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Interview: Oluwatosin Omotosho

Introducing Oluwatoisn Omotosho, Professional Dancer/Movement Artist, Model, Actor, Choreographer, Youtuber and Forex Investor. She's an awesome mover, entrepreneur encouraging and empowering others to be the best version of themselves. She knows all about new beginnings from moving to England from Nigeria at age 9, leaving full time employment to pursue a career as a movement artist to recently transitioning back to be called her Nigerian name 'Oluwatosin'.


Give us and our readers a brief background of who you are and what you’re about?


My name is Oluwatosin Omotosho. I am a Nigerian, London-based Professional Dancer/Movement Artist, Model, Actor, Choreographer, Youtuber and Forex Investor. I am a follower of Christ, a Creative being, an Encourager, a Motivator, and I am obsessed with plantain (and not ashamed of it haha). I grew up in Nigeria and moved to the UK at the age of 9. I am the oldest of four, recently became an aunty and the Founder and Creative Director of #MOUVEMENT21.


I believe my calling lies in encouraging others to be the best version of themselves, to motivate and uplift them using creativity and the arts as a vehicle to do so; be it dance, movement or my writing (poetry). I have a background in the charity and humanitarian sector and seek to amalgamate that experience with my creativity to bring about change. I believe I am called to be a Generation Game Changer, no matter how big or small; positive change in people, their mindset and within my atmosphere and environment. I am currently on the journey.


What was your experience of growing up in Nigerian then moving to England at still quite a young age?


My memories of growing up in Nigeria was a very disciplined though happy upbringing. I lived with my aunt and her children and attended a local private school in Lagos. Schools were very strict. If you misbehaved or perhaps did not know the answer to a particular question or topic the teacher had taught in class, you were subject to getting "the cane" aka "a whooping or beating." Yes, beatings in schools were the norm and a regular occurrence. You had to fight to be the top of the class and exam results were based on rankings e.g. the person with the highest mark would receive a "1st position" on their report card. I was always in the position of 2nd and 8th in the class but there was a time I was in the 28th position in class and I was devastated! Literally!


I feel that my childhood in Nigeria really shaped who I am today. It made me resilient, it made me tough and also extremely grateful to have had access to great education and the discipline I have now in certain areas of my life.

When I moved to England at the age of 9, I was way ahead of the curriculum, however being born in the first month of the academic year, September, I was held back due to age as opposed to being moved to the next year due to my advanced knowledge. My mum was not happy that's for sure but nonetheless accepted the fate and I began school. It was definitely a culture shock. I was a goody two shoes, very well behaved in class. I hadn't realised that children were not beaten for misbehaving in class here. I was also very ahead of the topics being studied and I guess being foreign and being a "know it all" was not the recipe for being popular or liked.

I was made fun of in school a lot mainly around my hair, accent, my name and I guess the fact that I didn't act like a "regular" British child. Growing up in Nigeria, made me grow up quickly so I guess I was not like every other child here. From a very young age, I was going to the next neighbourhood to fetch pails of water to pour into a massive tank stationed in my aunty's compound, despite having a house maid, I still did chores. Nonetheless, I still tried my best to fit in and did find some lovely friends who accepted me in the end.

The weather was the most drastic culture shock for me. On arrival in England, I was admitted to hospital for a few weeks due to the environmental change. I just couldn't take how cold it was as I had always lived in a warm climate. I was also used to playing out with the children in my neighbourhood, giving ourselves stories and playing them out, however coming here at such a young age, it felt too "dangerous" to play out, plus it was cold! My mum did do a great job by taking me and my siblings to the park and so we got some respite that way.


You made a brave transition to pursue a career as a creative and performing artist. What were you doing before and why did you decide to make this big move?


