Newlyweds, Akah and Claire Nnani, are embarking on a new kind of digital (as well as IRL) adventure and they’ve been generous enough to share it all with fans, old and new.. Vivienne Belonwu recently caught up with the artist, and her actor/ social media influencer husband, for a brief chat about love marriage and navigating the social media world as the latest couple in town.
Individually, both your careers have blossomed rather beautifully. Are your expectations being met?
CLAIRE: The journey is indeed beautiful, in hindsight. Chasing one’s dream career, especially one that may be said to be unconventional, in the space we are in, is indeed challenging and fulfilling. We have joy doing what we do.
AKAH: Truthfully, we’re both in good places now but we’re not where we want to be yet. Thanks to God, hardwork
and [making the] right choices, we have made something out of ourselves but we can be much better and we desire much more.
…and on this journey you met the love of your life. What was the first thing about each other that caught your attention?
CLAIRE: For me, it was his interest in pushing the kingdom of God. I found that he had co-founded a Christian online radio station and, of course, his weird colour blocking style. It was a thing then, don’t judge me.
AKAH: Her legs. (Laughs). Seven years ago, we had a mini date at a restaurant near her home and when I saw her, I thought to myself, “What long legs!”
Akah, how were you able to convince Claire who seems like the private one to be part of your YouTube channel Akah Bants?
AKAH: While we were dating, she saw me grow the channel from scratch and this made her have a sentimental
attachment to it. She enjoyed watching other couple vlogs and [became more interested] in putting out content with me. I told her I’d always protect her and have her interests at heart, and that was all she needed to ride with me.
Do you have any misgivings about the pressure that comes with putting yourselves out there?
CLAIRE: I don’t feel any pressure. It’s a choice I believe we made together for a greater cause. We realised that what we share is special and want the world to believe they can have the same. As content creators, we dictate what information we want out there, but there is no saying there won’t be misinformation about us, which may cause us to feel some sort of uncertainty; the key is to remain honest and authentic.
AKAH: Oh I do! It’s always a question of what to put out there and what not to; when to put it out and also how. Sometimes the lines get blurred- and keep in mind these ‘lines’ are subjective. One has to constantly be alert and not cross the line. Mistakes happen but there has to be a genuine way of making it right. It’s not always easy and simple.
Do you find that you sometimes doubt yourselves when creating and sharing content?
CLAIRE: Every day. It seems unheard of but it’s my journey, it’s where I am now. I went from being super confident in my plans and vision to become fearful, but this was because I was not receiving the energy needed to stay upbeat. Overcoming self doubt for me starts with a positive mind and surrounding myself with positive energy.
AKAH: Every time!
Claire, how would you describe your style as an illustrator and painter?
CLAIRE: I rarely illustrate anymore, as I am working more on acrylic paintings. Hopefully, I will have a couple shows before the year runs out. My current painting style features intellectual/political concepts and stories, maybe fiction even. The core is always the woman.
Akah, you gave a strong performance in Ajoche. Was there something extra or out of the box you had to do to enable you transition smoothly into the character, Alechenu?
AKAH: Thank you for the compliment. I had to be a bit crude. I learnt to eat from the soil, not wash [my] hands
before eating, I learnt to climb trees on set, I learnt the Idoma language a bit too. It helped me get into character.
Claire, how do you deal with those moments when you feel unmotivated, uninspired… or blocked?
CLAIRE: Pinterest, Youtube, social media really. I watch videos of successful artists and listen to their thought patterns. I try to learn something new.
You actually designed your wedding dress. Was that a one-off thing or do you intend to go into bridal illustration as well?
CLAIRE: I worked with Purple Lagos for my dress and it was exactly how I envisioned it. No bridal illustrations please!
Akah, you are quite particular about skin care products, what is your take on lightening products for one’s skin?
AKAH: I’m all for healthy, glowing skin. I love beautiful melanin. I love all shades of dark. And one should be confident in their shade. Skin lightening products kill the skin and I don’t think anyone should do that.