“Ladybrille’s 15 Questions with . . .” is a feature that salutes some of the most important names in the fashion and entertainment industries around the globe, with a particular emphasis on Africa. We hope you are as inspired as we are with the brilliant men and women in these industries that make the world go round. Our feature today shines the spotlight on Vickie Remoe a self described “socialist, fashionista, concerned global citizen, Know-It-All, Africanist and self proclaimed “Biggest Swit Mot Na Salone” who relocated to Sierra Leone in 2007.
While there, she became an executive producer and host for her self titled show The Vickie Remoe show. The show was the first of its kind and had a huge impact on many Sierra Leoneans. Remoe was also the country’s director for Canoe Magazine, an African Lifestyle Magazine published in Ghana, and was a co-host on one of the country’s morning radio shows on weekends. Remoe recently returned to the USA, after almost four years and has a lot to share. Enjoy.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Describe your current career. What exactly do you do?
Vickie Remoe: What exactly do I do? Well I first and most importantly I would say that I am a story teller. I’ve hosted and produced a national TV Talkshow. I also run the Swit Salone news blog. I am a broadcast and multimedia journalist.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: You packed your bags and moved to Sierra Leone only to return to the USA recently. Why did you leave the USA and why return now?
Vickie Remoe: I left the US so I could experience living and working in Sierra Leone as an adult. I had not lived at home since I was 10years old. And now I’ve returned back to the US to strengthen my skills at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What has been the most difficult challenge you have faced in getting to where you are?
Vickie Remoe: Running my own media business in a country with little or no support for entrepreneurs meant that I had to do everything on my own. What made things worse at times was getting those in authority to take my work seriously. As a young woman working in Africa, you have to walk the delicate line between warding off advances from men and pushing your own business. Some men in positions of power don’t take too well to rejection. I had to watch potential sponsors slip away because I refused to go on a date or be their girlfriend.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (That is sad to hear) . . . How do you define success?
Vickie Remoe: Success for me is being able to achieve the goals I set for myself, while keeping a healthy work, life balance. So in 5 years I should be running my own media company, loving my work, and sharing my life with an African man who adores me. Success is having it all and then some.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What do you love most about the new phase you are currently embarking in your life?
Vickie Remoe: While its been difficult adapting to being back in a class room after four long years, I must admit that I love being back in academia. It may sound a bit nerdy but I love to learn. And in this case we learn something in the morning and by afternoon we are in the middle of New York City trying to apply those new skills. I also feel that getting a graduate degree from Columbia is going to open doors and networks i didn’t have before…so I’m loving the adventure.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Share with us your memory of the happiest moment in your life
Vickie Remoe: My life is full of happy memories so its really hard to choose. I’m one of those people who tries to find joy in everything I do so even on my worst days, I’ll laugh at myself. A good deep laugh makes me happy.
But I remember a couple years ago hiking from Number 2 beach on the Freetown Peninsula up into the hills. It was one of those days were I had the beach all to myself and the light breeze blew all my cares away as I jumped from one rock to another. It was hard to balance on the slippery rocks and I had wanted to turn back after a while. But at the end of it all I felt triumphant, really happy that I had made it to the end.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (How beautiful) What keeps you awake at night?
Vickie Remoe: My never ending to do list of documentary films, and story ideas keep me up at night. I just cant wait to get back Africa. I stay awake thinking of Mali, Burkina, Nigeria…and the list goes on. All the places I’ll go, the people I’ll meet and the stories waiting to be told.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What drives you?
Vickie Remoe: That’s easy. Sierra Leone! I carry the weight of every negative statistic about Sierra Leone with me and it pushes me to work hard and persevere. I know that every opportunity that I have is a blessing that many can only dream off. So I work, I toil, and I push forward.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What excites you the most about life?
Vickie Remoe: You make your plans, you think you have it all figured out. One year later you are in a place you never imagined doing things you never dreamed. Life is totally unpredictable and that excites me, although it scares me as well.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What are the daily principles you live by?
Vickie Remoe: I believe that we should all try to live as honorably as possible and for me this translates to doing the right thing especially when no one is watching. This is a life lesson that I learned at my undergrad at Haverford College that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: When all is said and done, what is the legacy you want to leave in the world?
Vickie Remoe: When all is said and done I don’t care much to live a legacy for the whole world but i do hope that in Sierra Leone and in the rest of Africa I will be remembered for telling stories that reclaimed our shared humanity.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What Sierra Leone artist are you currently playing in your Ipod/blast on your radio?
Vickie Remoe: I must confess that my Ipod is currently all Ghana and Naija. But the last Sierra Leonean artist i listened to and really enjoyed is a london based rapper. His name is Alim Kamara.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: Who is your favorite Sierra Leone designer?
Vickie Remoe: Such a hard question. But my favorite Sierra Leonean designer is Royal Dynamite…its a Tee Shirt company run out of California by two Sierra Leonean brothers I really admire. They are really doing great things.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: What Sierra Leone dish would you recommend our audience try?
Vickie Remoe: I know some of my peeps will laugh but my favorite Sierra Leonean dish is ‘grounsoup’.
Ingredients: Chopped up cucumbers, wired plum, green mangoes with maggi, lime, salt, cayenne pepper, and smoked fish…E swit oh!
And the beauty of it all is that you eat it raw.
LADYBRILLEmag.com: (Sounds yum!) What’s your favorite vacation spot in Sierra Leone you think we should check out?
Vickie Remoe: There are so many ways to go but I’ve recently fallen in love with Eden Park Resort. Its a Franco-Sierra Leonean eco resort that sits on the edge of Mama Beach off the Freetown Peninsular. I’ve still yet to visit an African country that had more pristine beaches than Sweet Sierra Leone.
Vickie Remoe Speaks at the Wharton Africa Business Forum 2011
Vickie Remoe’s Talk Show
Vickie Remoe’s personal account about her time in Sierra Leone and why she returned to the USA