Yinka Bokinni, the 28-year-old radio (Capital XTRA) and television presenter talks about law degrees, the love of her family and partying with Drake’s dad, and much more.
Melanmag.com: What does your heritage mean to you?
Yinka Bokinni: My dad’s Nigerian and my mum is Irish. Me and my six siblings (five girls and two boys) were brought up in a West African household. My mum was very receptive to Nigerian culture. Her thinking was that Ireland was a 30-min flight away and that part of our family was easily accessible but Nigeria is so much further away so she wanted to keep that close. When it came to food and culture, it was all heavily West African based, because she didn’t want us to be like those people who don’t know where they are from.
How did you get your voice heard in such a large family?
You had to shout! My family say that this is why I became a presenter, because no one listened to me when I was growing up [laugh]! On the radio people have to listen to you.
How would you describe your ‘day job’?
I keep my listeners updated with the latest tunes, celebrity gossip etc. I do tend to stay away from political content. It’s more about connecting with people as I do a lot of interviewing myself.
What kind of music can we find on Capital XTRA?
Now, it’s more UK focused, so grime, hip hop, a little R&B. We play some house as well. Just really great music.
How did you get into radio presenting?
Ironically, I graduated with a law degree! People are always surprised when I say that. But I ended up not wanting to practice and was quite sad because I thought I’d wasted my time. After just drifting through a few casual jobs, I saw an ad for a London-based underground station called Rinse FM who were looking for new presenters. I thought to myself, ‘well people think I’m quite funny, eloquent and articulate’, and coupled with my love for music; I’ll go for it.
Why law though?
It was either that or medicine! I’m from a very African family and so it was a given that I would go to university. But I don’t regret it at all because it’s given me some great life skills and shows that I can achieve something even when it’s difficult.
Most interesting guest?
Drake’s dad! It was when Drake was doing his Boy Meets World tour in February earlier this year in the UK. He doesn’t tend to do interviews so I was offered an interview with his dad instead. Drake senior was wonderful, we ended up becoming quite friendly. He took me to the Drake concert. He’s really funny. He looks like Drake in makeup!
Drake is the spitting image of his dad, just add 30 years. He’s a really nice guy, he was at all the parties too. He attended Krept and Konan’s Birthday party dressed in white, accompanied by two ladies. A proper OG!
What drives you?
My family. I have the sort of family that if you tell them you want to be an astronaut, they will find a way to get you to the moon. They are so supportive. So, it’s also about me not wanting to take all of that for granted. Even if I have a bad show, or want to quit, I think about everything they have sacrificed for me to be where I am today. I only started getting paid in the last 18 months and so my sister let me live in her house for free. Another sister was feeding me and another was buying me clothes. I was living the whole fake it till you make it lifestyle. My dad is my biggest fan.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
Still doing radio, but having a lot more control and influence. I would also like to have achieved other things. A passion of mine that I would like to get into is documentaries as I love to learn new things. I watch all sorts of documentaries and would like to someday have a career in filming and producing them.
What charity do you support?
British Heart Foundation. I recently became their ambassador as I had some heart problems before, so I’m working with them on an event in late July and I hope to do more with them in future.
Describe your fashion style?
Eclectic! Which I guess is a polite way of saying ‘messy’! I wear whatever I like. I wear different colour wigs, different style, all dependent on how I feel when I wake up in the morning.
Makeup wise, what can’t you live without?
Eyebrow pencil because I don’t believe doing your eyebrows is makeup, it’s just necessary! Even when I say I’m not wearing makeup, you know I still did my eyebrows. If you do them well no one notices, but if you do them badly, everyone notices. My go to brand is Superdrug’s MUA Eyebrow palette.
Past, present and future, who would you like to be stuck on a desert island with?
Past, Whitney Houston for a little entertainment. Present, now this might sound strange, but Judge Judy because she is actually one of the reasons I did law. She’s so jokes and if there are any island disputes, she will sort it out. Future, I have a 12-year-old niece who is a real character and I know when she is older she will be absolutely fabulous, so I’ll pick her in 10 years’ time.