Tonto Dikeh is that woman your husband doesn’t want to see you associate with, or your mother-in-law, or even your mother.
She’s the opposite of what Nigerians consider a “good woman”.
But love her or hate her, Tonto is a force and will always be in our faces. And she seems to be living her life on her own terms, unshackled by societal expectations.
There’s a lot to learn from this actress whose rise, scandals, divorce, friendships, embarrassments, outbursts and more has played out in public.
Here are a few lessons that can be learnt from Tonto Dikeh’s life
1. Do what you believe is best for you, the world will adjust.
Tonto Dikeh doesn’t wait for society to tell her what to do or to decide for her what is acceptable. She decides she wants to do something – good or bad- and she does it, not minding what anyone thinks.
When she decided to change her son’s surname to hers, she did, despite the outrage. In a conservative nation like Nigeria, a move like that – changing a child’s surname from the father’s to the mother’s – is highly revolutionary. Who does that? Well Tonto did.
2. Never be afraid to stand alone.
Tonto is a one-woman squad. She’s never afraid to take a stand even if it means standing alone. Even when everyone is calling her crazy for doing what no “sane” woman will do, even when she’s going against everything that is considered acceptable by society, she doesn’t care.
3. Be fearless.
Tonto never cowers, not even when everyone is against her. She’ll face you all and take you all on. And she’ll come out OK. Then the following day she’ll post a playful video, make fun of herself and move on.
She doesn’t care what the world thinks or says of her. Tonto once said she’s lost all her shame. As a result, the fear of what people will say never holds her back. She is rarely burdened by the weight of people’s opinions.
4. Make the most of whatever situation you find yourself in.
How many times has Tonto found herself in situations we think she can’t recover from, but she proves us all wrong and comes out bolder.
When her marriage crashed and she and her husband aired their dirty laundry in public, she didn’t go into hiding. If anything, she seemed to leverage on the clout she was getting at the time and it was at that same time that she began her foundation.
Some weeks ago, a video went viral of Tonto Dikeh crying after getting into a physical altercation with security personnel in Dubai. She was allegedly prevented from getting into an event and this led to a fight between her and a security guard. The video was everywhere and it was highly embarrassing. But, like Tonto said, she is without shame, and she quickly recovered. Others in her shoes would go into hiding, lay low for a while, but not Tonto.
Also, there are reports she’s unable to leave Dubai following orders from the authorities in Dubai. While there, Tonto isn’t folding her arms, feeling sorry for herself. From photos and videos she’s been sharing, the actress has been meeting with individuals and organizations to further the cause of her foundation while she’s stuck in Dubai.
5. When you fall, don’t stay down. Get back up once you have the strength.
Tonto exemplifies this. She is not one to stay feeling sorry for herself. After one scandal, she’s back up and on the move. She seems to be her own motivation.
6. Grow a thick skin.
To survive in this world, you need to grow a thick skin. Do not let people’s opinions or actions get to you.
7. Own your identity.
Do not let the world give you a name that is not yours. Choose who you are and what you want to answer to.
In October, a fan referred to Tonto as a “Slay Queen”. It was meant as a compliment but Tonto has decided on the identity she wants and wouldn’t let anyone call her out of her chosen name, not even as a compliment.
She responded to the follower: “Don’t reduce me to dummies… I am a KING.”
Tonto Dikeh is far from perfect. Some call her crazy, some say she’s a bad influence. Conversely, some say she’s only pretending to be tough and her bark is worse than her bite. Whatever your opinion of Tonto is, you can’t deny that there are aspects of her life that could serve as a lesson, if only you can overlook the other parts.