Meet Jennifer Olize; Queen Of The MMR Empire
As Jennifer Olize arrives and settles down in the makeup chair to prepare for the shoot, she immediately starts to giggle as I pull out my notebook to start the interview. She was a bit late to the shoot and we are behind time but her charming nature has made up for it all. As we start to speak about the 5th edition of Music Meets Runway, her baby and her crowning jewel, I can see the passion in her eyes and what has allowed her and MMR to prosper and flourish.
Jennifer is a busy woman and a multitasker as she texts, calls, talks, laughs and tells me about what has made MMR so different in Lagos which is a sea of several fashion and music events. She tells me about how she started, what is going on right now and what she expects for the future.
What is the MMR foundation to you?
I’ve always wanted to give back to society and The MMR foundation is my way to do that. In 2012, MMR gave to Arrows of God and to other charity organizations. I also wanted to empower the creative industry so I also started The Rising Icon and The Face of MMR.
What ripple effect do you want MMR at 5 to create?
The aim is to help thousands of people. The future for the foundation is to do more for the people in the creative industry. Right now, we are running a competition with House of Tara and next year, it could be a stylist, a makeup artist, anyone!
The face of MMR and Rising Icons have created such a buzz! What exact qualities are you looking for?
I’m looking for creativity, originality, and passion. We have produced the likes of Olakunbi Oyelese, the creative director of April by Kunbi and Ogochukwu Akabogu, the creative director of the brand Lines by Chaab. For the Face of MMR, we are looking for striking features; the kind of models envisioned in this country in their beauty.
What has been the greatest challenge in your 5 years of running MMR?
I would always say it’s funding. The creative industry needs funding as creatives add to the growth of the economy. We need to support these people. Potential sponsors see this platform as ‘entertainment’ but we also promote tourism, reduce unemployment and more.
You are the founder of Le Reve Events. What is the vision plan for Le Reve in light of MMR?
Le Reve is the mother company and the vision is to have other events and platforms under Le Reve. I would like to create another fashion week seeing as we only have one in the country and host annual events which would include different musical and fashion events. I am also looking forward to Le Reve Media, which would be handling P.R for other companies.
You seem to be a lady on a mission; what inspires you to building these platforms?
Sometimes I feel like I’m under pressure, but I also feel like there is no time and whatever you can achieve as a brand at a young age, achieve it. Creating a brand is tasking. The inspiration is inscripted in my mind and ideas pops out from time to time. I’m an opportunist, so when the idea comes to create revenue or within my passion, I work hard to get it.
For the 5th edition of MMR, you have a full week of events. Which event are you personally passionate about?
The forum. It is the first and new initiative by the foundation and it is a good way to give back and hear people speak. It’s also a new way of understanding the creative industry since we would be hearing from different professionals in various fields. And of course the meet and greet which is also a nice way for people to mingle before the D-day.
What is a day like in the life of Jennifer Olize?
Wake up by 6 am, pray, have a look at my schedule, move to the office, have meetings at the office and out of the office. All day, every day.
What do you do in your spare time
I love to wine and dine, I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that but that sums up what I do. I also hang out with friends, travel, eat outside, networking, basically trying new stuff out.
With your journey so far, would you do anything different?
There is room for improvement, but past experiences and today’s lessons. If I were to change anything at all, I would like to do it better.