Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know about Real Housewives of Lagos or the entire franchise… eh… google is your friend or even better, get a Showmax subscription and start bingeing. The show follows a group of Lagos socialites as they go through their eventful life. The casts are drawn from the world of business and entertainment to beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. They include Toyin Lawani, Carolyna Hutchings, Laura Ikeji, Chioma Ikokwu, Iyabo Ojo, and Mariam Timmer.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the women and why they would allow for their lives to be broadcasted to the world and interrogated by strangers online. So I spoke to a few of my online buddies who are also avid viewers of the show and asked them what they thought about the women and how they’ve projected themselves. We also talked about their favourite and least favourite housewives.
My favourite housewife is Carolyna and my least favourites are Laura and Toyin.
I think the ladies came on the show for visibility and hoping that would give them more business opportunities. That’s why the show has shown all the women as career women. Laura doesn’t want us to forget she is a social media influencer either. Even Iyabo showed us her shop. I think Iyabo also wants to experience/enjoy something new or different in her life.
Carolyna has tried her best to be civil and courteous. It’s evident she was married to a billionaire; she is poised— sadly drama just keeps finding her.
Laura and Toyin on the other hand have been a bitter duo. Toyin must have come on the show with the assurance that she would shine gloriously as the “King of Fashion” and have everyone talking about her fits but too bad for her, Chioma and Carolyna exist. That’s why she keeps picking on them.
Laura wants to trend but I just see her as nasty.
My favourite housewife is Iyabo Ojo. She’s objectively a great housewife and would fit into any other franchise. She’s given us a great balance of family life and reality tv material. She’s not afraid to facilitate some of the more explosive moments on the show, like Carolyna’s boho party by relaying info to Chioma and more recently by calling all the women for a “meeting” that gave us the most dramatic episode so far. She’s hilarious, her confessionals are pure jokes and she’s as real as it gets.
As to motivations, I can only infer based on what we’ve watched. So here goes:
Iyabo: I feel like Iyabo went into this with a kashimawo (let’s see) attitude. Especially because she has nothing to lose and more so because she’s the only real celebrity on the show, she has everything to gain. Iyabo didn’t have any strategy as to how she wants to come off on screen and it is very evident which is why she’s so many peoples favourite.
Toyin: Toyin has done the reality tv thing before so she had a point of reference for her experience this time around and because of that, her presence on RHOLagos is very much a continuation of her own show which was very much, here are all my 99 businesses. Omo! I can’t blame her, if I had that many businesses, I would plug them as much as I could.
Carolyna: I don’t know what show Carolyna thought this was because she’s said multiple times she doesn’t care for drama. It seems as though she’s refraining from showing us her home life and so all that we’ve come to know about her have been preempted by a fight with Laura and I wish she’d taken ownership and shown us what she wants us to know at least about her personal life.
Laura: I believe Laura came into this wanting to step out from behind her big sister’s shadow and thought the best way to do this was make herself the “main character”.
Chioma: Chioma I believe out of everyone came into this show with a clear and carefully crafted strategy as to how she would be portrayed. She wants her businesses and her philanthropic efforts to be front and centre and more so, she wants to be portrayed as the picture of “class”, “wealth” and “style”. It does come across as contrived and so it may be difficult for some viewers to connect with her. I love the fashions though and her face stays beat!
Mariam: Though we’ve only just been introduced to her, Mariam seems like a lot of fun and like she came on this show with the intent to have a laugh and honestly she’s doing just that and I love that for her.
Before RHOL, these women were popular on gossip blogs. Toyin for her theatrical and over the top camp costumes. Iyabo is a popular Yoruba actress who recently became famous on tiktok and she also took on the Yoruba movie industry after she was banned for taking up a rape case involving a colleague. Carolyna was popular on TV briefly (2004 – 2009) before she got married to her now ex, billionaire husband. While Laura has always ridden on her sister’s tail coat.
