Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ex-Model Titi' Fanta' Oyinsan Opens Up About Balancing Marriage With Her Career & Family


Titi Oyinsan is a radio presenter, who began media work as a model and TV presenter. She got married last year and had twin daughters [see pictures] earlier this year. In an interview with BellaNaija, she shares her love story with husband, Gbemi Oyinsan, managing a business with him, her experience of twin pregnancy, how she copes with motherhood, marriage and going back to work. Below is an excerpt of the interview...

How did you and and your husband Oscar Oyinsan meet?
It was very simple. Denrele, who is an ex-boyfriend of mine (I dated him when I was still a teenager), was having a birthday party and Oscar, who was working for Showtime Africa at the time, was also working the red carpet with me. For a brief moment, there just happened to be a lull in time when we were interviewing each other.

What were Oscar’s first words to you?
I actually cannot recall his first words to me but all I remember is that I needed to interview at least twenty people on that red carpet and I had reached about fifteen when I saw this guy in a very bright pink shirt. I thought it would look good on camera so I just pulled him towards my camera and started the interview. After convincing him that he looked great, I conducted my interview and for some reason, this guy in the pink shirt just never left me for the rest of the night. I actually began to think we had met before or that he was a really close friend of Denrele because he kept on checking up on me to make sure I was having a great night. So, because of that, I was very cordial and nice. I meet a lot of people at events so I didn’t want a situation where it would seem like I was snubbing someone that ‘I knew’, not knowing that I had never met him before.


When did you and Oscar start dating?
It was probably immediately. I had to hitch a ride with some girlfriends that night and suddenly, those girls disappeared so I needed a ride back to my school hostel. He gave me a ride home and dropped me at the gate. He was also working at UNILAG FM at the time so we used to see each other all the time and we just became really fast friends. I can say ‘immediately’ and I can say ‘it was a gradual process’ but it wasn’t one of those ‘love at first sight’ things. It was a really great friendship that just grew; no sparks or anything.

What attracted you to Oscar?
He was very lively and open, respectful. He’s very family-oriented and respects his family and gives them that amount of attention. I needed that in a companion. He’s very funny, caring and understanding. He’s someone that doesn’t really judge people based on their past. Not to say that either of us are angels but let me just say that he knows most of my exes and he understands and respects me for who I am now and not what I was.

How did Oscar pop the question?
We had been going out for about two years, I think. We met in July, 2008 and he popped the question on his birthday in 2010. There was an Inspiration FM red carpet event we were supposed to be reporting live from and suddenly, it started raining. Red carpets are terrible when it starts raining so he suggested that we go for a drive. I thought, “A drive in the rain, really?” and before I realized it, we were at Oriental Hotel. I thought that maybe he just wanted to have a few drinks and enjoy his birthday at the hotel. He got one of those beautiful corner side rooms overlooking the lagoon and in the morning, he got me breakfast in bed. Then, he starts talking really mushy and emotional, and I’m like – ‘Hey! It was just a birthday. Calm down’.

I noticed there were three plates which was unusual because we were only two. I assumed it was some kind of breakfast dessert or something. It was my first time at the Oriental Hotel back then so I didn’t want to embarrass myself so I just started eating mine. Then, curiosity just pushed me to open the second plate. It had one of those hotel dome things so I opened it up and just saw this incredible ring box. My response was very razz. I said “what’s that?” and he was just looking at me with a very straight face. So, as I opened it, he knelt before me and said that he’d appreciate it if I would help him to build a fantastic life together. He said he was going to dedicate his life to making me happy and that he hoped that I would give him the opportunity to be his wife. Then, I go “if you’re sure. Are you sure?” and he goes “are you sure?” as well and we keep going back and forth like that until we hug. Apparently, he had told everybody – his whole family and my best friends – that he was going to propose that day so it was a beautiful surprise to be the last to know.

