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“No matter how famous Benita gets, I’ll always be her BFF” Bellarose Okojie tells it all in this close up interview with Alex Amos

Culled from  SelahAfrik

Simply known as Bella Rose, she’s the younger sister of the
kid-star turn Gospel diva, Benita Okojie and just like her sister, her
love for Jesus drives her passion. According to Bella Rose, being an OAP
at Inspiration Fm has strengthened her faith and helped her to practise
what she preaches.
Bella Rose recently spoke with Alex Amos on her Christian faith,
her broadcasting career, family, social media vices proffering solutions
amongst other issues. She’s such a natural as far as broadcasting is
concerned.
“I would say broadcasting for me is innate, going to school and
studying mass communication only made me better at it because I learnt
other aspect of Mass Communication and creativity as well. You know,
being gifted to be able to do something is different from learning
something that will complement the gift that God has blessed you with.”
She said.
SelahAfrik: Tell us about your childhood days, what was it like growing up with a superstar (Benita okojie) as a sister?

Bella: Growing up with my sister was fun (laughs), I have always been her right-hand-man. Growing
up we did not have so much friends, so we were our own friends… from
making our teddies and toys students and writing on the walls with chalk
to cooking rice out of white and red sand, we had a lot of fun. We also
did a lot of talent hunts; acting singing and playing action film with my brothers… add to the goofy and spiritual upbringing from my parents, I’d say childhood was really fun.
Having Benita as a sister was the best because no
matter how famous she gets, I’ll always be her BFF… I remember a time
just before she broke even as a celebrity, she came home crying and I
was asking her to tell me who had beaten her so I can go and bite the
person… it’s still that way with her. She’s always saying I act like I’m
the older one.

SelahAfrik: During those years,
was there ever a time you secretly wished you were the one in the
spotlight instead of your sister, you know, sibling rivalry?

Never, there has never been a time I secretly wished I was the one in
the spotlight because we always share the spotlight. At times in her
video, I’m the one you will see doing all the dancing and she has never
had a problem with it… it’s just the way we have been brought up. She
always like to share the spotlight with me… sometimes peeps will say,
‘Bella has to be here because she is Benita’s ginger.’ I’m the
one that makes her go all out and at times, especially when recording,
my mum and dad had to be there else, she will not do what she’s been
told to do so it’s really a family thing… everyone shares in the glory. I
never at any point had that in mind; instead it was me looking out for
her.
SelahArik: Working at a radio
station (Inspiration FM) were inspiring lives with the knowledge of God
is at the core of the objective, describe how this has helped to make
you a better Christian.

Bella: It has really helped me. I granted an
interview about a month ago and I said when you have that responsibility
of not just going to the radio station and sticking to a script nut you
are actually trying to inspire people ( I mean, it’s called Inspiration fm),
so there is always that consciousness to always want to pray to God to
ordain the words that comes out of your mouth. I get on air and tell
people to do this and that, then when I’m alone, I have to do these
things too… you cant give what you don’t have and besides, you have to
practice what you preach, therefore it has really helped me and I have
come to the realization that  cant do anything without God.
 SelahAfrik: Will you say your position as an OAP at such a station makes you a role model?
Bella: Definitely, whatever position  you find
yourself, you are a role model. Right from the scratch, way before I
became an on-air-personality, my mum always lay restrictions to the kind
of things we can do because people are looking up to you and you may
not even know it. So I am an on-air-personality and that makes me a role
model but even in my everyday life, I am still a role model.
SelahAfrik: Give us a rundown of a regular day in Bella’s life from home to work and back home.
Bella: (Laughs), I don’t live a boring life but at
the same time it’s not the usual… I mean, I wake up around 4am, I leave
the house between 5/5:30. I’m on-air till like 10:30am, I leave the
office earliest 11am and I go on to do other things. I also have a gig
with TechCity.com, it’s a technology website where we do reviews and
stuff. Sometimes, we also have gigs, we have to do a recording, a review
for one product or the other so my guys at TechCity come to pick me up
and then I have to do rehearsal if we have shoot. Sometimes we have
meetings and stuff, then at weekends, I sometimes follow my sister out
for ministration and of course church. That’s at weekends but during the
week it’s pretty much from the house to the radio station and then 
meetings during the day… I really don’t hang out so much but recently, I
have been going to the movies but after that, im back home, on my bed,
with my laptop… my sister, my mum and brothers or just chilling with my
dad, we are having a good laugh, watching TV and  everyone is just being
really goofy, we say our prayers then it’s bed time.

