18 Apr 2016

Biography of Helen Paul Bamisile

Biography of Helen Paul Bamisile
Helen Paul Bamisile is a comedienne, singer and Nollywood actress.  she was born on
January 29, 1978. She is best known as a stand-up comedian and has as her screen name Tatafo with the voice of a humorous child who addresses and caricatures societal issues. She is an indigene of Edo State but  born and bred in Lagos.


She was Brought up in a less than-wealthy home by her grandmother. Helen spent most of her early years with her mother and grandmother, both in Lagos. As a kid, she used to entertain small groups of peers, neighbours and friends within the neighbourhood. As she grew, the entertainer in her also developed with time. In many of the interviews she later granted to several media houses, she would recall that her growing up was not easy, as it was filled with "ups and downs"

Helen Paul did not attend the best of schools or have the choicest opportunities. After her Primary Education at Omiyade Primary School, she traversed Jibowu High School, Maryland High School and Bejide Memorial College, all in Lagos, in pursuit of a secondary education.

Lack of funds prevented her from proceeding to a tertiary institution upon completion of her secondary education. In a bid to raise funds, Helen undertook some petty jobs for people just to raise some money.

Thereafter, Helen got a job as a receptionist at the rate of N10, 000 per month which was grossly insufficient for her needs. She later got a night job which she  added to supplement her meagre income, which soon rose to a grand sum of N40, 000.

Helen bagged a bachelor's degree in Theater Arts in 2010 and a master's degree in 2012, from the prestigious University of Lagos. She also has professional qualifications from reputable institutions, including a "Certificate in Media Enterprise" from the School of Media and Communications, Pan-African University, and a "Basic Presentation Certificate" from the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). She is currently undergoing her PhD degree in Theater Arts, also in the University of Lagos. Helen continues to demonstrate her unfailing love for formal learning/education with her academic sojourn, particularly her interest in value-adding courses, seminars, trainings, etc. both at home and abroad.

Her  baby voice we all know so well was discovered when Helen was all grown up. She realized that she could talk like and mimic kids, and constantly caused havoc at the radio station where she was employed. She had her breakthrough when a client needed a replacement for a baby’s voice in a radio program. Helen’s Manager recommended her, and the rest as they say is history.  Helen featured on several music projects with artistes and music groups including P-Square, Infinity, Olufunmi, Yinka Davies, etc. 
She also recorded radio jingles for a number of companies and brand names, including Bank PHB, Peak Milk, Indomie Noodles, and Cowbell Milk. Finally, the funds were available for her to continue her education. She enrolled in the University of Lagos Creative Arts program; but the story doesn’t end there; it only gets more interesting.

Her Personal life
She is happily married to Femi Bamisile, a Legal Practitioner and blessed with two lovely sons. In various interviews, she describes her husband and sons as "her best friends".
On how she met her husband:
Nollywood actress and comedienne Helen 'Tatafo' Paul Bamisile in an interview with the Sun revealed how she met her husband Femi Bamisile.
Helen Paul married her husband in 2010 and they have two boys. According to her she made the 'first move' on her husband back then because she thought he was a stingy person.
"I met him through my boss where I was formerly working. He was a friend to my boss. While he always saw me as too playful and jumpy, I saw him as too stingy. Those days when my boss’ colleagues came visiting, they always reached out to us when leaving. They gave us money which we used to buy doughnuts and soft drinks but my husband never gave us anything. He would just wave his hand and say ‘bye bye guys, take care of yourselves. So we always saw him as a selfish lawyer” Helen Tatafo told Sun.
One day Helen Paul decided to confront  him about his 'stingy' behaviour.
 “On that fateful day, I summoned courage and as he was leaving, I told him, ‘sir, you don’t buy us anything any time you come but we really like you. If you can be buying us doughnuts and soft drinks, we would be very grateful’. He started laughing, so I quickly added, ‘sir, it’s not only me o. My colleagues are also involved, so please don’t tell our boss. We were so happy I asked for his phone number which he gave me. And then I gave his number to my friends and we all started calling to thank him. He realised that we really desired the doughnuts and soft drinks so whenever he came by, he would give us money for doughnuts and soft drinks. He never failed to deliver whenever he showed up and we never stopped thanking him. And then one day, he took a good look at me and said ‘baby, I love you’ and the rest is history" said the actress and comedienne.

Media experience
She has worked as both a freelance and full-time presenter at several media houses. These include Lagos Television (LTV 8), Continental Broadcasting Service (CBS), MNet (as a co-presenter on Africa Magic Channel 114's "JARA"), amongst others. M-Net Africa Magic’s “JARA” is a programme that provides fans and viewers generally with inside scoops of Nollywood – the movies, the actors/actresses, directors, producers, interviews, countdown of different categories of the who-is-who in the industry and behind-the-scenes clips. Helen broke out as a naughty comic character on a critically acclaimed radio program known as “Wetin Dey” on Radio Continental, 102.3FM, Lagos. She is known on the programme as “Tatafo” - a witty kid who addresses and lampoons societal issues in a satirical manner. The show has, over time, garnered massive and ardent listenership/followership in Lagos and several other states of Nigeria. She also presents programmes on TV Continental.

