Lola Ogunnaike

Nigerian American journalist Lola Ogunnaike is no stranger to hard work, having grown through the ranks at The New York Times as a features reporter for their Arts & Leisure and Style sections, before making the leap to CNN to serve as Entertainment Correspondent on American Morning. She’s covered such fabulous events as the Presidential inauguration, Academy Awards, Grammys and Sundance Film Festival; as well as profiled luminaries like First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith.

Despite all that hard work, Lola does not forget to give back: she was recently honored for her philanthropic efforts at Café Mocha and WBLS' annual Salute Her event. We chatted with her about that, her current job as host of Arise Entertainment 360, and the other wonderful endeavors that make her the consummate COCOBelle.

Tell us about a typical day in the life of Lola Ogunnaike. What is your favorite part of what you do?
My day begins at 7am. I wake up, say a quick prayer and immediately begin to watch all of the morning television shows. By 9am, I’m in the gym. The endorphins put me in a happy place and carry me through the day. If I’m not riding a bike in spin class at Flywheel Sports, I’m being “punished” by my trainer. He’s brutal, but worth it. No pain no gain.

Is this the career that you envisioned for yourself when you were growing up?
Not at all. I’d always read a lot as a child and I enjoyed writing and public speaking, but I had no idea that I’d end up a journalist. My parents were strict Nigerians, so naturally they wanted me to pursue a career in a “safe” field: finance, law, medicine, etc. When I told them that I wanted to be a writer, they weren’t too pleased. They eventually came around and now they love the fact that I’m a journalist. Landing a reporting job at the New York Times has a way of changing minds. Ha!

Out of all the high profile interviews you've conducted--including one with First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011--which one has been your favorite?
Interviewing Michelle Obama in South Africa is definitely one of the highlights of my career. A first generation Nigerian-American, interviewing the first black First Lady, on the continent that my parents emigrated from more than three decades ago….It doesn’t get more full circle than that. Mrs. Obama was also extremely gracious, brilliant and, yes, her arms are just as incredible up close.

What role does social media play in a journalist's job in 2014, and how do you incorporate it for your audience at Arise Entertainment 360?
My sister, Nikki Ogunnaike, is a fashion editor at and she’s been my social media spirit guide. Over the years, she’s introduced me to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I now use each of those platforms daily. Twitter is my morning go-to for all breaking news. I also enjoy live-tweeting shows like Scandal and Game of Thrones. Instagram helps me connect with my Arise Entertainment 360 viewers. I’m also a bit of a voyeur (aren’t all journalists?) and Instagram is like visual crack.

What advice would you give to other young women who are thinking of pursuing a career in journalism?
Play hard. Work harder. Read everything and stay focused.

You were recently honored at Café Mocha and WBLS' annual Salute Her event. How did it feel to be recognized for your philanthropic efforts, and as someone who is making a difference?
It was an incredible honor and I can’t thank Café Mocha and WBLS for the recognition. The event was fabulous and all of the women in the room were such an inspiration.

What is your favorite way to relax and recharge when you have a moment to yourself?
I like to sleep, read and binge watch shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black on Netflix. I talk for a living. On the weekends I try to be as quiet as possible.

Let's talk style and beauty. What 3 products are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal--those beauty items you just can't live without?
I need foundation for a flawless visage on television. Nars and Covergirl Queen Collection are in my current rotation. On the weekends, I prefer to wear very little makeup. I need to give my skin time to breathe. If I do need to be out and about, Iman BB Crème does the trick. Every woman should have MAC Ruby Woo in her makeup bag. It looks great on all skin types. Eyeliner is also a must. And Coconut Oil is my go-to makeup remover. It works wonders.

What is your off-duty style like? What do you prefer to wear when you're not working?
Black skinny jeans, cute flats and a silk Equipment blouse. I also love a good jumpsuit. Step in, zip up and I’m ready to party.

Do you have a Sunday night or weekend beauty ritual? If so, what is it?

Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

Watch Lola on Arise Entertainment 360, or follow her on Twitter and Instagram. For more info on when and where Arise Entertainment 360 is airing in your area, head to the Facebook page, or the Arise website.