SelahAfrik: You were formally working with Raypower 100.5fm, what informed your movement to Inspiration fm?
Bella: Inspiration fm pretty much happened. It
wasn’t like I planned to move, I think God just divinely orchestrated it
to happen the way it did. I was at  Raypower for about a year. I was
actually planning to do some other things but out of the blue came
Inspiration fm so I would not say anything was responsible for my
leaving Raypower, I guess it was just the time to leave but I’m still
friends with them and we still have a great relationship.
SelahAfrik: What has been your most embarassing experience so far as an OAP?
Bella: It something that happens (laughs), sometimes
you are interviewing someone who is not exciting and it rubs off on
you… it’s  embarrassing, it makes you look like you are not good enough.
Other times someone may be talking about something you know nothing
about but thank God for Google, you can quickly educate yourself. For
me, my first days were the most embarrassing because I couldn’t handle
the console and had problems working the music board and that came out
tacky but now I’m a pro (laughs).
SelahAfrik: What about your best day yet?
Bella: Hmmm… Everyday for me is a good day
especially when I hear people tell me ‘you have really inspired me,’
‘your laugh made me  feel good,’ that makes me go over the moon. My mum
especially, she calls me and tells me something like ‘Hey Bella you did
that right… I could not get enough of you.’ Sometimes Dan [Foster] walks
in and say ‘You are doing a great job Bella… You are surprising me o,’  that makes me feel awesome and it happens a lot these days so I think my best days are here… by the grace of God (chuckles).
SelahAfrik: Your laugh on air has not gone without notice, is this some sort of trademark?
Bella: Maybe, it something I’ve always had and
people have always talked about it, at home, while I was in school so
maybe that laughing a lot has now turned to some sort of trade mark on
radio and it’s something I want to hold on to dearly and proudly as God
gives me grace. Laughter and happiness is not something everybody has so
that is my own way of radiating the world. Someone said to me ‘Bella,
just laugh… that’s all I want.’ Another person said I should record my
laughter and make it a ringback tune, you know, something people can
listen to when they are feeling down and I just might give that a deeper
thought… you never know.
SelahAfrik: Shopping, partying or a quiet evening in church, which will you rather be doing this evening?
Bella: Coincidentally, this evening, I’m going to be
at church, we have this thing at church and my group is going to be
leading this evening… maybe it’s not a coincidence afterall (laughs).
SelahAfrik: Mention 3 make-up items that you cannot leave home without
Bella: Number 1, my perfume, I love perfumes, I cannot leave home without my mascara and then… maybe my foundation… maybe.

