With a client base that includes A-listers like the late Whitney Houston, Usher, Destiny's Child (in their heir days), university school mate, Estelle and our very own Genevieve Nnaji and D'banj, Vanessa Amadi is unarguably one of Nigeria's hottest PR gurus.
Meet PR Guru To The Stars
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Charming and completely without airs, I recently caught up with the Computer Science graduate for a quick chat at the launch of close friend and client, Genevieve Nnaji's St Genevieve Clothing line launch.
The Early Years
Vanessa was born in England in the 80's to a close-knit, Christian family. The second of 5 children, she identifies the birth of her younger brother as one of her fondest childhood memories.
"The birth of my brother stood out for me because I remember it so clearly. We're like 8 years apart and I'm randomly his godmother because I looked after him as a kid."
The Journey To PR
"I was about 16/17 when I worked on the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) awards as a University undergraduate. The lady who runs that company, Kanya King said you'd be awesome in the PR department. But I didn't understand what it was so she explained that its communications/media. So she basically just put me in that department and I ended up loving it. I built from Press Assistant to PR manager and eventually I got poached to work for one of the largest entertainment PR companies in the UK called Outside. From there I worked with some of the biggest stars like Usher and Destiny's Child."
Career Defining Moment
"There have been several of such moments, one of such being that I looked after the great Whitney Houston from 2007 up till her death. It was just amazing because I had grown up on her music. So from being such a fan to working with her in such a close range was a great experience. Also from a more personal angle, I looked after D'banj. He came to me and talked about a single he wanted to release in the UK and at the time, this type of music was not played at all in the UK and the whole concept of African music in the mainstream UK chat was not understood at all. But we worked on that campaign and it ended up top 10 on the UK chart. So that was another moment when I felt great doing what I do, moreso for being able to help give African music that kind of exposure to the UK audience."
Career Disaster Moment
"There have been many but thankfully they were in my early days. Like there were times when the clients had not been fully briefed about an event. So maybe it was a cocktail event, for instance and the client would show up in jeans and they'd look at me like 'you didn't tell me.' But I learnt from them and they'd never happen again."
On Genevieve Nnaji
"Genevieve is someone I've become very fond of and that's why she's been able to peel me away from my 11-week old son to come and support her for the launch of her clothing line. Only someone as special as her would have made me leave my son with my mum to come down and support her. We actually met when I did the PR for the movie 'Mirror Boy' and she was the lead actress for the movie. I'd been a fan anyway and followed her career and we just clicked when we met. We've been friends ever since and she hasn't been able to get rid of me."
"I love food! I also love clothes shopping and shoes, I love to wear my heels. During my pregnancy I would go around in them and people would say you're still wearing your heels"
I'd Want To Be Remembered For...
"My love for God. I put God in everything I do because I'm very grateful to him for being here. I had cancer many years ago and God showed up and healed me so I'm extremely grateful for the gift of life. So I hope that when I'm no longer here people can say that was someone that loved the Lord and someone that was really grateful to God for her life. Also because I think what we do is very fickle, we come out to socialise and look at pretty clothes, but for me knowing that I'm here because of God's grace keeps me happy."
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