Posted on August 13, 2014
So the day was 25th December 2004. I vividly remember this day like it was yesterday. I was heading to Capital Fm studios as a guest co-host for Saturday Breakfast, the three hour morning rock show that airs every Saturday morning. Earlier that week I had called in to ask if it was okay to keep Pinky company in the studio…simply because I just loved radio to bits! Yes, my fervent ambition for radio started quite early, and so at the time I felt this irresistible urge to get myself to a radio studio and see how things are done. And considering that I was an avid listener of Capital Fm then (as much as I am today), it was the only station of choice I considered worth paying a visit. After a brief introduction of myself and my dire need to be in the studio, Pinky promptly asked “Is Christmas day good for you?” Yap! You guessed it! Mine was an emphatic YESSS! And finally the day was here. The sun was out, the sky blue (with no trace of a single white to ruin it)…a beautiful morning to compliment what I still treasure as one of the best Christmas mornings ever! And I finally got there. A cool three hours on air…which for the most part was spent calling people to wish them a merry Christmas…and all this time Pinky wore a dorky santa hat (actually pink in color), and intoduced herself as Mother Christmas! Almost ten years later, even though she’s not in radio anymore, Pinky still maintains her charm and kindness that never seems to fade away. (And like pharell, she also doesnt seem to age!) This is why I thought of how wonderful it would be to have her share her story, considering the fact she has been in the limelight for quite sometime now. And just the same way she agreed to letting me grace her studio sometimeback, I’m equally glad she’s gracing this blog with her thoughts and opinions on matters surrounding media and fashion-both of which are her areas of interest. Okay, I’m done talking so lets dive in, shall we?
*So Pinky, you are a third generation Kenyan. Kindly give us a brief history of the Ghelani family.
Ok so I know very little about my grand parents – I know that my paternal grandpa had a flour mill in Malkisi and later moved to Kisumu and this is where my dad would make his successes and then later move to Nairobi, meet my mum and then I would be born. The family originates from Gujurat and there is a rich history – something to do with my forefathers guarding the national funds or treasures, something like that. If you go to this particular place in Gujurat there is a Ghelani Road, etc, so I am told!
*What do you miss the most about Raju and your Dad? And to someone who is going through the loss of a family member or relative, how would you encourage them through their tough moments of loss?
Each were a different part of my life. One my brother the other my father. I barely knew my dad, but his stories inspire me. I wish I had him around so he could have given me a few secrets on how he thought and why he made certain decisions. With Raju I miss everything about him – his passion for life, his over protectiveness as an elder brother, his ethics, his personality. He was my blessing.
*Away from the sad moments. So, how exactly did you plunge yourself in the media world?
I wanted fame! I never thought it would be in a radio career, I wanted to be more in front of a camera – alas, I did not get as many opportunities as I would have liked in that department. But I guess that is why I modeled, it gave me my ‘being seen’ rush. Radio was my big break though and I cannot play it down – being live on radio was fun, having 3 million listeners at any given time was phenomenal and I am ever grateful for that coming my way.
*And a career in radio would be considered prestigious..and having done radio in the UK and also right here in Kenya at Capital and Kiss..you still quit. What led you to let go?
I was frustrated. I was not doing any justice to myself or my listener. Also there was a turning point for radio that I was not ready for. A lot of go getters entered the scene and it changed what radio was to what it is. I just could not keep up I guess. There was a lot that I saw being done that didn’t sit well with me and I have always been real with myself; it was either be very uncomfortable and bite the bullet or just let go and find something else to do with my time. I also needed to grow as a person – I was very naïve and that came to bite me in the ass.
*And what is your opinion on today’s radio industry? Is it on an upward trajectory of growth and if not, what exactly do you think is the problem?
I hardly listen to radio today – there is just too much variety. I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but one can get confused in regards to what is going on if you are like me and have not kept up. Of course there are the voices that have been on air forever that you cannot mistake – Maina, Caroline, Shaffie, etc and then you know what you are listening to and what to expect. Right now I am in a place where I cannot deal with too much noise – I think that comes with getting old and when a presenter talks for more than 3 minutes, I switch off – it is noise. I cannot comment on the upward growth – the fact that there are so many stations should speak for itself right?
