to take what I needed from her example and add my own essence to create my unique path."
I express my admiration for Venita's story and her deep admiration for her mother. Venita responds affirmatively.
“I genuinely hold my mother in the highest regard, even if she doesn't see it that way (with a slight giggle). In our relationship, I don't conform to the typical parent-child dynamic that was considered normal in my generation, where you didn't discuss certain topics with your parents. My mother and I talk about everything, whether it's about subjects like sex, things that might be considered taboo, friends, or lifestyle. I consider myself very fortunate. She embodies both tradition and modernity. I can't think of many of my friends' parents, maybe just one or two exceptions, who could have managed me as a parent, to be honest."
I continue to shower compliments on her mother, and Venita humorously adds that her mother is much nicer than she is. "She's way nicer than me. She's incredibly sweet and always maintains her composure. She rarely loses her temper. I wish I could inherit those qualities from her."
The more I converse with Venita, the more I become deeply engrossed in her story. It feels like I've known her for ages, and her aura is incredibly comforting. Looking at her you will think she has everything all figured out and she does seem to have had an easy smooth ride at life, I had to ask her about the challenges she faced during her childhood and if she encountered anything that left a lasting impact or trauma.
"Certainly, we all do. What people often overlook is that there's no such thing as a perfect childhood. While you can come close to it, much of who you become is shaped by your memories and experiences during your childhood, as well as the trials you face during your formative adult years and how you navigate through them."
She goes on to reveal that she is one of four siblings, sharing insights into her family structure and the challenges they encountered. "My mother has four children, two girls, and two boys. It's me, a brother, another sister, and another brother. My sister, who is eight years younger than I am, also has two children like me. We grew up with a mother who worked tirelessly to make ends meet while caring for four children in the United Kingdom. Although my parents were married, my father was largely absent."
The issue of absent fathers is a deeply concerning and complex challenge within many African families, reflecting a broader societal problem. While it's important to recognize that there are numerous African fathers who are dedicated and actively involved in their children's lives, there remains a significant number who face difficulties in maintaining their roles as present and engaged fathers.
She noods her head and said "My father led a double life, maintaining a bachelor's lifestyle while occasionally returning home and being 'married' for one or two months of the year. Consequently, I grew up without a role model for what a complete, well-rounded home should be. However, my mom did an excellent job."
"Oftentimes, people recount stories about their childhood, often highlighting its difficulties. What people fail to realize is that our past experiences shape and define our future. I see my childhood as an integral part of what has shaped me, as we all go through experiences, both negative and positive, that influence our inner selves and ultimately determine who we become. In my view, it's all part of God's way of connecting people with their roots. We all have our own struggles, with some facing more significant challenges than others, but it's the journey that truly matters."
She smiled and said I know you must be wondering how I was able to go through all that growing up, I said yes and I asked I really want to know how she managed to overcome the trials and tribulations that life has thrown her way and how she has learned to rise above them.
"God sends people to you she says, at the right time, with the right support, for you to learn the lessons you need, and not to be too hard on yourself. It's essential not to be too hard on yourself and to have a good support system. Your support should encompass emotional, spiritual, and all-around support. Consulting with a psychologist is also important. If you need to leave the country, don't hesitate to do so. Listen to your inner voice. I don't strive for perfect balance; I simply do my best. I have a great support system that covers for me when I'm not around." An example will be my experience in the Big Brother house and the support she received during that time. I was fortunate that it coincided with the holidays, and I had a strong support system. "My children traveled for the holidays, thanks to my efforts to make it happen. My mom and sister take care of them, allowing me to do what I need to do. There's no one-size-fits-all formula for raising a child because every child and family situation is unique. I don't aim for perfect balance; I just do my best."
As I delved into the depths of Venita's personal journey, one aspect that caught my attention was the absence of mention of her ex-husband as part of her support system. Given the intricate dynamics of familial relationships, it left me wondering about the intricacies of her past experiences. While Venita openly discussed her mother's crucial role, her children, and the network of friends and family who supported her, the unspoken aspects of her relationship with her ex-husband remained a point of curiosity. I inquire about the need for a positive male influence, and she responds, "Yes, I believe there should be, especially as my oldest child is turning about 11. But I trust that God will provide, and I'm capable of handling the job. So, it's not an issue. I wouldn't welcome masculine energy just for the sake of it. I'd have to be certain that the person can accept and get along with my children and respect them, which depends on how they see how that person treats me. I don't want to rush into marriage or a commitment only to find myself in a difficult situation again. I have to be careful about it."
