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‘RHOLagos’ cast are women who can hold their own, says producer, Dare Art-Alade

The cast of The Real Housewives of Lagos- Iyabo Ojo, Laura Ikeji, Toyin Lawani, Carolyna Hutchings, Chioma Ikokwu and Mariam Timmer. PICTURE: Showmax

The cast of The Real Housewives of Lagos- Iyabo Ojo, Laura Ikeji, Toyin Lawani, Carolyna Hutchings, Chioma Ikokwu and Mariam Timmer. PICTURE: Showmax

Published May 1, 2022

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“The Real Housewives of Lagos” (RHOLagos) premiered just over a month ago to mixed reactions from South African viewers.

While there was appreciation for the introduction of the women on the show and showing vignettes of what makes them tick, the people still wanted the drama and luxury associated with the format.

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It was not evident until the third episode, thanks to the blow-up when Carolyna Hutchings hosted the ladies for dinner and then confronted Laura Ikeji for her blasé attitude towards the other women, her comments about them to Iyabo Ojo and what her blogger sister, Linda Ikeji, had written about her, her marriage to billionaire, Musa Danjuma and their child.

The drama is now up a notch, especially with the introduction of the sixth housewife, Mariam Timmer, on the most recent episode. It’s now all systems go for the show.

Dare and Deola Art-Alade at the Nigerian premiere of ‘The Real Housewives of Lagos’ last month. PICTURE: Supplied

Insider spoke to Dare Art-Alade, who is the chief creative director of Livespot360, which produces the ‘RHOLagos’. He is also an award-winning musician (popularly known as Darey) and a coach on ‘The Voice Nigeria’.

He co-produces ‘RHOLagos’ with his wife and business partner, Deola Art-Alade.

The Real Housewives” was a concept that people looked down upon, but the tide has turned in the past few years. Do you think people have started giving women who sign up for the show the respect they deserve?

I think that women should be given their due respect, period. Whether it’s real housewives or working moms hustling to make ends meet. From the tech savvy to the fashionistas.

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That said, I believe that with the cast of strong women we have on #RHOLagos, for example, people can see how grounded they are in their various fields and endeavours, and I believe that it’s time for our women to take their place in the world.

When you began the preparations for the show, what were your criteria for potential cast members?

Women who can hold their own. Strong, passionate, powerful, stylish, boss women who run their own businesses, households (in varying capacities), who also have interesting and diverse personalities. This is what we had in mind when we cast them.

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Did you go about it in the usual casting process, including chemistry tests, or was it mostly decided on who would be a good fit for the show?

Deola oversaw the process of casting. Her vision in forming the ensemble was to achieve an interesting mix and balance of diversity and variety.

Various parameters had to be adhered to per the format requirements as well.

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Were there some people you had hoped would sign up for the show, but were disappointed when they didn’t?

Not at all. We were very deliberate and professional with the specific women we wanted to cast on the show.

They saw what we were trying to create: entertaining content for television and an opportunity for them to connect to their existing fans and to make new ones.

‘RHOLagos’ is the third franchise in the continent, after Johannesburg and Durban. Did you watch those shows, and what were your honest thoughts about them?

We particularly liked the Durban franchise. The cast, the cinematography, the locations, the relationship web between the women, and of course the shocking bombshells that all made for an interesting season 1.

Currently watching season 2 as well!

Did you feel any pressure, especially when it came to getting the cast right and the storylines that featured on the show?

Of course, there’s always pressure. Getting the cast right is an integral part of the show but it’s not the only source of pressure.

Shooting in a city like Lagos has its peculiarities, especially with traffic and trying to meet production schedules and deadlines.

The first episode kind of introduces Lagos as a character as well – was that intentional, sort of like a love letter to Lagos, and what makes the city great?

Absolutely! Lagos is a special place and plays a unique role to not just Nigeria and Nigerians but to Africa as a whole.

Lagos is a vibe! From the people to the food, the culture, the art, the fashion and the industry, the music and movies, the entertainment, the financial sector and the businesses.

It’s a hub for anything and everything. A city that never sleeps. A melting pot! We needed to pay homage to the city that shaped so many of us.

Were there any misconceptions about Lagos that you wanted to kind of dismantle with the show?

We aim to showcase the best of Lagos’s (and Nigeria’s) fashion, cuisine, royalty, nightlife, music and lifestyle so that for those who’ve never been, or are thinking of visiting or even moving here, get a sense of what to look forward to. Lagos is amazing!

Are you happy with the audience’s reception of the show so far?

It’s been incredible! All over the globe, fans of the show have been clamouring for more. The reactions to the premiere episode have been amazing. It makes us glad that the feedback is mostly positive. It’s quite humbling, really.

The Real Housewives of Lagos is currently streaming on Showmax.

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