*Capital FM just concluded a vigorous search for their next presenter. So what would you say to the thousands of radio presenter hopefuls who never made it? How do they keep the radio dream alive?
With every dream – keep it alive. Every opportunity comes to us not when we want it but when we are prepared and ready for it. Also humility plays a big part, keep those feet on the ground even when you get your break – this industry is way more competitive than I remember it to be. Don’t let go of smaller opportunities – take what you can, you never know where it may lead.
*Away from radio, you are currently editor of Home and Living Magazine. How is working here different from your previous editing jobs?
I edited DRUM prior to H&L. Someone was joking with me and asked ‘so after you get married and have kids you go from Drum (high fashion and society) to H&L (homes and lifestyle).. not necessarily. I enjoy being in the media. H&L has given me room to grow and understand the publishing world. I still have time to be a mama and still have time to dabble in media – what more could one ask for?
*We have witnessed many magazine brands come and go. In your opinion, what are some of the fundamental factors that someone needs to look at with regard to starting a magazine business in light of the Kenyan market? What should they consider to ensure sustainability?
Content is key – it is very easy to copy paste, but I think when you genuinely create content that people can relate to you have a winning product. But this content is costly. The market at the moment is slow and again it is competitive – you have to be consistent and on time with delivery of your product for it to remain relevant and bring in the advertising which then sustains a magazine.
*Which magazine issues cant you live without, come what may?
There is not one particular magazine that I cannot live without. I am no longer in my twenties where Cosmo was an essential staple! I read an enjoy all sorts of lifestyle magazines.
*Lets turn to fashion. You have witnessed Kenya go through a fashion revolution over the years. What do you think brought about this change? And what would you say is your personal style?
It is fun to see where fashion is going – but again, models do not earn as much as they truly deserve. Also our designers need more support. I like that there are more events for fashion, people are taking time out to dress up and look good but I really wish we were bigger in regards to the fashion industry in Kenya. My personal style depends on what I am doing – but I like to be in trend. I like labels and like every other woman, I love to play dress up!
*Do you think Kenya has the potential to become Africa’s fashion capital and what do you think needs to be done by the stakeholders involved to push us to this admirable status?
Unfortunately no, not in the next 5 years. We need to take ourselves seriously first which means in investing in our local labels. Local designers need to work on creating fashion that is high in quality. We have to be very fussy if we want to be on par with Paris/Milan/New York etc. That is why I love what the stylists are doing – I love to see all the fashion bloggers – these are the people who will ensure designers push themselves to produce amazing products. I have said it countless times as well – our corporates need to invest in the fashion industry as does the government. Once this happens then we are definitely on an upward trend.
*We are currently witnessing a trend where young girls are doing all sorts things like bleaching themselves, getting bum and boob implants..all in the name of beauty. Whats your definition of a beautiful woman and how does someone learn how to accept themselves the way they are?
A beautiful woman is someone who shows respect wherever she goes and to whom ever she is with. It is good to be comfortable in your own skin, but we are human beings – when is a human being every really truly happy? Each to their own – you want to bleach, you want to have cosmetic surgery – dude, go right ahead. If you are not harming anyone and genuinely feel that it will make you feel better – go ahead! But if we do things to fill a void – there are deeper issues that need to be resolved and perhaps it is best to look within. My favorite thing to say to myself every morning is ‘I Love You’. I love me… it is powerful.. and I am the only person who needs to be comfortable with me. It takes some time to get to this state in a woman’s life – but once there, it is liberating.
*Our country has lately been marred by various challenges like insecurity, travel bans, dirty political games etc. Say you had executive powers, how would you approach these challenges and ensure we overcome them?
I really do not comment on politics in interviews. All I can say is that it is sad that this country is on its knees. Kenya is simply magnificent and I know we all see it, it is just sad we live in a world where money rules us. I pray for my country, everyday.
