TAAOOMA: Covering my hair is being me
Maryam Apaokagi, popularly known as Taaooma, is a comedian, content creator, cinematographer and social media influencer. She is best known for acting multiple roles in her comedy skits. Taaooma was born in Nigeria but spent most of her early years in Namibia. She studied Tourism and Travel Service Management at the Kwara State University. In 2015, she started online comedy and rose to stardom in 2019 with a skit based on African parents taking their children to school and has since moved on to create unique skits. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her personality and love for comedy.
What attracted you to comedy?
I actually wanted to learn cinematography then, and I needed a video with which to practice. That was how I started using my own video to practice. I posted videos then to get reviews on my editing skills but people end up commenting on the acting skills.
Tell us about your childhood and family?
I am born into a Muslim family from Kwara State. My primary school education was in Nigeria before I went to Namibia where I had my secondary education, and I later came back to Nigeria for my tertiary education. Childhood was fun because I am the last born. I enjoyed the baby-of-the-house privileges.
What in your growing up influenced your passion or prepared you for comedy?
I am the last born of my mum and I grew up with her. The way a typical African mum behaves is what I really love.
Your comedy skits are mostly around exposing African mothers and their form of discipline. What informed this?
We all grew up somewhere and a woman gave birth to us. I wanted a relatable content everybody can watch and say this is my mum. That was what informed it.
How do you generate your contents and what is the motivation?
Anytime and anywhere, I might be driving and I see something relatable on the road. For instance, a bus conductor fighting a passenger which I know is very relatable.
You are known for never exposing your hair. Is it a signature look?
Should we call that a signature? No. Me covering my hair is just me, nobody asked me to cover my hair. I just woke up one day and decided to cover my hair.
What do you consider a challenge with creating online content, especially as the media space is not exactly regulated?
Parody account, this is like a big challenge. When someone is trying their possible best to gather audience and some people are still not allowing that prayer come to pass.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is “being you!” We are different people with different stories and too many different perspectives on life. The same goes with fashion.
What is Taaooma’s style?
My style involves taking time to properly plan my work and then focusing on delivery.
Have you had any embarrassing moments?
Hmmmmmmm! I don’t think I have one.
What keeps you going and drives you?
God keeps me. God is my highest motivation.
Who are your role models?
If I should start writing this list, we both will sleep here today. I have so many, but let me start with my Mum.
Describe Taaooma in three words.
God-fearing, creative and visionary.
What are your hobbies?
Eating, sleeping (laughs), traveling, swimming and watching movies.
What is your life mantra?
The best way to get something done is to begin.
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