The first time I saw Toni Tones on TV, it was on MTV Base where celebrities were gathered and asked about relationship issues. She was asked about lending her man money – can you do that? And she said that she may but first her man should ask his father, his brother, his best friend, his barber before asking her. If they wouldn’t give her partner the loan, he might now come to her but wait, if all these can’t lend her partner money, why should she? I smiled watching this and the name Toni Tones remained impressed on my consciousness. I Googled her and found out that she is a photographer, an actor, and a singer. Now, I know she is much more than this.
Age and early life
Tones was born Gbemisola Anthonia Adefuye in July 1985. She was born in Lagos to a well-to-do Catholic family among four other kids – she is the last born and, according to her, her mother’s pet. She grew up in Lagos where she attended Our Lady of Apostles Primary School and the prestigious Queens College. After high school, she went to the United Kingdom for university. By this time, she had already done a number of modeling gigs aged 14.
When Tones returned to Nigeria, she became a photographer. It was hard to penetrate the entertainment industry but Tones was determined. She would snap a lot of photographs and take them to magazines and ask if she could work for them freelance. She got her break when she covered D’Banj’s reality show “Koko Master”. Toni Tones studied Economics and Marketing at the University of Lancaster. She is 34 years old.
Toni Tones – Career
As a photographer which is what she is most known for, Toni Tones had covered Koko Master, Banky W, Joke Silva, Omawumi, and a host of others. But photography wasn’t her first love; maybe not even the second. As a teenager, she already did some modeling jobs and her built and shape mean the door of modeling would always be open in her life. But she started with photography which was what she learned and became passionate during her last year in school in the UK. But photography wasn’t going to be her final bus stop. In 2015, Toni Tones became an actor.
To prepare her for a career in Nollywood, Tones attended an acting school in Los Angeles. Her first known credit is as Halima on the web series “Gidi-culture”. She followed up with films such as “What Lies Untold”, “U-turn” and Bovi’s comedic drama “It’s Her Turn” which also starred Shaffy Bello. She played the sexy and ruthless Becky in Africa Magic “Forbidden” with Kunle Remi.
Her most prominent role so far is as the younger Sola Sobowale’s character Eniola Salami in the hit movie “King of Boys”. To act this, she had to gain 40 pounds weight, lose her voice and speak in a perpetual strained voice because “knew it would make people see less of ‘Toni Tones’ because they are used to me being slim and I needed them to as little of Toni Tones in this character as possible.” The new weight came with larger arms, larger boobs and bigger and rounder butt. This came with a wave of male attention which she enjoyed a lot and which became annoying with time and “It also took a toll on me psychologically.”
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More recently, Tones played a major role in Funke Akindele‘s comedy-drama “Your Excellency“. It was a role many including our review of the movie thought the movie could have done without but I disagreed, it was a useful distraction and entertaining role, playing Alexx Ekubo’s social media crazed wife who had to slow down and let Ini Dima-Okojie shine.
Toni Tones is also a musician. She has a song to her name. As to the rather cold reception to this, she told ThisDay: “I was aware that I was already known as a photographer so I knew I wouldn’t have the added advantage of being the new girl on the block. I knew it would be a case of people wondering why a photographer had decided to suddenly become a musician or an actress. I knew the skepticism was one I would have to face.”
Toni Tones: Relationship
In the usual frustrating secrecy of celebrities in Nigeria, we cannot say for sure who Toni Tones is dating. Heck, we cannot even say if she is in a relationship or not. We do know, however, that she once broke a relationship on the first date. The man had asked for trouble when he belittled her career by saying he needed his baby with him whenever he went on business trips which were frequently. He was asking for a walking handbag and there was no way Tones would be that to anyone.
Tones is not excited to have you poking at her relationship status. “Women don’t always have to follow the status quo,” she said. “Women don’t have to have kids or get married. Women don’t have to wait till marriage to have sex. Women should always have autonomy over their own bodies. Women don’t have to do what you want them to do.” There is no mistaking the scolding tone in her voice; a warning tone, actually.
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“Sometimes,” she added, “women just want to be in a relationship with someone they can have fun with, explore the world with, cook with, eat with, learn with, grow with, sleep with. Till they don’t want to anymore.” This may not necessarily be Tones but if there is any woman who embodies these traits, it would be her. If tomorrow, we hear of her engagement, we would not be surprised. That is the point of it all. The unsuprisation of womanhood. It is not even correct grammar – it wouldn’t matter to Toni.
Update: Tones is in a relationship she is crazy about. She posted in July 2020, on Twitter: “My boyfriend has gone above and beyond for me in every way since we got together. His birthday is next month and honestly, I’m so excited to spoil him. He deserves it all. I can’t wait to show you guys the place I booked for his birthday. It’s MAGICAL.”
She said she was going to take him abroad for his birthday but because of the coronavirus pandemic would have to settle for the United Kingdom, a pity.
Image source: Instagram