SelahAfrik: Tell us about your conviction about Jesus Christ
Bella: My conviction about Jesus Christ is that He
is, He was and will forever be. I know that Jesus was sent down to die
for my sins and the least I can do is for me to live for Him who came to
die for me. The most plausible explanation I can give for Jesus being
with me  is when I am in a situation and I call that name – It works for
me. When I call that name Jesus, it gives me peace. I don’t even have
to pray so hard most times, I just mention the name Jesus and let go,
then things happen.
SelahAfrik: Share with us some of your latest bible discoveries
Bella: Hmmm… that will be the book of Psalm 127, verse 3 to the end where the bible talked about ‘children
are the heritage of the Lord… as arrows are in the hands of a mighty
man so are children of the youth… happy is the man who has  his quiver
full of them, for they shall speak with the enemy at the gate.’ 
This
brings to mind what is obtainable now. Children do not have time for
their parents… let’s not even talk about parents not having time for
their children. Children do not respect their parents and are therefore
not bringing joy to their parents. These days a lot of things are being
westernized therefore children have become  too arrogant, they cannot be
talked to and their pride is literally kissing the heavens… and I’m
sitting down and thinking about the words of Psalm 127 that says the
children won’t be ashamed. They are the ones that will go and represent
their parents anywhere, either on social media, in front of family,
friends and the likes but what children do these days, if their parents
should find out ehnn, they will probably get a heart attack. The
internet these days is full of so many vices as it is also full of
opportunities but it is sad that children have plugged into the vices
than the opportunities. There is also that constant fight and effort for
parent to make sure that children are not in the wrong place doing what
they shouldn’t be doing either on internet or  in real life but it is
not easy I tell you. Times have changed. The children are not making any
effort to be on their best behavior. It really bothers me, according to
that portion of the bible children are supposed to bring pride to their
parent but it’s appalling that what is obtainable now is destructive.
It will take a lot of prayers, counseling, seminars and the likes to get
it right.
The story of Jacob and Laban’s daughters also intrigues me. Laban
played a fast one on Jacob and had him worked extra 7 years to get
Rachel. One thing that made me see is that Jacob wanted Rachel… he
really did. It got me asking if we still have men like that out there
who will damn the consequence and go all out for the woman they want.
Are men of these days patient enough? Are they willing to work extra
hard to get what they want? Are they willing to let go of past hurt like
Jacob who didn’t hold on to the first seven years but went ahead to
work extra seven to get Rachel. These portions of the bible are written
thousands of years ago and when you relate it to the present age, you
would shake your head saying ‘Lord please have mercy’ but at the end of
the day, there are still few men out there who would go the extra mile
and that’s what I look forward to by the grace of God (laughs).

SelahAfrik: Is there a man in Bella’s life?
Bella: Well, I have my dad and my two brothers
Benjamin and Benedict… great men in my life… I love them with everything
I have (laughs). Apart from those three men who are the most important
men in my life right now… well, there’s Jesus (laughs).
SelahAfrik: Where do you see yourself at the end of this year?
Bella: At the end of this year I see myself as a
major morning show host. I still co-host with Dan [Foster] and he’s
doing a fantastic job… leaving me sometimes to do the job by myself and
coming in once in a while to checkup on what I’m doing, I appreciate him
for that but I want to be very independent and hold down an audience
for about 3 to 4 hours on the morning show. I also do some emceeing gigs
so I hope to get better at that. Emceeing is one thing that you can’t
get once so I’m working on myself, I’m trying to read as much as I can.
I’m also doing some writings as well, I hope to have written a book and
offer it before the end of the year by the grace of God. It’s a dream I
have procrastinated on so I hope to have completed… or atleast gotten to
half before the end of the year (laughs). TechCity is a project that is
close to my heart. God has been faithful these past years so I look
forward to TechCity being a bigger brand and a much loftier platform by
the end of this year by the grace of God and hey… who knows? I just
might be getting wedded by the end of the year (laughs)… by God’s grace nah.
SelahAfrik: Mention a few of your favourite Gospel artistes – aside Benita of course
Bella: I have to mention Benita again (laughs) and right after Benita Okojie, I have to mention Mali Music. I love what Mali Music is doing for the Kingdom of God with his music. When I first discovered him, I didn’t let anyone hear word in my house (laughs). Then I think Nosa comes next. Fantastic and really great guy pushing the gospel of the Kingdom. Frank Edwards comes close… he’s quite a worshipper. I like Lecrae
as well. I’m leaning towards Hip Hop, I really don’t know why but I
like the fact that these people are doing these great things for the
Kingdom of God. I also love Matt Redman and Aaron Shultz, Donnie McKlurkin, Tamela Mann… it’s an inexhaustible list but let me stop here for now.

Tireni Adebayo

Tireni Adebayo is the Editor of Kemi Filani News. She has BSC in Mass Communication from the Redeemer's University and M.A in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos (2014 - 2015) where she majored in Public Relations and Advertising and Digital Media.  When she is not writing, she is either listening to music or reading her favorite books. Tel: +2348000000901 Address: Herbert Macaulay, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria Email: tireni.adabayo@kemifilani.ng

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