- Words Aimee Phillips
TV and radio presenter Yinka Bokinni talks about her career highs and lows and living her passion every day.
Simultaneously charismatic and authentic, it’s no wonder that Yinka Bokinni has earned herself a firm spot both on our screens and on the airways.
From presenting Capital Xtra Breakfast to The MOBOs, C4’s topical discussion show Unapologetic and most recently her C4 true crime documentary, How To Hire A Hitman, Yinka has been breaking the stereotypical UK presenter mould and inspiring people across the country.
Ahead of Yinka and Zeze Mills’ co-hosted show Unapologetic returning to the TV in October (as well as a few other projects), Notion spoke with the rising presenter to hear about how she overcame her self-doubt, love of Louis Theroux and Judge Judy, and much more. Dive in!
As a DJ, writer and TV presenter, which avenue feels most natural to you?
Yikes, the first question is the hardest! I am so comfortable speaking to people, it’s why I do what I do. Hearing people’s stories and being able to share those is what gets me going. I’ve worked in radio the longest so I always thought that was where I would shine the brightest, but since I’ve been working in TV I’ve realised that it comes quite naturally. It’s a shock! But a great one
You’ve accomplished so much already – Capital Xtra Breakfast, The MOBOs, C4’s ‘Unapologetic’ and your true crime doc, ‘How To Hire A Hitman’. Do you feel like you’ve ‘made it’?
Simple answer? No. I don’t know what “it” looks like, it would be silly of me to say I don’t know that I am successful, I’m employed! I get to live my passion every day! I’m forging a career I absolutely adore and it’s very surreal but have I made it? Not yet I don’t think, I still feel very much like I am at the beginning of what will hopefully be a long career. Ask me again in 10 years!
What has been the biggest achievement in your career to date?
There have been so many sky highs and rock bottoms that it’s hard to sort but if I had to pick one it would be going from talking about crime on YouTube in my dining room to becoming a true crime presenter. I still can’t believe that.
And what has been one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced?
I think that one of the biggest obstacles I have faced has been self doubt. I’m from a place where YOU have to believe in you and sometimes, when you have huge aspirations, you really have to dig deep especially when your dreams aren’t what is right in front of you. I’ve really had to learn how to be my own biggest supporter and fan, how to quiet that voice of doubt in my mind and really dig deep and learn who I am. Doubt gets you nowhere
Has this year panned out the way you hoped it would?
It’s been better! In terms of work; it’s busy and exciting. I’m travelling doing what I love and meeting some incredible people whilst doing so. I feel as though I can CALL myself a TV presenter (because I have telly shows!) and that feels wonderful! I also feel as though I am finding that work/ life balance as well, I’ve taken time (where I can) to chill out this year, so I feel ready for what the rest of 2022 has in store.
Do you have any goals for the rest of 2022?
My biggest plan is to do what is left on my calendar and do it well. I have some exciting projects coming up; season two of Unapologetic, Naked Education and another documentary! Of course cool things can pop up at any time as well so I want to keep focused on these huge opportunities and just do my best, which may sound odd but I’ve prayed forever to be in this position and I’m ready to work.
Who are some of your role models? What have they taught you?
If you’ve ever had a conversation with me then you will know that my role model is Judge Judy, it may sound rogue but hear me out, she is strong, she is fair and she is fiercely talented. I won’t ever say this to her face but she’s adorable too; all the things I want to be! I would also like to be Louis Theroux when I grow up.
What advice do you have for other creatives looking to follow a similar career path to you?
I only have one piece of advice and that is to START. Whatever it is that you want to do, begin. Immediately. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without doing and showing whoever is watching (and you never know who is watching) that I am capable. Don’t wait for the door to knock, phone to ring or followers to grow, start now.