With daily the increase of Instagram comedians, it’s pretty difficult to creatively carve a niche for yourself in such a competitive space. Thus, it’s worth everyone’s applauds to see a 21-year old Maryam Apaokagi, popularly known as Taaooma keeping everyone glued to her Instagram page with such message-filled, creative and very relatable skits.
It is in this light that we reached out to the Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management graduate, CEO of “Chop Tao” and the first lady of The Greenade Company for an interview where she opens up on being an Instagram sensation, her vision for Taaooma, how she was sexually molested, her stand on rape and how she met her husband to be, Abdulaziz Oladimeji (Abula) who is a film director and the CEO of The Greenade Company amongst other things.
1. At what point did you realize you could make a living out of making skits?
I realized I can make a living out of it almost immediately. It was looking like it was too far but I kept on and in 2019, I started making money out of it.
2. Were you doing it for fun initially?
When I started I was just doing it for fun. I was not expecting anything out of it I was just doing it because I liked what I was doing. I was also learning editing which I really wanted to do that time as well.
3. Tell us about your shooting routine
Shooting and editing I do it myself, although sometimes when I need someone to help me behind the camera I always call on Abula to help but for editing I do that myself.
4. Which of your characters is your favorite?
I used to like Iya Tao but now I like Baba Tao
5. Describe all your characters: Iya Tao, Tao and Baba Tao.
I would describe them as a loving family. Baba Tao loves Iya tao and same for her too she loves her husband but they like fighting a lot and Iya Tao is a non-nonsense person she is always scolding Tao even for the least of things that is important. So basically, the family is a loving family.
6. How do you come with the skit to make it stand out?
I feel anyone can come up with my kind of concept because it’s a family concept that consist of a father, mother and their children and what happens in daily lives. I just look at things that people do every day and I use them to make my skits things that mother do and what father do and the thing is you can always come up with concept because everyone has a family to relate to.
7. Aside from making skits what else are you good at?
Eating and sleeping. Those are the two things that I know I can win money from in a competition.
8. Does your background as a Muslim restrict you from working on certain kind of skits?
Yes it does.
9. If you are offered 100 million dollars to act nude in your skits would take it ?
No, I won’t do that.
10. Do you think that undergoing liposuction or other forms of surgeries that a lot of women are doing these days will mean crossing the line for you?
Yes it will be crossing the line for me because I’m very content with what I have body and size. I am very content with the way I look also so I don’t think I want to go under the knife for anything.
11. What’s your opinion about people who do cosmetic surgery?
I feel sad for them. In some cases, it’s not that they are not content but pressure from people who body shame them makes them do something to their bodies. Andy advice to them is just stay content with what you have, don’t let anybody make you feel less of yourself cause it’s your body.
12. But would you consider cosmetic surgery after having kids ?
After having kids I am not sure how my body will look but then even if it turns out the way I don’t like it I will just try to work out more. Any how it turns I don’t think I would want to do that because I hate it.
13. How many kids are you looking forward to have?
What’ did you study?
14. I wanted to be a doctor then I changed into lawyer and when I got to the university they said there was no Law so I studied Tourism, Hospitality and Event Management .
15. What’s your take on the rape culture?
I’m saying no to rape, I don’t even like the word, I dont like the conversation about it because I can beat you if you try to defend a rapist. Also I feel like 95 percent of girls right now have been sexually harassed before or even raped one way or the other so we all have something to say and we are going to fight it. We faced it but our children are not going to face it.
16. Have you being molested before?
Yes, at home and it took me time before I could tell my mum about it and I was so pained that I couldn’t tell her and she couldn’t do anything to those people. People should be careful leaving their kids around with uncles and aunts because at this time I was around 8 or 9 years and I just got the nerve to tell my mum about it when I was 15 so it just a very bad thing. As the hashtag comes up people are already speaking up which is a way forward.
17. What’s your take on domestic violence?
I hate the word violence and I think people should stop the act because it’s dehumanizing. If you experience any of it you should speak up. I don’t think I’m in the best position to say this pls leave the marriage if you can’t leave just come out and talk cause it can leave your children motherless its shouldn’t be what you should withstanding.
