I do not ‘carry last’ says Mimi Andani Michaels

By: Gifty Owusu-Amoah and Blessing Opoku
Mimi Andani
Mimi Andani Michaels, co-founder of NMJ
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LANDING a good paying job after graduating from school is the desire of every student and that was what happened to Mimi Andani Michaels, when she was employed as a biochemist in one of the oil companies in the country.

However, her resolve to explore every aspect of life to her advantage was a good reason for her to resign from her flourishing profession and audition for Big Brother Africa reality show.

Obviously, it was a bold but risky decision which went well in her favour when she was eventually selected as the first female to represent Ghana at the reality show in 2008.

It’s been 10 years since the now entrepreneur and co-founder of NMJ advertising company diverted from her life ambition as a scientist into entertainment and Mimi recalls the memorable event in a conversation with Showbiz when we caught up with her at her office in Adenta recently.

Reminiscing the moment she said, “There were a lot of opposition to my decision at the time because my parents and family thought I had no business with entertainment as a trained biochemist.

“Besides, there was no relationship between a biochemist and an entertainer but I beat the odds and made things favourable for me.

“My mantra in life is not to ‘carry last’ so I love to explore every available means I’m capable of to my advantage. There are many opportunities in life to explore so I don’t know why I should be limited to just one.

"That is why I went into showbiz, an area that was totally different from my sciences background,” Mimi said.

Mimi’s new found love with showbiz blossomed when she officially released her debut single Leave Me Alone which gave her more recognition within the fraternity.

As a young lady “swimming” in loads of cash then, the old student of Aburi Girls' Senior High School invested and launched her clothing line, Divalish Fashions.

It was another success alongside her music business until she decided to have a ‘career switch’ when she bought and co-managed the plush Hung Over Bar night club in East Legon.

“That was a bad investment at the time because the night club business wasn’t flourishing and I lost out big time,” she narrated the sad ordeal. The experience gave her a good reason to sit back and plan a better future.

After three years, Mimi bounced back as organiser of Golden Movie Awards in 2015.

“After some time, the real me started coming up, the ambitious person, the person who wants to become a big entrepreneur across the world started coming up and I pulled back from showbiz.

In her words, “I think Ghanaians are so reserved because Nigerians and other countries host awards ceremonies and invite us as nominees.

“I was like ‘if others can do it, why not Ghana?’ Do we always have to attend events organised by others? That was how the Golden Movie Awards started because my vison is beyond Ghana.

“We organised the fourth edition this year and I’m proud that Ghana is host of such a prestigious event that brings the crème de la crème of the African movie industry together.

"It hasn’t been easy but by God’s grace, we have made meaningful impact,” she stated.

Mimi Andani represented Ghana at Big Brother Africa in 2008

In 2017, Mimi co- founded a non-profit organisation, The Michaels Family Initiative to provide a healthy environment for schools and also support the education of the less privileged.

Again, Mimi has served as a mentor for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme (TEEFP) in Nigeria for three years and has been mentoring young entrepreneurs as a coach with BCME Bank in Morocco.

She also runs ImentorU, a business hub created to help small businesses reach full potential.

Mimi’s entrepreneurial accomplishments were recognised earlier this year when the City People Magazine recognised her as the Best Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year at its 10th Awards ceremony in Nigeria.

She was also honoured with the Most Outstanding Entrepreneurial mentor award at the 40Underforty Awards at the Kempinski Hotel last month.

Mimi is married to Nana Michaels and says he is “a partner in more ways than one”.

“I love my husband for his brains and I know he settled for me because I’m sharp too. His presence in my life has brought many good tidings that I’m very grateful for,” she said.

Even though the trained biochemist adores her marriage, she confessed that work pressure is having a toll on her love life.

Mimi: My mantra in life is not to ‘carry last’ 

“I thank God for an understanding husband he blessed me with. Sometimes, we work so hard that we even forget we are a couple who need to perform our marital duties,” she said and burst out with laughter.

Mimi who is in her 30s is the first of three daughters and a son to her parents who are both bankers. She speaks Dabgani, Dagaare, Twi, Fante, Hausa as well as some foreign languages—Italian, Portuguese and Spanish in addition to English.

The graduate of Cape Coast University who has been married for three years said she looks forward to welcoming her first baby.

“I’m not so bothered because all my life, I’ve realised that my expectations delay but when they finally come, they are in double folds.

”For now, what matters is that I’m happy and making meaningful impact with the gift God blessed me with,” she stated.