Comedy
Helen's journey into the world of Entertainment started when she worked at Eko Reelmix Studios, Radio Lagos/Eko FM as a front desk manager whilst doubling as a back-up and voiceover artiste. During this period, she featured on several music projects with artistes and music groups including P-Square, Infinity, Olufunmi, Yinka Davies, etc. She also recorded radio jingles for a number of companies and brand names, including Bank PHB, Peak Milk, Indomie Noodles, and Cowbell Milk.
As a comedienne, her first professional performance happened whilst she was still a fresh undergraduate of the University of Lagos. She attended an event with a group of friends but the stand-up comedian billed to perform failed to show up. Practically nudged  onto the stage by her friends who believed that she could perform even better than the comedian billed to perform at the show. The organizers, who were at that time agitated, later heaved a sigh of relief when Helen mounted the stage and put up a superlative performance that elicited a thunderous applause from the crowd. Helen was sealed as a comedienne to watch out for, and the invitations to bigger and bigger events to perform and compere kept pouring in.

Music
In July 2012 Helen Paul released her debut album "Welcome Party".

Entrepreneurship
Helen opened a bridal and fabric boutique in Lagos in 2012, called "Massive Fabrics and Bridals". She has since proceeded to open three other outlets of the Boutique in different parts of Lagos. In 2014, she opened a film and theater academy, named "Helen Paul Theater and Film Academy". The Academy is equipped with the latest facilities in the world of technology. It consists of a dance studio, a makeup studio, a recording studio, a rehearsal studio, a photo studio, a mainly digital library, an editing studio, and a hostel for students who enrol for courses in the Academy and are interested in taking up such accommodation. The Academy is a multi-million naira project and Helen would later state, in the various interviews she granted, that the opening of the Academy is a dream come true, "having nurtured the ambition from childhood". She further explained that the initiative is geared towards contributing her own quota to the development of the entertainment sector, and education in general. Some of the courses that will be offered in the institution include Cinematography, Acting, Video Editing, Photography, Dance, Basic Presentation, Costuming and Sewing, Hair Styling, Sound Engineering, and Graphics Design.
Apart from these projects, Helen continues to work on several others that are in the pipeline. These include a talk show, movie projects, music projects, etc.

Endorsements
In 2014, she was appointed as an ambassador by Telecommunications giant, Globacom. Speaking about the endorsement, she admitted that she is extremely happy about it, as Globacom is a massive brand that everybody loves to be associated with. In 2015, she was appointed as Ambassador for the Harpic brand. She was also appointed as an ambassador for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which appointment was made before the March 28 General Elections in Nigeria. She also has other endorsements to her credit, including GoTV, a cable television station owned by Multichoice, and Olumide Emmanuel's "School of Money".

Radio
Helen currently anchors two radio programmes - "Tatafo Gist" on Naija FM, which airs every Friday from 9:00am to 10:00am, and "Comedy Drive Time With Tatafo" on Metro FM every Monday, from 4:30pm till 6:00pm. On both programs, she speaks about trending societal issues in a comic manner, with a segment where people phone in to share their comments on these issues. The programs have garnered massive listenership and continue to put smiles on many lips, as well as relax frayed nerves - according to testimonies from callers.

Awards and Recognition
Helen has bagged numerous awards, including:
2012 African Film Awards (Afro-Hollywood, UK) • Comedienne of the Year
2012 Exquisite Lady of the Year Award (Exquisite Magazine) • Female TV Presenter of the Year
2014 Exquisite Lady of the Year Award (Nominated) • TV Presenter of the Year (Jare, Africa Magic)
2014 Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards (NBMA) • Outstanding TV presenter (Female) (Entertainment/Talk Show)
2012 National Institute for Cultural Orientation • Merit Award in Recognition of Support for Children’s Initiative
2009 Exquisite Lady of the Year Award (Exquisite Magazine) • Female Comedian of the Year
2012 Effizie Style and Effects Awards (Effizzie Magazine) • Comedienne of the Year
2012 Sacramento Productions • Children’s Entertainer of the Year
2012 Doyen - Naija Growing Green Media Dinner Award • Recognition Award as Advocate/Ambassador of Peace and Unity for a Better and Greener Nigeria
2011 Rotaract Club Award • Outstanding Female Comedian of the Year
2011 City People Entertainment Magazine Award • Female Comedian of the Year
2009 City People Entertainment Magazine Award • New Female Comedian of the Year
2010 Life Changers Award (UK) • Best Comedian of the Year
1999 Nigerian International Songs Festival (NISOFES) Award • Best Gospel Singer of the Year

