“Nigeria is a mountain of gold,” Simi Drey – Jara

15 June 2020
She may appear pintsized in her physique but Simi Drey’s ambitions are so grand, they include professor and CEO as titles in the not so distant future.
Simi Drey and Uti

In her own words, the multi-award-winning broadcaster shares her Covid 19 life lessons, her ambitions and why speaking Yoruba fluently is important for her. 

Covid 19 life lessons: what are some of the key things you’ve learned during this period?
First of all, I'm grateful for just being alive. I've been praying constantly for my family and friends to be protected since the beginning of the pandemic. Our safety and health is something I used to take for granted. I've also realised that life is short and if there's anything I haven't done because of fear, now more than ever is the best time to do it!

Modelling, presenting, acting…what haven’t you done and still long to manifest in your life?
Getting a PhD and also delving into entrepreneurship is definitely something I've been wanting to do for a long time. I also have some ideas I'm hoping to implement after the pandemic. Maybe soon, I too can have a long title like some of my ancestors: Professor, CEO, Mrs…haha!

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Simi Drey

You permanently moved from Britain to Nigeria some years ago, what have you learned, enjoyed and possibly, loathed?
I moved here as soon as I graduated, so my first taste of being an independent young woman was here in Lagos. I've learnt how to be streetwise. For example, if you are looking for a place to stay and your potential landlord tells you that the incomplete house you want will be ready in one month if you pay in advance, run! I learned the hard way.

I've also learnt the importance of humility and kindness. You don't know whose help you will need tomorrow or who will favor you just because of your positivity. 

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Simi Drey

Describe your post covid 19 life? The top five things you are going to do. 
I am going to see the world! I absolutely love to travel especially with my girlfriends. Since Covid started, I've been spending less and saving more because everywhere was shut down. Now I've saved up enough money to take a nice looong trip! Also, I'm going to finally start working on some projects I've had to put on hold. I can't say much about them now though.

You’ve said that not learning Yoruba is one of your biggest regrets, why is it important for you to be able to speak your native language? There is a perception that a foreign accent in Nigeria will get you further, no?
I don't think accents matter in the grand scheme of things. I think as long as you're eloquent, it's fine. Look at Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva. They don't have foreign accents but you can't tell me they don't sound amazing. Even Bonang Matheba in South Africa sounds incredible. There is nothing wrong with having an African accent. Good diction and eloquence is the key! 

Despite it's flaws, I love my country. Although I am also a British citizen, I identify as Nigerian first and foremost and I want to embrace my culture fully. When I have children, I want them to speak Yoruba too and see the beauty of our nation. If we Nigerians don't love ourselves and our country, who will? If we Nigerians forget our culture or fully exchange it for Western culture, who will remember it? The West is the West. No matter how hard we try, we will never be exactly like them. We cannot be something we are not. However, we can continue to strive to be better versions of ourselves and push Nigeria forward. We can show the world how much we have to offer because believe me when I say, Nigeria is a mountain of gold. Our potential just has not been fully actualized.

Your Insta feed has a colourful array of clothes: describe your sense of style in 5 words? 
My everyday style is girly, feminine and flirty but when I dress up, I like to be sophisticated and chic!

Finally, words to live by…
There are those who think and those who dream. I for one refuse to choose between the two.

Simi's chat with Uti airs on Jara , Wednesday 17 June from 21:30 WAT on DStv Channel 153 AM Urban. Tune in! We'll also be profiling top five Nollywood actresses under 30 and killing it! 

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