Botswana Television’s (BTV) Mantlwaneng youth programme has always been in the forefront of unearthing Botswana’s young TV talent as evidenced by Rea; Executive Producer and Host of Rea Online. Born Reagile Essentielle Kopi, the young lass was an overall winner of the Orange Carpet Presenter Search and co-hosted the Yarona FM 2014 Music Awards (YAMAs) live on Yarona FM.
She was also the youngest co-host at just 20 years old on RB2’s Orange Top 40; where she did a segment called ‘Entertainment News with Rea’. She is also the youngest Corporate MC in the country. Very soon, Rea will be one of the selected few hosts at the upcoming Gaborone International Music & Culture Week (#GimcXperience) slated for next month.
Sibs Macd Sibaya recently had a chat with the Botswana pioneer of Vlogging (video blogger) who’s passionate about inspiring, empowering and celebrating young women…
Most people know you as “that Mantlwaneng girl”, but I’d like to know more. Please tell us more about Rea…
My Full names are Reagile Essentielle Kopi and I’m just a young and vibrant lady aged 21. I love God more than anything in this world. I am quite the talkative type and strongly opinionated. I am very confident in my skin and I absolutely love cooking and baking! Being in front of the camera is the most natural thing for me, interviewing people. I am in my element when I’m behind the microphone either on radio or recording voice-overs as well as compering an event (MC).
When and how did you first get interested in presenting?
Well, I remember watching Mantlwaneng and seeing the likes of Marang Molosiwa and OBK presenting on BTV and I thought I can do that! So when the auditions came, I was so there and I just knew that there was a spot for me, amongst over 800 people who auditioned that day. I walked liked it. I dressed like it. I prepared and I was so myself. I had fun at the audition and I got the job.
Please tell us more about your online talk show, Rea Online as well as the gig you had on RB2 via an entertainment segment on Khumo’s show.
My Online Talk show- Rea Online is my baby. It’s simply a dream that came true. I have always wanted to have my own talk show like Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks. I am very passionate about empowering young women, inspiring and encouraging them to be the best women they are meant to be. So one day I got up, and said I am not going to wait for the right time; to meet with the right people or to have the right resources.
I simply told myself, have a smart phone that has a good camera and I am going to record myself talking about girl issues, edit and upload them on my Facebook page-Rea Online and my YouTube channel Rea Online. I was destined to see my dream come true. I couldn’t delay any longer; this passion inside of me was burning me up. I had to do something about it. The episodes are doing really well with so many views on each episode I upload. It’s crazy how people have rallied behind me in this and I will forever be grateful to my team (#TeamRea).
The entertainment segment on the Orange Top 40 was a 30-minutes feature called Entertainment News with Rea. I got to interview local artists and dish out on the latest international news in showbiz. I basically brought the E! (Hollywood channel) to radio and spiced it up with my bubbly personality. Khumo is such a hot sizzling ball of energy and I’m the dynamite in my small package! Together, we made radio lively every Saturday at 1630hrs.
Do you have a mentor or people you look up to for guidance, also please tell us about those that have influenced you as well as the ones you admire the most?
My mentors in the industry are Gaona Dintwe (GaonaLive) and Khumo Kgwaadira. I also admire Beyoncé, Oprah Winfrey, Tyra Banks and of course, Bonang Matheba. When I was still dreaming and not living my dream, I used to buy every single magazine that Bonang made the cover just to read about her. I must add, I have learnt so much from those articles and I have this quote in my room that says, “If you think you’re working hard, work harder!”
Another one is when Anele of 5FM wrote on her Twitter account: “Be you. Do you.” Ever since I read that tweet I have never wanted to be anyone I’m not. I have never tried to copy any other presenter. I realized that there is something special about me. I have my own lane and I shall stick to it. I can never be like Bonang but I strive to always be the second best and on top of my game. The thing is if I’m myself, then that limits competition, because then no one can ever beat me at being me.
Do you have any TV and radio personalities that inspire you both locally and internationally?
As far as TV and radio personalities are concerned in Botswana, it is definitely Khumo Kgwaadira. I’ve worked with her before and she is just such a beautiful soul always advising me and pushing me go beyond my own limits that I put for myself. Gaona’s articulation is just so clear and her voice has so much authority with it. As a female Emcee that’s a huge asset I admire in her. Outside, Oprah, Tyra, Bonang : all these ladies are media moguls. They own what they do. They produce shows. They’re business women and they’re in front of the camera! I love that!
