Adelle Onyango recently added another accolade to her impressive collection after she was named as a Johnnie Walker brand ambassador.
The Kiss FM presenter was unveiled alongside Maina Kageni before a trip to Monaco to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix. The duo was joined by other Diageo Global Influencers from all around the world in what Adelle describes as a “mindblowing” experience.
She spoke to ONEXTRA about the gig and growing a brand.
Through the Johnny Walker endorsement you entered the ranks of Diageo Global Influencers, what exactly does that entail and how has it changed the way you represent your brand?
It’s amazing to be among other Diageo global influencers. They came from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Poland and every corner of the globe really. Interacting with them was an incredible experience.
However, it really has not changed who I am. I think I’ve always been into discovery, which is evident on Adelle TV. Consequently, this seamless partnership allows my love for discovery to happen on a global platform now.
You have managed to build a strong and positive brand that is now getting corporate attention, what is the secret?
There is no secret – I am just me. Before I got into radio I ran my own poetry gig. At the time I didn’t even realise just how much it was preparing me for what I am doing right now. I was actually building a brand by marketing the open mic event on social media, the only tool I could afford at the time.
A lot of hard work and research goes into it but, ultimately, authenticity is the key. When I do campaigns on radio I simply think of how I interact with the product and sell it from that angle because that is more believable. There’s a certain passion that leaks out effortlessly when you promote a product that you truly believe in.
Do not grow a brand with a particular corporate in mind, just be real, and work with brands that match with who you are. Always ensure that the partnership is in line with your long-term goals before getting into an endorsement deal; the brand association has to benefit all partners.
How was Monaco?
It was mind blowing! I got to learn about the drink and F1 in a way that I never had. Seeing just how many people work behind the scene to ensure that one person has a successful race made me appreciate the sport even more.
Visiting each pit stop was amazing – right in the middle of the action! Everyone needs to experience this. And I had my first ever helicopter ride. In just two days I made such amazing friends, I just wish I could go back.
Many celebrities flaunt their relationships for popularity, why have you kept your private life such a secret and what would you say are the benefits?
Relationships are unique, so there’s no formula to it, and everyone has a reason for what they do. I would not want someone to treat their relationship the way I do mine. My engagement was a secret for about one and half years and it worked for us. However, there is no problem with celebrating your love publicly, if it is what you really want.
You have so much energy, what inspires you?
I am only assured of this moment, right now, so I live it to the fullest.
Which is the biggest lesson that your journey to success has taught you?
That I am worthy just the way I am. There are many great women, like Caroline Mutoko and Kalekye Mumo, who have sat where I am. Yet I am just a woman who wears shorts to work. It was unsettling at first, but I learnt to run with it. My mantra has always been, just be true to you and you will make it, and I have seen it work for me.
How would you describe yourself and what do you wish people knew about you?
Well, I think people know everything they need to know about me. In case they don’t, just know that I’m alive, deliberately, and living, not existing.
What would you say is your greatest achievement and why?
I have not achieved half of what I want to. In the end, I just want to build a strong legacy and make a global impact with all I do. My family is full of strong women who have left a great heritage for me, and I want to walk in their footsteps.
I obviously can’t substitute my journey for theirs, but I feel the need to leave a strong legacy of my own. Life is very fleeting so you have to push yourself to achieve as much as you can while you are alive. There is such a big world out there and I think I have a good story that the world needs to listen to.
How long have you worked with Shaffie Weru and how do you get along, being such different people?
People think we only met when we started doing the show together, but I have known him for years. There is always conflict because our reactions to things are polar opposites, but we get along very well; he’s like a big brother. When I first started working at Kiss, I called him when I was once stopped by cops. I was so frantic but he came through for me, as he always does. In life, I’m yet to meet anyone who is exactly like me so that’s not the basis of whether I get along with someone. Different is fun!
What was your most embarrassing moment on radio?
There are so many. In particular, I once spoke for a whole minute thinking my mic was on but it was off. Turns out there was nothing but dead air for the listeners.
What’s your advice to young people who dream of getting into radio?
There’s a lot that makes young people getting into any field feel like they are inadequate, but it’s a lie. You are worthy, you’re enough and its okay to be you; there’s no need to be someone else. Be as creative as you can be no matter how unconventional it is.