Toyin was a favourite from the first episode. I thought she was made for reality TV; she was bubbly and open. Carolyna gave off the blonde girl vibe, not a lot of personality. Chioma is a fashionista but I was wary of how tone deaf she seemed to be towards her staff and her weird vibe concerning the choice of food she decided to give her dog. Laura was generally unpleasant during the first episode and she seemed to be permanently constipated. I was also unsure of Iyabo because she was nice and courteous and didn’t give anything away. This also struck me as strange because it was a complete departure from her social media persona. Mariam didn’t show up till much later and she is a lot— she is a fast talker and rambunctious.
But after watching up to episode 8, my critical opinion of each cast has changed. Iyabo has grown more confident, including getting veneers, her fashion has been upgraded, she sometimes seems to be the voice of reason (this could be because she’s older.). She also does her bit of instigating that isn’t irritating because she comes off as a straight talker, a personal fave for now. Laura came with a personal vendetta towards Carolyna, and Chioma ticked her off during the first episode so now everyone inevitably has to face her wrath. Her actions are often directionless so it makes it difficult to sympathise with her even when it seems she was ganged up on. While I enjoy seeing Chioma’s pretty face and calm demeanour, her constant backhand compliment, tone deafness and lack of self-awareness among people who are seemingly lesser than her is very off putting, she is also an instigator but you are sure this is good for the drama. Toyin fell off for me because she also seems to have come here with a personal vendetta for Carolyna. While she talks a big game she hardly lives up to that game and very much threw her co-conspirator under the bus. Carolyna was a surprise; she went from no personality to working the audience like we are on the Carolyna show. She may come off as the blonde but she has a smart mouth, she can stand for herself during a fight and she fights dirty. Mariam also came in with what she was told about Carolyna already on her mind, still watching out for her but she hasn’t changed much from my first impression of her.
Their motivations are clear at least from the last episode. Everyone came here to get more famous, obviously. While Toyin and Laura came in with preconceived bad blood against Carolyna, Chioma got crossed in the line of fire because she refused to claim Laura’s friendship. Carolyna has two people hot on her heels. Laura seems to find it difficult for anyone to like her because she is constantly a negative Nancy.
In many ways, I agree with them. I started off as a fan of Toyin but recently switched to Chioma’s camp. I like how deliberate Chioma has been with her main character, the star of the show energy and how she’s riled Laura and my ex-main favourite Toyin. They think they know her game but yet allow themselves to be pawns in it. Every other episode, they unwittingly admit in their confessionals to be intimidated by her personality. Chioma comes into the room and they mourn about how she’s dressed the way she’s dressed to outshine them. It’s laughable.
I am, however, also critical of Chioma. Even though she’s been able to show the different sides to her. From business to family to friendship to philanthropy, I agree with Vanessa that it is contrived. Nothing makes this more obvious than the first episode where she struts into her restaurant, gathers her staff, and unabashedly announces to the world she’s letting them have the leftovers from an event she hosted. My quarrel with it is not so much that she’s letting them have leftovers but that she thinks it an act of such great generosity to announce it to the world in such a manner.
My interest in Toyin actually started to wane from the episode with Laura’s fashion event. I thought it was really crass of her to not only show her collection to Chioma during the event but also talk about her son being a better model when Laura’s son walked the runway. Not sure if I should call it insecurity or old school envy, but it’s surely giving bad vibes.
Outside of being entertaining in their own ways, I do not think much of the other women Mariam, Iyabo, Carolyna (oops, I think she’s doing too much with the hardworking woman representation to the point of wearing reflectors around Lagos), except Laura who’s really been obviously dramatic and for no better reason other than to be dramatic. Episode 10 hints that she would be tamed going forward. But I’m really not buying it. I think she’s playing a good game. After essentially making herself the antagonist of the show, she’s pulling the victim card now to earn sympathy from the viewers. Sorry, Laura, I won’t be fooled.
Drama. Drama. Drama. That’s all. I know we are already in the final episodes of the season but I do pray for more. Let it be as chaotic as the one in episode 8. A proper fight. I’d like to see one between Laura and Toyin, I think it’ll be the ultimate showdown. And the fight seems to be steaming since the episode where Laura told Toyin she was doing too much in her attempts to get her to interact and socialise with the other ladies more. I don’t think the matter has been properly ironed out and my guess is, it’ll happen during this Dubai trip. Fingers crossed.
Would love to hear from you too. What do you think of the show and who are your favourite and least favourite housewives?