Oreoluwa Awolowo is a Visual Storyteller, Cinematographer, Photographer and Filmmaker based in Lagos. She was nominated for a prize in Filmmaking at the Future Awards in 2020. She opens up on her career journey, sharing her story from desiring to become an Accountant to where she is right now.
I started out with the goal of being an Accountant back then in school, but somehow fell in love with something else. I discovered photography and cinematography, and it became the center of my world. I have grown to love what I do and do not have any regrets making the switch.
My Driving Force
At this point in my life, I don’t think I have attained the level of success I plan to achieve. There is still a lot more to do. I am still on the pathway; which is why I don’t joke with Capacity Development. I am driven by the desire to grow and be better at what I do. I always want to be better than I was yesterday, and this keeps me going.
I operate in an industry where things change on a regular basis. I always have to keep up and be in the know. I am very intentional about my growth, and I put in effort to learn something new every time. This way, I constantly reflect to know if I am still on the journey to achieve my dreams.
I’m also driven by the work done by women I look up to. I look around me constantly and I am fuelled by great women taking the bull by the horn and doing amazing stuff. I see these things and I tell myself that I can’t afford to be lazy. I immediately get up and get to work.
One very amazing thing that stands as a memorable milestone for me was getting nominated for the Future Awards in 2020 for Filmmaking. That was a very special moment for me. It made me realize that people are watching. They might not always talk, but it doesn’t mean they are not watching. Hence, we must never negotiate the quality of our work. We must always put our best foot out in anything we are doing.
If there’s any lesson I have learned from my career, it is the need to always evolve. The world is changing so fast nowadays. Anyone who is not ready to evolve would be left in the dark. Infact, you might not even know that you’ve been left behind. You’d just realize overtime that you’re struggling to catch up, and you’re left wondering where you were when everything was happening. So, it is important to always keep evolving. Never be behind the trend. Even in your career, observe and try to understand the direction your career is going towards, and plug into it.
Secondly, I have learnt to always be consistent. This is important especially if you play in the creative space like me. There is a need to always show up. Attention span of people, especially in the social media era is very low. So, if you do not stay consistent and show up regularly, your value will depreciate.
On Women Empowerment
My favorite quote is from Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. It says ‘in the future, there will be no female leaders; there will just be leaders’. I can relate with this as it totally explains the ideal kind of society that needs to be birthed. A society where gender is not a factor, but rather accomplishments are based on merits.
It is important that we begin to deliberately create spaces and avenues for women to thrive in. It is not just about women taking up more roles in male dominated industries, it is about creating an enabling environment where gender equity can thrive. And this job is not just for one person; it is not even for women alone. We all need to come together to help re-engineer society. This is how we can create a level playing ground for women.
Personally, I have been very forthcoming in organizing capacity development training for women in my industry. I also create spaces and platforms where they can connect and network. I believe that this way, we can help build competence among women. So, in my little way, I am doing the best I can do to contribute to women empowerment. I hope and believe that as time goes on, I can do much more.
The one thing that differentiates me is my ability to illuminate those around me. I have this energy that spills out and fills up the room. It is so contagious. You can’t be in my circle and not get influenced by this. I believe this is my spark.
If you are a young woman out there, my advice to you is to ensure that you enjoy life to the fullest. Every minute of the day, make sure you are living it to the maximum. Go for your heart desires. Chase your dreams and enjoy the chase. Don’t let anyone bring you down or make you feel like you’re not worth it. You just need to keep going; with time, everything is going to fall in place.
Oreoluwa Awolowo is a Visual Storyteller, Cinematographer, Photographer and Filmmaker based in Lagos. She was nominated for a prize in Filmmaking at the Future Awards in 2020. .