Before making the transition to a career as a Creative & Performing Artist, I worked in the community development, regeneration, housing and the charity and humanitarian sector. I loved these sectors, as from early on in my life, I knew I wanted to be part of something that was helping others and brought about change. These industries enabled me to have my first experience in doing just that. Despite working full time, I was also dancing more or less full time in the evenings at my favourite place to train and a place that gave me the confidence to pursue dance as a career, Runway House. I would finish work at around 5pm and rush to get to Runway House to start training at 6pm. I did this for a number of years and it wasn't until the summer of 2017 following an audition for "The Headwrap Diaries" production, that I felt that it was time to go all in as I felt divided with the commitments of a fast paced work life and deadlines and my passion to dance and perform and use that aspect of my gift to inspire, encourage and change the world with my art (that is the ultimate vision).


I was actually on a train journey after work one day going to train at Runway House, I asked God if I should leave my job and if so, when. He took me to a section in my daily bible reading for that day. The phrase read "Exodus means to exit." The rest was history from there and I made the transition. It was scary but I am happy I did it. You should not leave this earth without at least attempting to make your passion and dreams become a reality.





What was your transition like from making the decision to actually making it a reality - how did you go about making this career move and were there any obstacles you encountered and overcame?


The transition was rocky! It was uncomfortable, it wasn't easy but I made it my aim to make it work. I trained hard in the time I now had, I then also began teaching others my knowledge, teaching the younger generations in schools as well as adult classes and dance schools. As I now freed myself from full time work, I was more open and available to attend auditions and castings.

Financially it was tough because I had to adjust to the freelance and self employment life but once I was a few months in, I understood what I needed to do to keep me going. I worked some fun and interesting jobs in between dance work but one thing I was glad I did was save up before making this huge transition. It is important that you prepare yourself before you take the plunge and understand how you will be able to replace your once regular flowing income. Another obstacle I faced was rejection and "not getting the job." I believe this is a good obstacle for us to face as Artists as it only makes you work harder and push to become your best self. You will eventually get that job or something even better which is something that happened to me and I then I was glad I didn't get the other job. God always has a good and better plan for us and I am so here for it!


Last year you made a decision to embrace your name Oluwatosin what led you to make that change?

As previously mentioned, when I moved to the UK, my name was regularly made fun off and ridiculed in school. It made me feel like my name was an issue, that it wasn't beautiful and for the very first time in my life, I felt very different and felt I had to change myself to fit into this society as I badly wanted to be accepted. I clearly remember the day I was going to secondary school and I shared with my mum that I wanted to go by "Tina" , my English name. I just didn't want to have to deal with the issues I dealt with in primary school around my name in secondary school. It was like I buried that name in order to have an "easier" life in this new environment I was stepping into.


As years passed, I began thinking of this memory and as I became more aware of how powerful my culture, my blackness and my history was, I wanted to switch back to my African name. My transition began from university, then watching "good hair" and beginning my transition to my natural hair, then studying black history and just being extremely proud of how resilient we are as a people. Suppressing my African name was suppressing a huge part of my identity. So during quarantine, when we all had a lot of time to sit with ourselves and our thoughts, I felt God say it is time to make this transition and He also confirmed this through Godly counsels who were around me at the time. This was the start of the journey of reclaiming my African name. It's almost been a year now and I've never felt so powerful in my identity and who I am. Oluwatosin means "God is worthy to be served" so everytime I step out in that name and am called by that name, I believe God is being served through my life and purpose.

You also founded Mouvement21 tell us more about that and what was the inspiration behind that?


#MOUVEMENT21 was birthed in August 2017 out of my frustration for not developing my freestyle, improvisation and movement as often as I would have liked to, in order to develop into the phenomenal artist I knew I could be. I placed a strong focus on choreography almost letting my freestyle and improvisation skills suffer.


As a result of this frustration, on the 31st of July 2017, I decided to set myself a challenge to move everyday for 21 days in order to explore and develop my movement and to find out who I truly was as an artist outside of the studio and learning choreography. I learned that 21 days was a good amount of days to develop a habit and sought to make freestyle and improvisation a daily habit and lifestyle. This challenge surpassed my expectations as it opened up and unlocked my creativity and movement vocabulary and language like never before. I ended the challenge a completely different dance artist and it showed me the power of consistency and discipline. It was a true manifestation of the quote "what we do repeatedly consistently we become".

I was also aware that other artists I had trained with over the years struggled in this area too so I invited anyone who wanted to challenge themselves to join me. Since 2017, well over 100 individuals have participated in the 21 day #MOUVEMENT21 challenge.

