BEHIND THE SCENES WITH MARINA RAKISHA TERRY: ONE OF SIERRA LEONE’S LEADING TV PERSONALITIES
May 14, 2021
One time before now, you must have been in a zone where you get to gather your thoughts or scribble on paper: a plan, your career goals, the type of family that you would love to create. The list differs for each individual! Truth to be told, nothing really prepares us enough for REALITY.
The reality of having to choose, place our priorities in order, or let go and let life happen? Or can we say , the realisation that we will need to make choices for ourselves. Some people might say, that we don’t have to choose or let go because we can really have it all with adequate planning. Another school of thought may say achieving a career goal is something while maintaining the family is another. How do we set this balance?
We have societal standards expectations and often people forget how tasking it is to climb up the corporate/professional ladder for females, with more obstacles on the way, compared to male counterparts. Eventually for most people, growth and development becomes extra stressful physically, mentally and emotionally.
It’s mental health awareness month and we know how stressful it can get for women professionals. We were happy to catch up with a young but leading lady in the broadcasting industry who happens to be a mama; Marina Rakisha Terry to share snippets of her journey so far!
Marina Rakisha Terry is a Sierra Leonean Television personality. A show host, television producer, actress, and humanitarian. She was best known for the first teenage television program in Sierra Leone, “WETIN NOW” : a broadcast from the State broadcaster, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for years. She moved into radio broadcasting. Co-hosting the Jimmy B Show with the ‘Godfather’ of Sierra Leonean Entertainment, Jimmy Bangura, also known as Jimmy B.
She has been on the Shake Ed Dae Extra-Plus with Master Jaye at Afri-Radio 105.3 FM as a co-host, and has created a niche for herself in the media industry. Later she moved to her current work at the country’s leading media house Africa Young Voices (AYV) Media Empire. A conglomerate of television, radio, newspaper, magazine, and digital media. She became one of the popular faces of the institution’s news desk and Prime Time News as an anchor. Later she moved on to the role of co-host of the institution’s breakfast show, WAKE UP Sierra Leone. A news and current affairs show that hosts the country’s leading perspectives.
Followed by a weekly show she created called: Perspectives. A show that dives deep into a single story per edition but at the same time, tries to get all the sides to the story.
Currently, Marina is the exclusive host for two shows, National Agenda on AYV Radio 101.7 and the Gateway on AYV Television Channel 34. Ms. Terry is an award-winning best Female TV Personality. She is also an event host and phenomenal MC(Mistress of Ceremony) and a recipient of several award nominations, including the prestigious Sister’s Choice Award.
LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR CAREER AND CREATIVITY
You see, I always tell people to stay authentically and uniquely you. That way, you can bring to the table what no one else does. The field I find myself in requires constant tweaking of ideas, creativity, and innovation to stay relevant and needy.
I’ve been able to stay top-notch this long because I constantly empower myself, assess the industry, look at the gaps and see how I come in to make the needed difference when opportune. And by the way, the industry is male-dominated, intimidating, and scary for a lady to venture into, set a bar of the highest standards. So, my sense of purpose motivates me. That’s to say I’m not doing what I’m doing for the glamour, the camera, and the microphones. I see tools that help me fulfill that desire of being a torch in society and help enlighten them to make informed decisions in return. I keep in mind that I influence a huge chunk of people by being a TV personality. I feel blessed and honored to be in that position, and I do not take it for granted. So, I stay this accomplished because of my sense of tenacity and God’s grace.
THE WOMAN, FAMILY LIFE AND WORK: IS IT A BALANCING ACT?
This is a stereotypical question, and I get it. We are the custodians of families by default being a woman. I must say it’s not an easy balance. You know the popular cliché of “family comes first, right? My family is my source of inspiration. My sons motivate me a lot because, for them, I want to be that mother that goes all out, with a strong sense of integrity and credibility to be there for them. Sometimes, they make their contributions, not knowing it. Sometimes, when duty calls, I have to answer to it and sacrifice the time I had planned to spend with them. But ultimately, I create time for my family and try to create memories that we will cherish for the rest of our lives or even for moments we miss ourselves. The enormity of the task in balancing the two is a daunting one. But I work to be there for my family, and I also know that money without family is nothing. So, I strike a perfect balance that works for my family and me.
PREGNANT AGAIN ! ARE YOU SERIOUS?
Being a young professional and being pregnant, I must confess, sometimes it’s like a poison to your ambition and dreams. You feel like you cannot reinvent the wheel. The thought of going through those paining, crazy, and uncertain times is something inexplicable. There were moments I felt like quitting. Hmmm, I did. You are as good as your last broadcast, and that’s how we are defined. So, staying off the air for that long can only be as discouraging as it can be. But when I thought about the process and the thought of not giving up, that thought was therapeutic for me. I realized my passion was not for a moment but a lifetime thing. So, my purpose in being who I have eclipsed my fears have emboldened me to brace up and not quit. It was tough, but I braved it. So, I wrote to the institution informing them of my condition and requested a leave of absence. And as soon as I put to bed, I resumed work. The feeling of returning to work was unfathomable but fulfilling.
KEEP ON KEEPING ON
The desire to make a change is my biggest drive. I want to be different. I need to be unusual. So, my passion brings me strength. My family motivates me. I have a partner who is a winner. So, settling for less is not among the options available. The options win, win and win. So, I have to keep winning. And because I do what I am doing to make society better for my kids, I have to stay winning.
EVERYONE NEEDS SOMEBODY
Honestly, I’m one person who believes in the song of Whitney Houston, “Greatest Love. I want to create my path. Walk on it, Leave a footprint that will be worth following. But there are few women I have come to respect and feel inspired by. Michelle Obama is one of them. Getting to know the story of her is a big inspiration to me. Knowing how she was told she couldn’t make it to her university, but amidst all that negativity, she went in and came out distinctively. Her story inspires me a lot. Oprah Winfrey is another that inspires me a lot.A woman born out of poverty and becoming the first black female billionaire and queen of Television in the US.
In Sierra Leone, I look up to outstanding women such as Madam Naasu Fofanah, Fatou Wurie, Yvonne Aki- Sawyer, Alimatu Dimonekene, Ariana Oluwole, etc.