At 27, Ruhalia Adatia, KISS TV’s Hot Source entertainment presenter, is having a ball being all she can be and living life to the fullest, writes SHIRLEY GENGA
What is the biggest misconception about being Asian?
I am an Ismaili Muslim and people, for some reason, believe if you are Asian you never have to work for anything. I have worked hard and sacrificed to be where I am today, it did not fall on my lap.
Have you always wanted to be in the media?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a lawyer because I am very argumentative and everyone believes if you are good with arguments you must be a lawyer in the making. But during my Form Five and Form Six at Aga Khan Academy I discovered I loved English and was good at writing. My elder sister is arty and creative and this inspired me to take on journalism.
Where did you study journalism?
I applied to Rhodes University and got a scholarship. I am the baby of my family, I have three older sisters and was born eleven years after the third born, so it was kind of hard to convince my parents to allow me to fly out. They were a little scared but I was determined.
How was it being away from home?
Going to Rhodes University is an honour; it is one of the best journalism schools and I met people from all walks of life. I majored in television, did four years in journalism and a diploma in teaching. While there, I worked for my upkeep, including doing jobs within campus. I still managed to graduate with honours.
Did you come back home immediately?
No. I wanted to travel the world and teaching English offered me that opportunity. I taught 18-year olds and it was interesting experience. The students loved me because I was hip. I learnt how to be confident and to stand in front of people and articulate myself. I also wrote articles for the newspapers there. After six months, it was time to come back home.
How was it coming back and were jobs easily available?
I came back in 2007 and getting into the media industry proved quite a challenge because local experience was always preferred wherever I applied to. I got a job in the tourism industry then I heard of radio idols in East FM, I participated and got a three-month internship. It was a risk leaving my job but I did because media is my passion.
You started with news, how did you end up doing the drive show at the station?
Whenever I would do the news before or during the drive show, Gupz, the host of drive show and I, would crack each other up on air. I am a naturally bubbly person so I would hang out a little before I read the news and guys loved our banter. That was how I got my chance to co-host with Gupz. He is a legend and he was willing to share the show with me. That was a great honour.
Then from the drive show how did you get onto television?
When East FM was bought by Radio Africa, I saw another opportunity. X-Fm had no entertainment segment so I asked if I could do a short hourly gossip section. Then when I heard about the new television station, I knew in my heart that I would be great with entertainment. I literally stalked the channel executive for a screen test. When it comes to opportunities I have no shame, I go after them aggressively. I finally did one screen test and I was in. It was a wonderful experience. My life now is great. I do newspaper reviews; radio and TV gossip segments, a rock show on TV, the drive show on radio (Tuesday and Thursdays) plus the breakfast show with Fareed.
What are your aspirations?
I want to go back and do my masters in journalism. I want my children to be proud of me. I would also love to work for an international agency such as CNN or Aljazeera.
You won an award recently, tell us about that?
Last year I won the CEO Award, the biggest award at my company. It was a wonderful experience to know that my work was appreciated.
What are your bad habits?
I have a bad temper and I also love chips and crisps too much, they are just so nice. I am a potato person.
Are you dating?
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