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Since auditioning for the MTN Y’hello TV Show in 2002, on-air personality Tana Adelana (nee Egbo) has gone on to perpetually grace TV screens across Africa. The 2005 Grind Awards winner, three-time finalist and 2011 winner of the On-Air Personality of the Year (TV) at the Future Awards, Nigeria’s most prestigious youth awards, she has worked with several top brands and on various A-List productions, including the MTN Y’hello TV Show, MNet’s ‘Let’s Dance’, LG Karaoke Mega Star Show, Coca Cola FC TV Show, Zain Naira Rain Promo, and Big Brother Africa. In this exclusive chat with BN Editorial Assistant, Gbenga Awomodu, Tana who’s currently one of the Peak Talent Show hosts talks about her TV career, growing love for acting, family and other details.

Meet Tana
My names are Christiana Nkem Adelana, born to a royal and Christian home in the early 80’s. I schooled in Lagos – Treasure Land Nursery and Primary school in Surulere and St. Francis Catholic Secondary School, Idimu. I studied and obtained a B.Sc. in Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Lagos. I am a TV presenter, an actress and a business woman.

What piqued your interest in the media and entertainment industry, especially TV?
I have always been talkative and I knew someday (didn’t know how), I would be talking professionally so when the opportunity presented itself, I accepted, found it a bit challenging initially, got comfortable and fell completely in love with the camera.

Could you briefly describe your journey to becoming a widely celebrated Veejay, whilst shedding some light on the nature of the learning curve?
Hmmm, ok, it started off in 2002 when I auditioned for the MTN Y’hello TV Show. I got the job after series of auditions and nudging. I did the job and I realised it was fun. It was me and it was exactly where I wanted to be. After MTN Y’hello, I started getting calls to do other jobs; that was the beginning of my very busy career. Presenting, like every other job is easy provided you understand what it is. It’s like acting: you are giving a script and a brief; you get into character and deliver your lines in the most convincing manner.

What professional courses and trainings have you enrolled in to give your career a lift?
While on different jobs in the past, I have had one-on-one trainings with speech therapists and oral English teachers; in recent times, online courses and the New York Film Academy.

What are those extra ingredients that one could add to become a top-flight on-air personality?
To be a top flight on-air personality, you just have to be the best you can be and let your personality shine through. Never try to be anyone else because it never works; it’s like a magnifying glass, everyone will see right through you boldly.

What are the peculiar challenges faced by practitioners in media and entertainment industry, especially for TV presenters?
Most practitioners are faced with inadequate funds. Pure and outright nepotism, and it’s like a food chain, we are right under production companies so if they suffer, for the most part, we suffer.

You have also recently started to act in movies. How have you been able to make that transition, and which movies have you acted in recently?
Making the transition to Nollywood isn’t so difficult for me as presenting is like acting; you have a script (which is totally different for every production). You get into the character and deliver your lines convincingly. I have featured in 3 seasons of Disclosure (a B Concept production), Flatmates and In-laws (a K.P. Cypress Production), and 2 brides and a baby, which is set for release in October 2011.

Working for long hours and frequent travelling are undoubtedly some of the features of your job. How do you cope with the huge demand on your time as an on-air personality, actress, wife, mother, and mentor?
First of all I will like to mention that I have a very big God by my side and a very loving and supportive husband. God just works it all out for me and my husband helps out in every way he can so it works out well at the end of the day; but you are right, my job takes a lot of my time and looking at my schedule, it may seem crazy to anyone who’s not in the field.

How financially rewarding is your profession, especially for new entrants? For how long do they have to hang on in there before the big checks start to come in?
It may not be so lucrative in the beginning for new entrants, but as long as you can prove yourselves to be indispensable, the pay checks will definitely start rolling in before you know it.

Undoubtedly, a great deal of business savvy is needed for one to succeed in whatever field of endeavour. How have you been able to develop your business sense and build your brand?
I am an Igbo girl o! Lol. When you have been in the game for long, you will understand how negotiation works, but it all boils down to what you think you deserve.

Continue reading the interview here: Wife, Mum, TV Host, VJ…The List Goes On – Tana Adelana tells BN how she does it!