How was pregnancy for you, being a first-time mom?
Pregnancy was a challenge, one I only overcame with the grace of God. We got married in April 2012 and I gave birth in April 2013. My first trimester was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to go through in my life and that’s saying something because I’ve been through a lot of ish. I was so sick that I had to take a month off work. I had morning sickness galore. There was even a time when I had to go to the hospital to re-hydrate with a drip because I couldn’t eat anything. But, eventually, by the middle of the fourth month, everything started cooling off but I was still reacting to so many things. I couldn’t smell onions. If there was any food in the vicinity that had onions in it, I was going to barf. My mum actually created a menu for me of food that had no taste; I’m talking about eating Quaker Oats with no milk, dry rice… but fruit was great. I actually documented quite a bit of this on my blog (click here). I had a lot of support from church members, friends and family and my mum was with me almost 24/7. I was constantly online checking for ways to assist myself.

How do you and Oscar balance out raising the twins and your jobs?
Job-wise, Oscar has tried his best to be hands-on, even though he has a lot of responsibilities but I needed a lot of support from a fellow woman and fellow mother that I could trust and believe in and that’s my mom. Since the moment she knew I was going in to the hospital, she hasn’t left my side, not for lack of other things to do but because the job of raising two girls, Amber and Ruby, wasn’t something that new parents could do to the best of their capability. She studied child care and community studies so child caring was never a problem for her. She was like my own personal google for any question I had and I’m very grateful. Oscar has done everything he can to be a great dad. I don’t think there’s anything I’ve asked him to do that he hasn’t put his hundred percent into.

When did you set up a business together?
That was back in 2011. It’s called Amber 11 Media and we provide media solutions for a lot of companies. We tailor media to you. We noticed that a lot of media agencies cater for the big companies – telecoms and what have you. But, what happens to the one-man businesses and the SMEs? We cater to those ones and help them provide media solutions based on their budgets. We also record audio books for people. Oscar and I record with our own voices and we have a lot of authors on standby for audio books.

How do you handle the tension when arguments arise on business decisions? Does it translate to the home?
We don’t actually argue; we discuss. Arguments are reserved for family matters, trust me. Most of the time tension in business never comes from finance, it comes from creative differences. In the end, there can’t be two captains on the ship. We both have our strengths and we make compromises depending on those.

Has it been challenging for you getting back into shape post-pregnancy?
Yes, it has been. I give a lot of respect to all the mothers all over the world looking fantastic. I had to adjust my diet a lot. A lot of people say that I don’t look like I’ve just dropped twins. I have a fitness trainer and he even comes on air with me three times a week. Since I didn’t go through natural birth, he helps with the tiny routines I can do to get back into shape. You can check my blog as well for some of the routines.

Do you think you will be going back to modelling or TV anytime soon?
I’ve actually received a few phone calls and I’m in negotiations with about three or four people. I’ve now been classified as a plus-size model and categorized in mother roles. I’m not planning to be a size 6 or size 0 but I plan to get back to a comfortable weight.

As for TV, I can’t let the cat out of the bag. I’m actually looking for investors right now and I’ve got two or three great ideas in the works.

How have you been handling comments from the public on your body during and post-pregnancy?
It hasn’t been so bad. Someone even flattered me on Twitter by comparing my pregnancy body to Halle Berry’s. I just hope I won’t get as chastised as some of these celebrities have been. Right now, being healthy is more important to me than being acceptable to society.

What did you hate and love the most about your pregnancy?
I hated the swollen feet, going to the bathroom every few minutes and not being able to stay in a car for longer than a few minutes.

I loved the fact that everyone wanted to pray for me, the gifts and goodies for the babies. I really cherish the prayers. I don’t think I’ve ever been as beautiful as when I was pregnant

When should we be expecting another little Oyinsan?
I’m not planning to have kids in the next three years, based on research and me wanting to get back to work. But, if God wants it to be any other way, then so be it.

Are you back to work now?
Yeah, I am. I’ve got two major new programmes that are really getting a lot of buzz, ‘Your Baby And You’ as well as ‘Naija Women in Business’ so make sure you tune in.

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