Toyosi Phillips was born and raised in Lagos. Her dad, a twin passed away in 1998 leaving her with a strong support system that made sure she continued to get sound education. She attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Queen’s College Yaba, Bowen University and the University of Nottingham.
She moved back to Nigeria after receiving a Masters Degree in Economic Development and Policy Analysis from Nottingham but months later, took a bold step.
At a time when the “move back to Nigeria” campaign was loud, Toyosi moved to New York City to pursue her dream of being a media mogul.
In this excerpt, she talks about the New York move, her challenges as a woman in media, her take on cosmetic surgery and more.
How did you get in media?
Getting into media for me was a conscious, scary decision. I had a 9 – 5 that was frustrating my life. I remember my boss saying to me one day, “you are not happy here”. It wasn’t a question. It was a statement and it was accurate. I was beyond unhappy. I’d known I wanted to be in the creative industry but I didn’t know what exactly to focus on. I started asking people what they thought I’d be good at and I got several “radio host”s so I started working getting into radio. I told my mum about my decision and she said “why not TV?” And I was like, hmmm… It’s true. Why not TV? It’s funny because now I do both radio and TV.
Before I got the job though, I did a one-year Broadcast Journalism diploma at the New York Film Academy. I didn’t just want to rely on my personality/gift; I wanted to understand the rudiments of what I was getting into.
What challenges have you had as a woman in media?
I haven’t experienced any major challenge to be honest. There has been no discrimination so I’m thankful for that. My major challenge would have to be my wardrobe. Guys tend to get away with almost anything they wear. Did you hear about the Australian anchor who wore the same suit on TV for a year and no one noticed till he announced it? That was crazy! Looking good for every show/event is tough. I can’t lie it can be stressful.
How was your experience moving to the Big Apple?
Moving to New York City was seamless. Things just fell into place. I feel like everything worked together to get me to where I was supposed to be.
Why the move though? Are you one of those “America is the only place I can make it?” people?
Hmmm… I have to answer this one carefully… I’m not one of those “America is the only place I can make it” people. I believe I can make it anywhere but after some research I found New York City to be one of the main hubs of journalism. Before I moved, I wasn’t sure what kind of journalism I wanted to get into. I didn’t know if I wanted to be a news anchor or an entertainment journalist or business/economic journalist, I just knew I wanted to be a journalist and New York City was a great place for me to learn how to be just that. Also to be honest, at that point, I was tired of Lagos; the familiarity of everything – the noise, my job, everything. I wanted to go somewhere new. I wanted to explore and NY is such a great place to start exploring the world. It’s a mesh of different peoples and cultures and beliefs. It’s very cosmopolitan and living here opens your eyes and mind to the beauty in diversity… So yeah… Did that answer the question? (laughs)
As a TV girl, would ever consider cosmetic surgery?
Yes! If you had asked me this a few years ago, I’d most likely have said no but now my answer is yes.
My perception of life. Life is for living and if I have peace of mind over something, I’m going to go ahead and do it regardless of the voices around me.
What would you consider getting plastic surgery for?
I’d rather not say because then, people will be like it’s true she needs to fix her knees or it’s true, her left ear looks somehow. I don’t want anyone to start scrutinizing my body or pictures but if/when I get plastic surgery, I won’t lie about it.