I also have a passion to make dance accessible to everyone despite having a background in dance and movement or not. I believe dance and movement is a powerful tool for bringing people together, increasing an individual's mood, physical and mental wellbeing. For this reason, I opened up the challenge to involve non dancers and people who just love movement or enjoy dance to take part in #MOUVEMENT21. It's been incredible to see this passion and dream become a reality and also witness how it has been helping people grow in their movement and support them in their wellbeing journey.

What's the best advice someone has ever given and what advice do you want to give others looking to follow their dreams?


Just go for it. Stop thinking about the "what ifs". Your "Yes" could be someone else's lifeline. Most of the time we do not follow our dreams because we feel we are not good enough and we will fail but failure is our teacher. It makes us more resilient. No great individual in this life has a smooth sailing experience in following their dreams, we have to go through some obstacles so that when we do achieve our milestones there is a deeper appreciation for it. Furthermore, others can be inspired that despite the odds set against you, you were still able to achieve your dream and you never gave up.


For example, I left a well paid job and financial comfortability to pursue my dreams as a Professional Dancer & Artist. If I didn't take that leap, I wouldn't have performed with Legends like Chaka Khan or Gary Barlow, I wouldn't have been in two touring dance theatre shows or perform in two of the most beautiful theatres in the UK Sadlers Wells and the Lowry, I wouldn't have been Assistant Movement Director for a touring show "Midlife", I wouldn't have achieved my dreams of being a soloist in a Artist's video.


I had to step out and test the waters and swim even when I felt like I was drowning in order to achieve these milestones. I am still swimming and still gasping for air at times but there is NO WAY I will give up now, despite a pandemic, despite rejections and knockbacks, they are there to sharpen me to grow, to be better and to be resilient.


So like Nike said "Just Do IT!" as cliche as it may sound!


What are some of your proudest moments in your life?


There are a number of proud moments in my life, one being going on my first two solo travelling trips to Paris and Thailand! I learnt so much through these experiences. It taught me a lot of independence and showed me just how fearless I can be. I always remember I did this, when fear tries to creep in! Second would have to be when I entered a model search competition in my local area in 2008 and ended up winning! I definitely did not expect to but I was proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone to enter the competition.


I would also have to say that I am proud of my first professional job as a Dance Artist with Uchenna Dance, performing an extract of "The Headwrap Diaries" at the Lowry in Manchester, moving to the United States at the age of 20 to study abroad where I grew and became even more resilient and independent, auditioning for Chaka Khan amongst hundreds of dancers and being chosen to be part of the cast for her music video and later performing with her in the FLESH on the Graham Norton show (still in awe that God did that for me as I love Chaka Khan!).


I am also extremely proud of myself for performing at The Brits 2020 which had always been a dream and goal of mine. Performing on a show I had watched on tv for many years and finally being blessed with the opportunity to perform with some of the best UK & African Artists was truly a dream come true. Finally, becoming an aunty in 2020 to my beautiful nephew!



Finally to you - What is Real? What is Authentic? and What is Winning?


Real, for me is to exist as your true self with no facade or act but being exactly who you were created to be both in private and public. To be authentic is being completely honest in your approach to everything in you, completely being your innate self and not a replica of someone or something else. Finally, winning for me is subjective. Winning for some can be getting out of bed after a long season of depression, or completing a piece of work they had struggled with for so long, but if I was to define it for myself, winning is waking up each day knowing that I have been given another chance to pursue my life's calling and taking a step no matter how small towards it daily. I also truly believe we win by seeing and helping others win.


Continue to follow Oluwatosin’s awesome journey connect with her via

Instagram - @oluwatosin.om

YouTube - Oluwatosin Om


Check out her company #MOUVEMENT21

Instagram - @mouvement21

YouTube - Mouvement 21

And they also have some amazing merchandise check out their store here.

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

Hi I’m Jackie, I’m an Ugandan- Brit creative, dancer, health enthusiast and change agent. I have a general passion for encouraging people and am really interested in others journeys. 

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