18. Has someone ever hit you?
19. How did you meet your husband to be, Abula?
He came to serve in Ilorin, he his my brother’s friend and he used to come to our house that was how we met.
20. Are you guys partners at the Greenade company?
He is actually the CEO and I’m more of a partner.
21. What do you guys do in your company?
Basically we shoot music videos and movies, though we haven’t shot any movie yet but that’s part of it .
22. What’s the biggest mistake you have ever made?
We all make mistakes but I can’t really remember.
23. Is there any pressure that comes with being Taaooma?
I think everybody should know that whenever you come up like this there is always pressure from people and I think the things you do matter a lot because for someone like me I always like to behave in a particular way. I cannot just tweet or say something or post on my Instagram, I don’t really wear make up and don’t like wearing earrings and all.
24. Do you have pressure from Instagram, do people feel entitled to you ?
No, not from Instagram maybe close people and family on WhatsApp but I can always handle them.
25. Do you have a management team that manages you?
Yes, the Greenade company does that.
26. Who in the industry has inspired you and who would you love to act or do a skit with?
For me to act in a movie it would have to be Omotola Jolade, I don’t care if I’m doing wakka pass role in the film. Then someone to do a skit with at this point I thank God because I can just call anyone up and the job is done. Internationally I would say Najou Hermes, Alba Fortress, she is a Spanish actress and she acted in money heist . I love Spanish and for learning it, just give me few month I am going to be speaking Spanish in all my interviews.
27. What are the lessons life has taught you?
Life has taught me to be really patient because patience is never too It’s not all the time you shout and scream when you are angry sometimes just laugh and stay calm and most importantly, pray because I did not used to pray before. In fact if someone had told me that in the 5 years I will be covering my hair and be Godly I would say no so that’s how much life has taught me .
28. As a Muslim if a church asked you to do a skit for them will you do it?
As I always say I don’t know how people usually see it, for me Muslims and Christians we are all one so if you invite me to Church I am still coming to God if you invite me to church I will glad because I see my skit worthy of emulation and that of God’s work.
29. How did you break the news to your elder brother that you are dating his friend?
So one day my now boyfriend came to the house and I told him I wanted to learn cinematography and he helped me Install Adobe on my laptop and he came up with Iya Tao concept so I could be able to edit. The first time we met we were not dating until the following year when it was looking like we were dating so I told my sister because she is very understanding and she was like no problem. At that point, my mum and brother didn’t know until we came to Lagos and my sister broke the news to my brother and every one in my family know now.
30. So when should we be expecting a wedding date?
I don’t know . I think they are waiting for me to pick a date but I’m not ready yet.
31. Mama Tao is already becoming a house hold name should we be looking out for a series in the future ?
I am still confused on what to do next because I feel series demand a lot of brain work to come up with stories. If I start a series I would be battling with stories for my series and skits so I would rather do a movie for it.
32. What else do you desire in life?
I want to travel all over African countries, that’s what I want then Spain not like I won’t go elsewhere though.
33. You grew up in Namibia what’s the Connection?
My mum was a diplomat she was part of the diplomat convoy and was transfered to Namibia.
34. What do your parents do now ?
My mum is retired she is into poultry business and my dad sells cars .
35. How was growing up in Namibia
It was fun and nice also being a diplomat in the country, immunity covered me I was travelling all over Namibia it was really fun and I enjoyed it.
36. What are you future plans?
I don’t want to say I don’t have plans but I just want to concentrate on making skits ,making movies and also making my business chop Tao grow hopefully God gives me the money I plan to have my own restaurant and Hotel that’s all for now .
37. What’s your biggest fear in life?
Losing my mum. I don’t want her to die I want her to live long foreever.
38. Do you have a political ambition?
No I don’t like politics at all. It’s not my way. I don’t like when we have to fight and argue over something. I tried it in school and it didn’t turn out well so politics is not my thing.
39. What’s your favourite food?
Amala and ewudu with ogunfe and a very chilled Pepsi and a good bed because immediately after that it’s sleep for me.
40. Are you really into fashion ?
I think everybody is into fashion for me I only know how to select shoes but not dress but I like to Look Good. My favourite colours are white and Black .
41. What do you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for everything Good and Godly.
42. Who are you favourite online comedians that you have done skits with?
Twyse and Mr Macaroni.