Call her controversial, call her spoilt, one thing you can be sure of is that Tonto Dikeh will make sure you never forget about her.
Yet another year has passed and the ever-controversial actress, singer and many other things, Tonto Dikeh continues to stay in the news.
It might be time for every entertainment publication to create a separate segment for Tonto, because like it or not, not hearing or reading about her is becoming nearly impossible.
On January, Tonto entered the news with reports that she is undergoing body enhancement surgery, specifically a breast enlargement procedure.
This marks Tonto’s 2018 debut in the news, But if your memory serves, young Poko, or whatever she goes by these days, has managed to an important part of the gossip and rumour mill for the better part of the last decade.
Nigerian celebrities make their coin off how relevant they manage to be.
For Poko, in a space where the people who give you a nickname today can forget your actual name tomorrow, Tonto has secured the manual for staying in the conversation.
Now let’s infer what she has in that manual.
Variety is the spice of Life
A big part of Tonto’s news relevance is the fact that she has dipped her hands in everything.
In 2006, she made her movie debut as a bright-eyed, baby-faced love interest in “Tea or Coffee”. Her entry into Nollywood coincided with the death of the home video market and the berth of Nollywood as a major pan-African product.
Never afraid to take on heavily sexualised roles or play the bad girl, Tonto quickly became a sex symbol. But even that was only the beginning.
After acting in several movies, she decided to try her hands at music, with the 2011 release of “Hi” and “Its Ova”. Whether those “occurrences” can actually be termed songs in the strictest sense of the word is open to conversation. But they achieved something important.
For weeks, Tonto was the main topic on social media. Her songs mostly inspired negative comments (the songwriting and her vocals were demoralising, to put it mildly) but she also scored memes, jokes, parodies, articles and more.
Tonto’s music career was short-lived (even thoufh she signed on to D'banj's DB Records for a brief spell), but since then, we’ve heard of her doing different things; she’s dabbled in fashion, philanthropy, female rights activism, and now with the launch of her show on Linda Ikeji TV, reality television is a part of that list.
As the people who know, controversy sells
Of course, as Koffi will tell you; dabbling in every single field cannot assure you of prominence.
Controversy has followed Tonto through all her major endeavours in a way that a fair share of Nigerians, with what appears to be our insatiable appetite for bad news, are always interested to see what she’s up to at any given time.
One of her first major scandals came in 2011 when she acted in several raunchy roles in the movie “Dirty Secret”. Nollywood was at the time, considerably conservative and her performance in the movie split the movie industry and fans in half.
But Tonto did not care.
She stayed in the limelight and waited it out until another controversy came. This time, in 2012, it was on the subject of tattoos. the actress put out a promo photo unveiling a massive back tattoo that she claimed took “10 Hours… and a lot of money to do”.
Naturally, the hoopla followed. But the young actress unlooked, spoke when she needed to and rode the wave.
Perhaps her biggest date with controversy was her acrimonious split from her estranged husband, Olakunle Churchill.
Despite being bashed in a well-edited and distributed interview, Tonto drew out many narratives from the end of her marriage.
As a victim of domestic abuse, she raised her voice to bring attention to the issue; she questioned his wealth and brought attention to his alleged infidelity, especially entering a long drawn out battle with actress Roseline Meurer.
In a way, it makes her come across as a spoiled, pretty brat but if anybody cares, it’s certainly not Tonto.
If you can't beat them, walk with pride and unlook
Other persons in her shoes with such a long and eventful rap sheet would so easily be overwhelmed, but Tonto has built a thick skin and an unusual confidence that helps her make headlines of every situation she finds herself in.
There’s no greater example of this than her split from Olakunle Churchill, or better still, her latest incursion into our banner posts, her cosmetic surgery.
Even though Dr. 90210 has been showing on DSTV since 2010, Nigerians treat body enhancement surgery as taboo.
It took a certain amount of raw guts to announce her surgery and talk about it. But like the Tontolet that she is, Miss Dikeh went a step further to invite Nigerians and anyone who cares to follow the entire process via her reality show.
If that’s not confident, I don’t know what is.
While Tonto’s resourcefulness deserves another expose on its own, her constant presence in the news has come with its own consequences.
She is often seeing as the spoilt, attention-hungry brat, but if anyone cares, we wouldn’t expect Tonto to be that person.
You may have different opinions of the actress as you are entitled to, but one thing that is certain is, as long as she has a say in it, Tonto will never let you forget about her.
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