Mariam Apaokagi, popularly known as Taaooma, is a popular Nigerian Instagram comedienne and skit maker.
Asides producing comical skits, she is undoubtedly the most popular Nigerian female skit maker on Instagram and YouTube.
In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, she speaks about her journey and fast-rising career.
PT: what inspired you to start skit making?
Taaoma: My fiancé (Abula) inspired me to start; he taught me how to use the camera, and an editing software called premiere pro. He would make comedy visual effects skits then, so I got interested too and glory be to Almighty Allah everything is going smoothly. Skit making means everything to me, that’s my official business.
PT: If you weren’t introduced to skit making, what would you be doing now?
Taaoma: I studied Tourism, Hospitality, and Hotel Management. So if I wasn’t shooting skits, I will surely practise what I studied at the university. I am currently running a food business called Chop Tao. It is strictly finger foods where people order and I deliver to them.
PT: You’re currently a corps member, has fame afforded you the opportunity to enjoy your service year?
Taaoma: I am totally enjoying my time as a youth corps member, especially when I was in camp. It’s an experience I am definitely not going to forget. I made a lot of friends and I loved it.
PT: If given the opportunity to star alongside a Nollywood actor, who would you choose?
Taaoma: Omotola Jolade Ekeinde (Omo sexy), I love that mummy with all of my heart.
PT: When you eventually join the movies, would you be acting as Tao or Iya Tao?
Taaoma: Iya Tao. I’m sure she is everyone’s favourite character.
PT: You always cover your head. Have you ever had to reconsider it?
Taaoma: No it’s not challenging to me, I am a Muslim so covering my head is the norm for me.
PT: When did you land your first big job? How was the feeling like?
Taaoma: 2019 I guess. The feeling was surprising, I was very happy and grateful to God.
PT: How do you combine both roles as a small chops business owner and a skit maker? Do you think your fame has made your small chops business thrive?
Taaoma: Allahmdulilah, small chops business, and skit making are both doing well. I have a team I work with which makes the whole business easier. Yes, you have to order chop Tao because it’s owned by Taaooma, so Taaooma brand is helping the business.
PT: What do you think makes you different from the rest of your contemporaries?
Taaoma: We all have different signatures. Everybody’s signature makes them different. I believe my signature is what makes people look forward to watching my skits.
PT: Can you tell us a bit about your nationality? Some people say you’re Namibian.
Taaoma: I am Nigerian, from Kwara State to be precise. I spent my formative years in Namibia. I attended secondary school in Namibia. I returned to Nigeria to attend university. I went to Kwara State University. I have fans everywhere though and I love my fans so much.
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PT: Some people say that skit makers have taken business from Nigerian stand-up comedians, do you agree?
Taaoma: No I disagree. We all have our specialty. I, for example, am also good at stand-up comedy.
PT: You’re known for the slapping in your skit. Does that have anything to do with your upbringing? Were your parents strict?
Taaoma: My parents are not strict at-all. I can count the number of times my mum actually beats me. Most African parents train their kids like that but without the slaps.
A lot of people think this is how my mum slaps me all the time but they do not know that the slap is just a SIGNATURE I have created for myself to always add to the skits. Trust me, it’s that slap part everybody waits for when watching any of my skits.
My mum does not slap me like this. I just added the slap to exaggerate the humour. Some people talk about my skits supporting child abuse, but they do not know that the slaps are just for humour and has nothing to do with child abuse.
PT: At what point do you realise that you had become a household name?
Taaoma: There was a time I travelled home and I went shopping with my mummy and the family. A fan recognised me and offered to pay for what we bought. I was super surprised and it dawned on me that I was a household brand.