*Still on this issue, what should we do as patriotic Kenyans at the individual level to deal with these challenges, especially with reference to negative ethnicity?
Don’t give up on Kenya – but do not fight hate with hate. What you give out you get back. Spread love. Speak positivity and power. We have the power as a nation – a common man – do instill the change we want to see. First thing we need to do is let go of our egos, our hate and our anger. When we do that, our words change, when our words change our actions change.But do not think if you sitting at home doing nothing is going to create the change. If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. I read somewhere a statement that said ‘The people who want peace should be as passionate as the people who create wars… Go out and do something about it’ Again, if you strike with hate – hate will come back.. the change has to come, but it has to come with LOVE! Does that make sense?
*Yes! Makes a lot of sense! So who would you say greatly inspires you? Or where do you draw inspiration to be all you were created to be?
At the moment – no one. The world is a shitty place to live, full of shitty, selfish, mean people. I am inspired by my good side – not to say I always listen to it… but when I do good, speak good and feel good – I have changed my world a little for the better and that to me is inspirational!
*As we wind up, in your many years of living, what life lesson have you learnt which has made a difference in your life? Kinda like a Pinky-Ghelani-life-philosophy you live by.
Lol! ‘My many years of living’? Kwani how old do you think I am? Dude, just because you asked like that I am not going to answer this! (Editors note: Never ask women questions touching on age LOL!)
*Just the other day we had all sorts of reactions on the ‘controversial’ dating of an Indian woman and a Bukusu man. I would love to know your stand on inter racial marriage. What do you think needs to happen to break these cultural barriers that would allow the free mingle between lovers of different races?
We live in a global village. We must embrace what is going on in the world. It is hard for different cultures to unite – but when they do, we should just celebrate and get on with our own lives. Mixed race kids are everywhere, this is not a new phenomenon! Let’s stop being so archaic in our view of the world and just get on with it.
*You had the awesome privilege of meeting the late Michael Jackson at his Neverland ranch. How did this come about and how was that experience for you?
Awesome experience, I got to meet him in LA with thanks to a mutual friend, Raju Patel, who took me to Neverland. I am lucky to have met him.
*Apart from Raj, please make a confession of that one crush who makes you go gaga! (Local or international) 🙂
I have a celeb crush on Bollywood actor Salman Khan – the man is yummy!
*What are you currently reading? Give me some book recommendations you think are worth checking out.
I am a die hard Paulo Cohelo fan – all this books are good. I am also in to feel good and power books. I am re-reading Rich Dad Poor Dad.
*You participated in the Tusker Twende Kazi reality show. How was the experience for you and what did you learn through that experience?
It was great. It was an honor to be among the top 25 East African celebrities selected to do the show. What better way to celebrate Kenyas jubilee?
*What is your most embarrassing moment? The one that just turned your face red! 🙂
I have had plenty… and am sure many more to come. The thing is .. you got to learn to laugh at yourself.. never take yourself to seriously..
Thats the much we could dig on Pinky for now. And since I couldn’t cram up everything about Pinky on a single post, Part 2 of Pinky will solely touch on her motherhood so watch out for it. Thank you for stopping by for Part 1.
Also, this is my second project to have partnered with a photographer for exclusve photos and I’m deeply honored to have had the pleasure of working with Thandiwe Muriu who I must say out did herself with this shoot. The amount of energy on set was tangible and Thandi’s ability to capture these amazing potraits is simply exceptional, dont you agree? Feel free to stop by Thandiwe’s website and let your eyes do the ogling! Out of this world photography I must say! www.thandiwemuriu.com
It was also a huge honor to have Suzie Wokabi, C.E.O of SuzieBeauty cosmetics, come through as our as our official make up artiste. For those still out of the loop, SuzieBeauty is Kenya’s very first beauty brand, created for the every day African woman. For more info on their products stop by www.suziebeauty.com
Otherwise, thank you for checking out the post and feel free to share! Happy mid-week to you!! Cheers!! 🙂