New Telegraph

I’ve Always Been Drawn To Intersection Of Creativity, Entertainment, Storytelling – Bob Cal

Bob Cal is a celebrated fashion entrepreneur, television series producer; marketing, media and public relations practitioner, and violinist based in New York City, US. In this interview with TONY OKUYEME, he talks about his experience, Nollywood, partnership with Brendance and Crusader Ltd on Mr and Miss Nigeria International Organisation, among other issues

You started your career in the fashion industry producing local fashion events…

Yes, my first event was produced when I was still a college student. Titled ‘A Night in Tokyo’, this Japanese themed fashion show received critical acclaim, huge sponsors and major media coverage. My first professional experience was an internship with CNN Latino, which was producing morning show segments on fashion. As an intern, I pitched original fashion segments that the programming directors loved…

And thereafter, what happened? This internship led to producing fashion segments for the CNN Latino channel. My next opportunity was an associate television producer for a show titled A La Moda, a Spanish language television show on fashion that aired on the channel Mira TV, a program of which I produced over 100 episodes. I have also consulted for different fashion brands, fashion television shows and produced a fashion show in New York City. I am currently initiating FE TV HUB in Nigeria with Brendance and Crusaders and will fly to China this year to produce a fashion series. I am in talks to activate FE TV HUB in Dubai, Brazil and India.

What really inspired you to specialise in fashion-related television production? Throughout my career, I’ve always been drawn to the intersection of creativity, entertainment, and storytelling. Televised fashion shows offer a unique platform where these elements converge in a dynamic and visually captivating way. I’ve been inspired by the power of television to not only showcase the latest trends and designs but also to tell compelling stories about the designers, models, and industry insiders who bring fashion to life. The ability to reach a wide audience and capture their imagination through the medium of television is truly remarkable. I’m fascinated by the idea of creating immersive experiences that transport viewers into the glamorous world of fashion, allowing them to see behind the scenes, witness the creative process, and feel the excitement of the runway from the comfort of their own homes. Moreover, televised fashion shows have the potential to shape cultural conversations, challenge stereotypes, and redefine beauty standards. I’m passionate about using this platform to celebrate diversity, promote inclusivity, and inspire audiences to embrace their own unique sense of style. In essence, my inspiration to specialize in televised fashion shows stems from a desire to merge my love for fashion with my passion for storytelling and entertainment. I believe that television has the power to elevate fashion into an art form, and I’m excited to be a part of that creative journey.

What criteria do you consider when selecting fashion designers, models, or other industry professionals to feature in your shows? When selecting fashion designers, models and other professionals to feature on my shows, I consider branding and content compatibility. Does the talent have a good reputation? Aligning my brand with reputable talent is essential. Does the talent have a compelling story? Originality is important for creating unique content. I also like to feature unknown, fresh talents, and be the first to cover them. These are some of the things I look for.

How do you ensure diversity and inclusivity in your fashion television series? I ensure diversity in my fashion series by being authentic. I genuinely admire talent and beauty from all walks of life and all areas of the world. I find all fashion, from street style in Japan, to be-spoke brands in Nigeria, to swimwear in Brazil, worthy of coverage. I genuinely find models of all backgrounds and sizes worthy of being on television. I naturally gravitate towards diversity so I just rely on my eye which leads to diversity.

Have you ever encountered any controversy or backlash in your career as a fashion television producer, and if so, how did you handle it? Fortunately, none of my productions have ever garnered backlash or controversy. I can safely say, that from day one, I have been committed to fair practice, diversity and inclusion.

How do you balance entertainment and educational aspects in your fashion television series? Ultimately, the key to successfully balancing entertainment and education in television programming lies in creating content that is both engaging and informative, that resonates with audiences on a personal level while also broadening their horizons and deepening their understanding of the world around them. By striking this balance, we can create television programming that not only entertains but also enlightens, enriches, and empowers viewers in meaningful ways.

