Why I am drawn to children exposed to domestic violence – Pelumi Shittu

Watching Moment Z, one is struck with the versatility of topics discussed by the ladies who present the show. Among them is Pelumi Shittu, an architect turned television presenter. In this interview, Pelumi lets Urban Woman Magazine into her life, sharing details about herself, family and her switch from architecture to television presenting.

Pelumi Shittu
Pelumi Shittu

UW: Let’s meet you?

PS: My name is Pelumi Shittu, I am 23 years old and a graduate from the University of Lagos, where I studied Architecture. I am the first child out of 2 and the only girl. I delved into presenting due to the suggestion from my friend who recognized how skilled I was and how I seemed to enjoy group presentations in school. Also, I am a lover of God and I really want to carry out His will for me on earth.

 

UW: You stumbled on presenting, how has the journey been so far?

PS: It has been a wonderful experience and it has taught me a lot. A lot of times where you will have to wing it, times when you have to really sit down and learn. It is an enjoyable process. I have had to do a lot of learning on the job and it has been made even easier with the amazing crew at Ebony Life Television.

They are always eager to teach and correct you. I have had to study myself as well, even though it makes me cringe sometimes because a lot of mannerisms that you are unconsciously doing doesn’t come out so well on television. Then I’m watching myself and thinking “Why was my face like that? Why am I moving my hands like that?”

So I make sure I am conciliatory enough on set to act and be the type of person even I would love to enjoy. I gave myself a period of time to make sure I grow and learn a lot. So rather than looking for hosting jobs or gigs, I was more into getting feedback from people. I gave myself a year to really learn and be confident that I had learnt and understood the craft to a satisfactory level.

 

UW: How did your parents take the switch from architecture?

PS: I always wanted to do theater arts, but then my parents wanted me to study a professional course.  Architecture was the next best thing, so it didn’t come as a surprise to my mum because she had known that Architecture was an option and not necessarily a path for me. Even when I went ahead to do my masters degree, it was me just stalling to find out something I am passionate about.

 

UW: So you mentioned once on social media that your parents went through a separation. What was the experience like for you?

PS: I was happy when they separated. For as long as I can remember, they were never happy together. In fact they had separated before; in 2006, they had their first split which was after a series of domestic abuse. But then, my brother started developing bad grades in school so my mum had to go back to him because my father promised he had changed and my mom really loved him and also, for the sake of my brother’s grades.

I hoped it would be better but it really wasn’t. They were just not compatible at all and before we knew it, the arguments and fights. This time, it was emotional and financial abuse. The only one that seemed to benefit was my father, even my brother who was older now, couldn’t take it anymore hence the final separation. That was the toughest phase of my life, living in a toxic environment.

 

UW: How did that affect the choices you made growing up?

PS: It honestly just made me a better person. I realized that dating shouldn’t just be for fun, so I ended up over-scrutinizing every single guy that liked me. I was motivated to be independent and to make my mum proud, since I owe it to her and my brother as the first child. It has opened my eyes as well to domestic violence and the effects it has on the weaker party but most importantly, on the children.

A lot of times, we focus on the women who are being abused, but what about the kids who get to see this every day? Who are forced to pick sides? Or to find a way to be happy at home? Who have to concentrate on reading and assignments with the screams, arguments and abusive words or sometimes physical punches been thrown around. I feel a sense of responsibility towards them now. A seminar is in the works actually, where I get to gather these kids and then we can really just talk and air our deepest hurts.

So, I’m grateful for the experience because all things happen for a reason, to teach a lesson and I’m sure that if they didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have this sense of purpose, I wouldn’t be the strong lady I am today.

 

UW: So what do you love to do in your spare time?

PS: Well, I definitely love closing my eyes sometimes and just thinking, imagining and conceptualizing. Other times, I’m on my phone doing whatever it is I need to do at that time.

 

UW: What has been your most embarrassing moment on set?

PS: Oh my!!! My most embarrassing moment has got to be when we were talking about “The Racist Card” and the direction in which I had read/researched was not the direction in which the conversation was going. I ended up speaking without facts that were countered and I ended up seeming dumb. I really hated that feeling and then the directors would cut the show to tell me that my points weren’t valid and all, all eyes on me including the guests.

 

UW: What have been your best moments on set?

PS: I’ve had a lot of amazing moments on set. When the crew is happy and everyone is giddy. When the interview is going great and the directors are getting what they want from the conversation. I love when everything goes amazing well, especially from my end. It’s a confidence booster.

 

UW: What are you passionate about in the world?

PS: I am really passionate about talking and anyway I get to do that is a channel for me. Be it presenting, gisting, hosting, interviewing, mentoring, motivating, and helping. Everything that allows me to speak, to build my passion, I then have to read and make sure I’m updated with current information. That way, I am actually talking and not just making noise.

 

UW: What is the one thing you hope changes in Nigeria and globally in the next five years?

PS: The one thing I want to change in Nigeria in the next five years. Let me just categorize everything and say that the structures in Nigeria. Everything about this country needs to be restructured. From the education to power supply, power, transportation, politics, entertainment; everything. Around the world/globally, it would be racism in general. Not just to the blacks but to every other race that is seemingly lesser than others.

 

UW: What are your long term goals?

PS: Long term goals would definitely be to have my own platform that provides amazing content, also have three more businesses that I run and most importantly, to have an avenue for giving back and impacting the society.

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