"I do miss the intimacy of having someone to talk to about everything. However, the children's father hasn't been very active and hasn't significantly contributed to their lives. So, whether he's present or not, it wouldn't affect what the children need."
As our conversation continued, I gained more insights into Venita's life and experiences. While I aimed to keep our discussion personal rather than focusing on her Big Brother experience, I knew I had to ask questions that had intrigued many, including me. One of those questions was about her relationship with Adekunle as i recall a post written on Twitter where it’s mentioned that her time in the house with Adekunle had triggered a sense of PTSD, making her feel rejected and isolated. I felt compelled to inquire about the situation that led to these feelings and how it had affected her. She confirmed that she didn’t write that.
I asked her about her relationship with Adekunle and whether it was genuine or just for show. She responded, “I don’t think we treated anyone else the way we treated each other.”
I was also curious to know if his family had been receptive to her, especially because the internet carried many narratives about the age difference between her and Adekunle. She was swift to cut in and said that’s a lie "I believe I met some of his immediate family during the finale, and they were very nice and polite to me. They were receptive and kind. I can't comment on what those people are talking about. Just yesterday, I saw on the internet that I had unfollowed him, and he had unfollowed me, which isn't true. The internet often distorts things, and fans can create their own narratives. Some may even pay blogs to publish false stories. You just have to let it be." I agreed with her because the internet does tend to distort information.
Venita already had a well-established brand before being called back for the All-Stars Season, and I was curious to know why she said yes to the All Stars call. “I was invited back because I am an all-star, and they probably felt there was much more about me that people didn't know. It was also an opportunity to share my journey from the beginning. I don't know many people who were asked to come back and declined. So, I don't believe the information that some claim they were asked and said no is entirely accurate. Out of 144 housemates from all the seasons, being recognized as one of the top 20 out of 144 is quite an honor. Even successful individuals who are constantly in the headlines and sharing their success stories agreed to come back.
Some who couldn't start at the beginning joined later, even if they had to travel from another country. It's a social experiment with a challenging dynamic to balance and understand. I was fortunate to be one of the initial participants, indicating that Biggie had more for me to do and show.” One of the final questions I posed to her before concluding the interview pertained to how she deals with certain challenges on the internet, especially those concerning her children. Given that her children attend school and may have been exposed to various comments and reactions related to her appearances on reality shows, I inquired about how her kids handle any negative comments or questions they might encounter.
"Honestly, my kids don't face any bullying. I believe their friends find it pretty cool that their mom appears on TV shows and in movies. Children tend to be less complex than us adults because they don't overthink things. Furthermore, I've implemented filters and restrictions on what my children can access. Their iPads have restrictions, and they only use them on weekends or during holidays. So the only potential issue might be comments from their friends. They wouldn't be aware of much unless they watched Big Brother all day long, which I highly doubt. I also make an effort not to do anything that would negatively affect them. I haven't harmed anyone, taken anything from anyone, or been involved in any illegal activities. So I believe we're fine. I've made choices in life that I don't regret. I'm a strong, assertive individual, and sometimes I may be misunderstood, but that's okay. I teach my daughters that if they have strong feelings or are misunderstood, they should stand their ground firmly. If you observe some of my social media content with my kids, you'll notice that they are quite outspoken. And that's how it is."
I concurred with her regarding her children being outspoken, mentioning that I had seen videos of her and her kids engaging in lively discussions. I recalled a particular video in which they were discussing makeup, and she explained that they could only wear it on their birthdays, to which one of her kids had a spirited argument with her. I remarked on their willingness to engage in debates and their outspoken nature.
She responded, "I'm even fortunate to have daughters because there are many subjects we can discuss, and they can talk to me about anything. I also have a strong support system, as I mentioned earlier. Many of my closest friends are single parents, and we support each other. When my girls need to get away, I think of a friend's daughter. I just received a message from a friend saying that her daughter is on her way to my house. That's the kind of relationship I have with my friends—tough, resilient women who support one another."
Venita's story stands as a powerful testament to her strength and resilience. Her journey mirrors the tenacity and unwavering spirit of many single mothers who have taken on the dual roles of provider and nurturer. It's a remarkable demonstration of how single mothers have been able to raise their children with love and dedication, breaking away from conventional gender norms. In the face of adversity, these women have shown that they can create loving and supportive environments, instill values, and offer unwavering care. Venita's journey embodies the spirit of single mothers everywhere, who navigate the complexities of life with grace, ensuring their children are well-equipped to face the world with confidence and determination. It's not just Venita's story we celebrate, but the countless single mothers who, like her, embody strength, love, and the belief that they can provide their children with everything they need to become extraordinary individuals.