In addition, Helen Paul is in high demand at high profile events, several of which she has anchored and continues to host. As a compere par excellence, she has compered events either for or at which highly distinguished personalities were in attendance. Such include:
• Performed at the Nigerian Reunion in Orlando Florida, USA (2012 & 2011) • Anchored the “Close-Up Loves Naija Concert” (2012) • Anchored “An Evening with Coca-Cola Concert” (2012) • Performed at "Night of 1012 Laughs and Music" in Ghana (2012) • Performs regularly at “AY Live”, a comedy and music concert organized by popular comedian Ayo Makun • Performed at the Lebara Mobile-sponsored Nigerian Comedy Show in UK (2011) • Performed at Dame Virgy Etiaba Foundation’s Charity Ball tagged “A Heart for Life” held at the MUSON Center Lagos (2011) • Anchored the Lagos State Carnival held at Tafawa Balewa Square Lagos (2010) • Performed at Port Harcourt Carnival (2010) • Anchored the Nigerian Woman of Distinction Dinner/Award - an initiative of the First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan (2010) • Performed at the Akwa Ibom State Banquet in honour of the First Lady of Nigeria, H.E. Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan (2010) • Performed at Julius Agwu's Golden Jubilee Edition of "Crack Ya Ribs" in London (2010) • Performed at "Night of 1000 and 1010 Laughs and Music" in Ghana (2009, 2010) • Anchored Miss Delta Soap Pageant at the MUSON Center Lagos (2010) • Anchored City People Brand Awards and Entertainment Awards (2009 and 2010) • Anchored former Lagos State Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu's 50th Birthday Party (2009) • Anchored Senator Ike Nwachukwu's son's wedding in Lagos (2010) • Anchored Captain Roland Iyayi's Birthday Party in Lagos (2010) • Performed at Sleek's Make-up anniversaries and outlets opening ceremonies (2009) • Performed at Night of a Thousand Laughs in Lagos, Abuja, and Calabar (2009) • A regular act at the critically acclaimed ‘stand-up comedy’ initiative of Bunmi Davies - “Stand Up Nigeria”, which holds regularly in Lagos. • Performed at Night of 1000 Laughs (2013, 2014)

Filmography
2011 The Return of Jenifa "Tunrayo", a girl born of rich parents but lacking attention. Film Director Muhydeen Ayinde; Film Producer Funke Akindele. Starring Yinka Quadri, Banky W, Kaffy, Eldee, Freeze, Eniola Badmus, Wizkid, Antar Olaniyan, Mercy Aigbe, Ronke Oshodi Oke, Denrele Edun, CD John, Naeto C, Omawumi, DJ Zeez.
2012 A Wish- Lead role - a lady who battles cancer. Film Director Elvis Chucks. Starring Patience Ozokwo, Funke Akindele, Hafiz Oyetoro (Saka), Bishop Imeh Umoh
2011 Damage- Cameo Film Director Moses Inwang. Film Producer Uche Jombo. Starring Uche Jombo, Tonto Dikeh, Kalu Ikeagwu, Basorge Tariah Jr., Nicolette Ndigwe
2012 The Place: Chronicle of the Book- Film Director Desmond Elliot. Starring Uche Jombo, Desmond Elliot, Bishop Ime Umoh
2014 When Love Happens- Film Director Seyi Babatope. Starring Weruche Opia, Desmond Elliot, O.C. Ukeje, Beverly Naya, Oreka Godis, Gideon Okeke, Wale Oho, Keppy Epeyong Bassy and Shaffy Bello
2014 Alakada 2- Supporting role Film Director Toyin Aimakhu. Starring Toyin Aimakhu, Bolaji Amusan, Rachael Oniga
2014 Akii The Blind- Supporting role Film Director Ikechukwu Onyeka, Producer Christopher Ozoemena. Starring Osita Iheme, Chinedu Ikedieze, Amechi Muonagor, Charles inojie, Ebube Nwagbo
2014 Abiodun Kogberegbe Supporting role Starring Kola Odunlade, Fathia Balogun, Bimbo Thomas
2012 Osas (Omoge Benin)- Comic act Film Director Muyideen Ayinde. Starring Mercy Aigbe, Toyin Aimakhu, Lola Alao, Kelvin Books
2012 Igboya- Film Director Muyideen Ayinde. Starring Bimbo Oshin, Muyiwa Ademola, Damola Olatunji, Antar Laniyan, Rachael Oniga, Jide Kosoko
Mama Put- Lead role M-Net directed TV Drama. Film Director Seke Somolu
Pawns Supporting role M-Net directed TV Drama

Apart from the big screen, Helen is also a lover of stage plays and she has starred in the following:
• “The Lion and The Jewel”, a stage drama written by Wole Soyinka and directed by Tunji Sotimirin • “The Wives”, a stage drama written by Ahmed Yerima and directed by Wole Oguntokun • “Moremi Ajansoro”, a stage drama written by Lekan Balogun and directed by Benson William • “Ovonramwen Nogbaisi”, a stage drama written by Ola Rotimi/Ahmed Yerima and directed by Alex Osho

Writing

Helen has written several plays and short stories, most of which are in the process of being published. She writes mostly on societal issues and her style borders on comedy, tragedy and tragi-comedy. In 2015 she completed work on her play "LIFE BURIAL" also known as (live burial). The world premier took place at Helen Paul Theatre and Film Academy in September of the same year. The play later toured some schools, including: University of Lagos, Obafemi Awolowo University and Redeemers University.

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