Babajide Awoyinfa Next To Blow

Next To Blow: I Strive To Be The Ultimate Presenter – Stephanie Coker

Friday, January 18, 2013Omobaswagz H



By Babajide Awoyinfa
She is young, fresh, funky and funny. She has enough energy to light up a room, enough enthusiasm to keep an audience interested. You might be confused about this: is her infectious smile or her conversational skill the magnetic aura of her personality? This you’d not dispute: She is a lady of charm.

But it will be wrong to view Stephanie Coker as just another “Beautiful face.” She is a go getter, with Curriculum Vitae that could make any accomplished TV presenters green with envy. Working for MTV and Channel 4 is no mean feat.

In this encounter, the graduate of Brunel University, West London, ruminates on why becoming a presenter means the world to her.


Tell us about yourself?
My name is Stephanie Coker. I’m 24 years old. I was born in Lagos, Nigeria but moved to the UK with my mum when I was a year old. I have a younger brother who lives in the UK with both my parents. There are so many different personalities in my family that we balance each other out. I’ve always been in love with the Nigerian culture. I remember walking down my high street listening to the likes of Lagbaja, Kwam 1 and D’banj and my friends were confused as to why I wasn’t listening to the more mainstream music. I moved to Nigeria in September 2011 to pursue a career in presenting and to also impact the lives of young Nigerians.

How would you describe your style as a TV presenter?
My style of presenting is really a reflection of my personality. I am very spontaneous and sometimes cheeky. I don’t take myself seriously; I like to have fun with the people I’m interviewing. I like to do whatever comes to my head. Let’s just say I could never be a newscaster.

What was your first experience as a presenter?
My first time presenting was very nerve racking.  I kept trying to remember the questions and also my name. 


What presenting moment do you remember most?
My most vivid presenting moment was when I won the MTV Find My Freedom UK Presenter competition. I was in an advert that ran across the UK throughout the summer. That was the first time I’d ever seen myself on TV. It was so surreal!

Is Becoming a TV presenter your childhood dream?
No. I actually wanted to be a lawyer. I was really good at arguing other people’s cases in school. Unfortunately, I have a short attention span for reading books.  I really love interacting and quizzing new people and of course public figures, presenting allows me to do that.


What convinced you to pursue a career in that direction?
I used to love reading out aloud in classes and assemblies. I had this really cool reading voice that I use to put on. I was a chatterbox in school; I always got stuck in detention for talking in class.  That’s when I realised that talking was definitely my business.

How did you become involved in the type of presenting you do now?
I took presenting courses and classes and from there. I was able to discover the type of presenting that suited me based on my personality.

How long have you been presenting?
My first ever-presenting gig was in 2009 whilst I was still in the university. I’d say I started officially presenting in 2011 when I landed a gig on a satellite station called the Community Channel, which is in partnership with the BBC.



How did Brunel University impact on your path?
Brunel played a big role with my decision to become a TV Presenter. The modules in my course enabled me to experiment with different types of presenting. My course included internships in which I interned at production companies in London, New York and AIT in Abuja. During one of my internships, a friend and I came up with the idea to create an online show where students could showcase their talent. I was the presenter on the show and from there I was asked to host more university events.

Give us a lowdown of your work profile?
In the UK, I’ve worked at Channel 4, Diageo, MTV UK as an intern and I was a reporter on Community Channel. In New York, I worked at Pan Desi TV.  My first job in Nigeria was with Cool FM in which I co- anchored the Midday Oasis until I moved on to MTV Base. I also anchored the Pepsi ton ten-radio chart show.  Lest I forget, I am also an actress.  I am currently acting on the hit soap Tinsel as PA to Brenda.


Working at MTV Base, how was the experience?
I really enjoy presenting on the Big Friday show with Basketmouth. Its fun playing Amebo, but I really enjoy presenting on Street Request.  It’s a video request show where I interrogate unsuspecting members of the public, before allowing them to pick their favourite music video....The show comes on every Monday at 10 pm on MTV BASE and 6 pm on STV.

How did you get the MTV Africa contract?
I auditioned to host a show on MTV Base called Street Request. I had to interview my producer on camera, which was hilarious as he kept behaving like a teenager who’d just started puberty. He purposely tried to give me a hard time.

What is your “biggest break” so far in your presenting career?
My biggest break I think was when I applied to present for a show called “Newsround” on the BBC. I was so flabbergasted when I received an email saying I’d been shortlisted for an audition. It was such a big deal because thousands apply to the BBC every year but only few are called. That’s when I knew that I had what it takes to become a TV presenter.



Do you think you stand a chance of making a success out of being a presenter?
I pray and never give up. I believe in God and myself. With these, it’s easy to overcome obstacles. I also have an amazing support system. 


What kind of change do consider necessary in presenting generally?
Presenters should just continue to be real and not put so much emphasis on the way they sound. I don’t really like to put too much emphasis on my accent that’s why I play around with Pidgin English when presenting. I want people to love my OAP persona, not my accent.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?
Adapting to Lagos life and the hustle. I thank God for the experience so far; this place has definitely made me a stronger person.

What does your family think of you taking presenting as a career and do they support you?
They absolutely love it. My mum is always telling her friends about my work; sometimes I get a bit embarrassed.


do you rate your live performance?
I’d say 7 out of 10. I’d love to say 10, but I’m not quite there yet. 

What is your favourite line when presenting?
“Love it.”

Who do you attribute to your “drive” as a presenter?
I admire and look up to a lot of British presenters such as Jameela Jamil, Trevor Nelson, and in the US, Winfrey Oprah and Piers Morgan among others.



What makes you unique from other presenters?
Hmmm. I have no shame!

Who is your dream presenter, dead or alive?
Chelsea Handler. She is so unpredictable and care free.

What is your ultimate watchword?
Be you, because an original is worth more than a counterfeit.



What makes you think that you are the next to blow?
I’m young, fearless and talented. Failure isn’t an option for me. My fans can follow me on Twitter @stephaniecoker. On Facebook, stephanieeniafecoker and Instagram: stephaniecoker_

Don’t forget you can catch me on Big Friday Show, Street Request and Tinsel.

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