Hometown: Calgary, AB
Olawumi Adeniyi was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Her parents and three older siblings immigrated to the USA before settling in Calgary. Olawumi is the only 1st generation Nigerian-Canadian in her immediate family. In June of 2013, Olawumi completed her Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources degree at Mount Royal University.
Olawumi has been involved with performing arts since the age of 4 when she began dancing in cultural shows with the Nigerian Canadian Association of Calgary Childrens’ Dance group. From there, she became involved in other dance styles such as Hip Hop and various Caribbean dance styles including Soca and Dancehall. In 2006, Olawumi became a member of Cstylz Dance Crew, a local group based in Calgary. With Cstylz, Olawumi travelled to Los Angeles to compete in the World Hip Hop Competition where they represented one of three Canadian dance groups and competed against groups from over 30 countries around the world. Later that year, Olawumi created a cultural dance group called Amara Ijo. Her group has performed at many local events in Calgary including Afrikadey, Nigerian Independence & Gala Night, Black History Month Celebrations at the University of Calgary, as well as City TV’s Breakfast Television Show.
In 2011, after competing in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, an independent film maker from Calgary approached Olawumi after seeing her pageant clip on YouTube and offered her the lead role in the film Treacherous Heart. In the film, Olawumi plays the role of Ngozi, a 26-year old Nigerian Canadian who struggles with relationship issues, family secrets, and religious beliefs. The film premiered in Calgary in June 2012 and the gripping storyline captured the attention of local media outlets and Calgarians, and the film continues to capture the attention of viewers. In September 2012, the film was nominated for Best Film, Best Film in Diaspora, and Best Drama at the Nollywood African Film Critics Awards in North Carolina in where it won Best Film in Diaspora. Olawumi was also nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Having been bitten by the acting bug, Olawumi looks forward to pursuing other acting roles as they arise.
In addition to dancing, performing, and her new found love of acting, Olawumi also enjoys listening to music, cooking, reading, traveling, shopping, and playing sports. She was a member of various sports teams in Junior High & High school, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, track & field, wrestling and rugby.
Lorraine Cooper – The Alter House, Diamond Syndicate, Locks of Hair, Tri Executive Group, Friends & Family
Languages spoken fluently (please include your native language if English is not your native language).
English, Yoruba, some Spanish
What are your interests and what do you enjoy doing the most?
I enjoy fashion, shopping, listening to music, dancing/choreography, travelling, watching sports, playing sports (especially soccer, basketball and track & field), cooking, eating and reading. The things I enjoy the most are travelling, shopping and eating. I especially like to do all three of these at the same time.
I love spending time with my family as often as possible. Now that all of the siblings are all grown up, and some of the siblings have kids, we have to be crafty in coordinating our schedules to make time for each other. I enjoy family gatherings because it gives us a chance to catch up on each other’s lives and maintain our strong family bond.
I also love to dance and come up with choreography. Doing this makes me feel free and helps me release any built-up stress. I love to dance because I’m able to express myself in a creative way. Given the fact that I have a horrible singing voice, I think of dance as singing and creating melodies with my body.
I also have a crazy obsession with shoes. I estimate that I have close to 200 pairs, if not more.
List any special training you have had (music, art, drama, dance, etc.)
Dancing, some acting/drama
In what sports, if any, have you participated?
In high school I played basketball, soccer, volleyball, track & field, rugby and wrestling. I also play women’s soccer on and off.
Name one person, other than your parents, who has had the most influence on your life. Why?
My sister’s best friend Jody probably has the most influence on my life. There’s no blood relation, but I think of her as a big sister. She is one of the first people I look to for advice.. No matter what time of the day, she is always there for me. She has accomplished a lot of the same things I want to accomplish in life, so I really look to her as a role model.
She always reminds me that she has been in my shoes and has been where I’ve been and that she completely understands some of the hiccups I’ve experienced. Aside from my parents and siblings, she is the person I want to be proud of me. Of all the people in my life, her opinion matters to me the most and I always seek her stamp of approval in almost everything I do. She builds me up and reminds me that I am capable of accomplishing my goals when I’m doubtful.
While she offers many words of encouragement, she also doesn’t hesitate to tell me when I’ve done something wrong or made a questionable decision, and I really appreciate her honesty. I know that everything she says comes from a good place and that she says it with good intentions, and that’s why I love her.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment (other than participating in this pageant)?