You must have been ecstatic when you won the Yarona FM Music Awards (YAMAs) presenter search, please tell us about that exciting moment in your life?
I was over the moon. I mean I worked so hard to get over 400 votes amongst the 800 votes that were received. I had prior to that read and researched a lot about the local music industry. I knew all the artists and all the categories. I was so prepared and I wanted to nail it so bad because that was my moment. From the era of Mantlwaneng; I must say this was the biggest thing I had ever done so I had to prove to people that I am no longer a child star. I was entering the showbiz industry full throttle now.
I remember standing in front of my Accounting classmates and asking for their votes. My friend wrote the voting details on the board and that for me, I knew this was the beginning of greatness. After I won, that week was so hectic for me I was in the middle of exams and I had to get myself glammed up for the prestigious event. Aobakwe Molosiwa of Gilded Sands was so kind enough to make me look super awesome wearing one of his ensembles in such a short notice. My bob-cut guru Tello also supported me.
My mom and my close friends helped me so much during that week. On that day, finally, I was going to be ON AIR on Yarona FM live from the Orange Carpet. I met Vee there who I greatly admire as a man of God in the industry. Got coached by the best, Bonnie Dintwa and Black (my co-host for the night was amazing).
Are you where you planned to be now?
Definitely! I am where God wants me to be in this very moment. I was the youngest co-host at just 20 years old last year on national radio. The youngest Corporate MC in the country. Pioneer of video blogger in Botswana. It’s amazing. I will also be one of the hosts at the upcoming Gaborone International Music & Culture Week (#GimcXperience). I’m the brand ambassador of LT Peculiar Couture and Caroline’s Hair Do and Boutique. I am living my dream. I’m grateful every day. Sometimes I just sob with so much happiness.
What other dreams do you still want to pursue?
Well, I still dream of my own TV talk show so that is definitely something that I am going to do. I also want to be an entrepreneur and not just a media personality. I want to own my craft. I dream of being married to the man of my dreams one day and having the best job in the world- being a mom.
What lessons have fame taught you so far?
Be you. Do you. There is enough cake for everyone. Do not dwell much on your wins neither your losses. Be purposeful. Stay in the house of God, serve, Keep Jesus at the center of your life. When I die the only thing I am taking with me to Heaven is souls – people. It’s the only thing that matters.
Do you think that it is important to choose your environment, that is: to choose the people you surround yourself with when in the spotlight?
Yes, Definitely! I have realized just how sharp and feisty after having a conversation with someone who is better than me in a certain area of my life. I grow from such conversations. The reality is, with the line of work I have chosen it’s important to have people who will support me and not be jealous of me or not want my life. As they say, birds of the same feather flock together and I believe I’m an eagle. I soar high and I only hang out with eagles and we have eagle talk and not chickens; who are always looking down-not ambitious and tenacious.
What are your other ambitions and plans for the future?
I can’t really put out anything to you at the moment but I must say that I’m currently shooting the second season of Rea Online! I’m so excited, I’ve partnered with Torch Studios to up the quality lol! No more wind blowing causing you not hear anything on the videos. I will also be releasing the Rea Online Theme song very soon! Don’t worry, I’m not venturing into singing anytime soon! Amo Moatlhaping did the vocals, Fuego produced it and co-wrote it.
What has been your pillar of strength and what has kept you going through the years?
Jesus Christ. I do not know where I would be without Him in my life. The Word of God! My CRC Church family, pastors and leaders. My mum, aunties and family. My very close friends and destiny relationships I am blessed with.
Describe a typical day in the life of Rea.
LOL! My days are really different hey. I get up in the morning spend time with God, get ready and go to school. I spend an hour or so during the day working on one goal be it my career, Rea Online as well as checking my emails. Get home, cook, eat and study! Lol, not so glamorous you see!
Thanks Rea, do you have any last words?
Thank you Sibs for this interview! People must keep watching Rea Online on my Facebook page- Rea Online and on my YouTube channel Rea Online. Always be you. Do you. There is just no one else in the world that is like you so take pride in that. Nothing is impossible with God.