Winner of the Person of the year prize at the 2012 edition of African Diaspora Awards, Lola Ogunnaike has contributed to the New York Times, Essence, Rolling Stone and now Arise Entertainment 360 . She has worked at CNN as an entertainment correspondent for American Morning. Ogunnaike has also been spotted on VH1 The View, MTV and BET and her articles have been featured in Rolling Stone, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and Vibe. In 2007, she was named one of Ebony magazine’s “150 Most Influential Blacks in America.”
“I was born a journalist. I’ve always been extremely inquisitive, have loved writing since I was a child and I’m a natural observer”, Says Ogunnaike. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Virginia and her master’s in Journalism from NYU.
In her decision to become a journalist, one of her biggest challenges was persuading her parents that journalism is a viable career options. However, through her success and hard work in the field, she has proven the respectability of the field to her family. One of these great successes was interviewing First Lady Michelle Obama in South Africa. On this experience, Ogunnaike states, “having the opportunity to speak with such a historical figure on the continent that gave birth to my parents was a real full circle moment.”
Ogunnaike’s secret to success? “Hard work is the key to becoming a successful journalist. While others are sleeping or partying, you must be working. It’s also important to seek out mentors, people who will help guide your career, provide sound advice and keep you focused.” It is no wonder she has been a success in her field. Lola Ogunnaike enjoys her work, and despite the acclaimed success, she has stayed grounded, staying connected to her African heritage.
Lola Ogunnaike sits down with the President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria in this exclusive interview.