Can you provide some insights on the international fashion market and its impact on your television series? Fashion is becoming increasingly global so designers and aesthetics are becoming increasingly inspired by emerging fashion industries. By emerging fashion industries, I mean markets outside of the traditional fashion capitals of New York London, Paris and Milan. Industries like Lagos, Ghana and Kenya are inspiring designers and taste makers in major fashion hubs; so it is becoming increasingly important to spotlight fashion in these areas.

What advice would you give to aspiring fashion television producers who want to make an impact in the industry? Aspiring fashion television producers need to stay consistent and trust the process. Every person in the entertainment industry needs to pay their dues; very few people have overnight success so expect to have a few years of struggle in the beginning. However, if you continue to refine your craft, you will reap rewards for your work. And you need to stay consistent about who you are. I first started out as an unpaid intern and low wage jobs, but more doors opened to me as I stayed consistent in the field. I also learned what my strengths were and I leaned on those strengths as my career grew.

You seemed focused on being the world’s number one producer of fashion content. Given that it is a highly competitive industry as it were, how do you hope to achieve this? I have been in the industry now for 10 years. I have done work in New York and have been everywhere around the world. All these experiences have confirmed my innate talent for fashion content and I am confident I can be one of the world’s best.

What informed the choice to partner with Brendance and Crusader Ltd? Brendance and Crusaders produces cutting edge, unique content. The CEO Brendan Nsikak is an esteemed international choreographer and pageant coach who has worked in South Africa, United States, France and Germany. He is a trusted manager and his brand has a great reputation. I have personally seen how Brendan stays committed to his craft in spite of insurmountable challenges. He doesn’t make excuses; he gives results no matter what. He one of the best people to work with.

Also, the idea behind your preference for Nigeria… I have been interested in Nigeria’s entertainment industry for a long time. I was first informed about Nigeria’s fashion industry in 2013 when my Nigerian advertising client for a pharmaceutical company told me that Nigeria has a huge fashion and film industry. Upon further research, I was highly intrigued. Then I met Brendan Nsikak through a mutual contact in 2018 and he ultimately persuaded me to come to his pageant Mr. And Miss Nigeria. As someone who has traveled to over 70 countries, I was inspired by Nigeria’s commitment to fashion, culture and creativity. It’s truly a one of a kind market that the world needs to discover. I believe, that with my leadership, and the team at Brendance and Crusaders, we can transform Nigeria into a premium fashion content hub.

What is your opinion about Nollywood? Nollywood is an incredibly vibrant and dynamic film industry that has made a significant impact not only in Nigeria but also on the global stage. As one of the largest film industries in the world, Nollywood has carved out a unique space for itself, producing a diverse range of films that reflect the rich cultural heritage, societal issues, and creative talent of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. What I find most fascinating about Nollywood is its ability to tell compelling stories that resonate with audiences across diverse backgrounds and cultures. From gripping dramas and romantic comedies to thought provoking social commentaries and historical epics, Nollywood films offer a window into the complexities and nuances of Nigerian life, while also addressing universal themes and emotions that resonate with viewers worldwide. Moreover, Nollywood’s rapid growth and evolution over the years have been fueled by the ingenuity, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit of its filmmakers, actors, and crew members. Despite facing challenges such as limited budgets, infrastructure constraints, and piracy issues, Nollywood continues to thrive and innovate, pushing the boundaries of storytelling and filmmaking through creativity, resourcefulness, and sheer determination.

Also, what is your opinion about the Nigerian music industry? Nigerian music industry is another aspect of Nigeria that is waiting to explode. Afro-beats and various genres in Nigeria is catchy, groovy and makes you happy. I think it’s one of the best music industries in the world and I think the next decade will see a rise in Nigerian recording artists.

How did you get the name Bob Cal? I was named after my father and Cal is a common Filipino surname.

Read Previous

Filmmakers From 51 Countries Submit 174 Films For Rivers Film Festival

Read Next

Baba Tee: I Will Forgive A Cheating Partner Only If…