My proudest personal accomplishment to date is playing the lead role in an independent movie. Accepting the role meant that I would be challenging myself to do something I had never done before. I did not have any professional acting experience, but the director of the film found my YouTube video from Miss Universe Canada 2011, and that two-minute clip was enough for her to believe in my capability to play the principal role in her film. If it weren’t for my participation in Miss Universe Canada 2011, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to participate in the movie. I was completely terrified of the task, but I was not going to let such an amazing opportunity pass by. I’m so glad that I took on the challenge because I uncovered a new talent and accomplished an amazing goal.
What is the most interesting or unique thing that has ever happened to you and/or what is the most interesting thing about you?
The most interesting thing that’s happened to me so far was when I met actor Tony Todd. He was one of the main characters in the horror movie CandyMan. I was 4 years old when my cousins locked me in a dark basement and made me watch the movie. I was so terrified that I peed all over myself, and I had nightmares about Candyman and his bloody, bee-covered claw trying to get me for years after. About two or three years ago, I worked at a local night club. One Saturday night I showed up for work and Tony Todd was standing at the front entrance, and I froze dead in my tracks. My first instinct was to turn and run away screaming. Then I remembered that I wasn’t 4 years old and that Candyman wasn’t real. But the look of horror on my face had Tony Todd and all of my co-workers beside themselves with laughter. After I was certain that Tony Todd didn’t have the bloody, bee-covered claw that had attacked me in my childhood nightmares, we took some pictures and I told him how he’d unknowingly terrorized me as a child.
What is your career ambition and what are you doing or plan to do to accomplish that goal?
I recently completed a Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources Degree at Mount Royal University. In the next two to three years, I would like to get a job as a Human Resources Generalist. In a Generalist position, I will be able to get a feel of a variety of aspects of Human Resources and gain valuable industry experience. Once I gain enough job experience, I would like to pursue my Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation and work toward starting my own strategic & transitional HR management consulting company.
I’m also open to the idea of pursuing an acting career. My role in the Treacherous Heart film helped me discover a hidden acting talent. I would love to take on more acting roles given the opportunity.
What would be your “dream job” in life?
I actually have two dream jobs. My first option is to be a travelling news reporter (like Anderson Cooper was with CNN). It would be an amazing experience to be live at the scene of major world events in real time and to be able to give feedback and reports on the action to the rest of the world from my point of view.
My second dream job is to have a travelling cooking show like Anthony Bourdain. I think this type of job fits perfectly with my obsession with food as well as my love of travelling. I can only imagine waking up every day knowing that I’m in a brand new city and I’m being paid to go to some of the best restaurants in town and eat fabulous dishes.
Are you currently a student?
No – Recent Graduate of Mount Royal University (Bachelor of Business Administration – Human Resources Major)
Are you currently employed?
If yes, what is your occupation?
Flight Attendant – WestJet
Describe where you were raised and what your childhood was like.
I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta to Nigerian-Canadian parents. Growing up in such a deep-rooted cultural family, my childhood was full of unique experiences. Surrounded by lots of family and friends, I always had someone to turn to if I needed assistance. I am so thankful to have been blessed with such an amazing support system, without the love and support of my family it’s hard to imagine what type of person I would be today or what direction my life would have taken.
List any interesting or unusual jobs you may have had.
My first job was at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede as a Sanitary Engineer (that’s the nice way of saying I picked up garbage for 10 days). I was 12 years old and I worked on a team of seven. We all had to wear bright yellow uniforms and we picked up garbage and animal feces from the grounds. It was probably the worst job I have ever had, but in the moment I was so happy to be able to have bragging rights and to be able to say to my friends: “sorry guys, I have to get to work now”.
List any volunteering you have done.
- Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association
- Boys & Girls Club of Calgary
- Nigerian Canadian Association of Calgary
- SOS Children’s Village
What is your most unusual talent?
I’m not sure if this really a talent, but I can eat an entire medium or large pizza by myself. I also learned through my acting role in the Treacherous Heart film that I can make myself cry on demand.
Where is the most interesting place you have been to?
When I was 7, my mom, sister, and I were travelling to Nigeria and had a 2-day layover in Amsterdam. We had travelled before, but this was the first trip I could remember vividly. Everything was so different from Calgary, and I was so fascinated by every little thing. I actually felt like I was in a movie. I’ve always said I would like to go back and visit Amsterdam as an adult so I can get the full experience and actually go out and do things. I would really like to visit the Anne Frank exhibit in the house she lived in.
What do you hope to be doing in ten years?
In ten years, I hope to either be close to my career goal of having my own HR consulting company, or to have a career in film and acting, and I hope to have my own family with at least 2 kids.