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Yvette Obura: It took years for Bahati and I to be cordial co-parents

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Yvette Obura is a social media influencer.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi

Yvette Obura first captured public attention in 2017 when news broke of her relationship with former gospel singer Kevin Kioko, popularly known as Bahati. Since then, the mother of one has become an internet sensation who attracts both praise and criticism online.

In this interview, Yvette discusses her journey of building her career as an influencer despite her introverted nature, discusses the highs and lows of celebrity hood, and the strategies she employs to handle the pressure.

1. What did you study in school?
I have a Bachelor's degree in business and IT from KCA University. I have never practised it though. It was a course my parents wanted and I also liked it. To date my parents still wonder why they took me to the university. However I am glad I took the course because the knowledge I acquired helps me in my business. I am able to handle so many issues with ease, including book-keeping and accounting.

2. What projects are you currently working on, and do you get a good income from influencing?
I am in the process of bringing back my fashion line, 'Yvette Fashion Hub'. I'm slowly reviving it after taking a two-year break to focus on influencing. My sister, who loves fashion and already has her fashion line, inspired me to start my own. Now, I'm returning to it with full dedication.

As for influencing, it pays very well. However, I struggle because I am camera-shy and prefer to keep my personal life private. Despite getting many gigs in the industry, I often feel that this career isn't for me, but the financial rewards motivate me to continue. There are certain gigs I decline because they don't align with my beliefs.

The great thing about influencing is that once you do a good job for one client, other opportunities follow, so there's not much struggle to find work. Currently, I am working with about five brands, with Showmax being the biggest one.

3. How did you and Bahati meet, and how has your life in the public been since then?
We met through a mutual friend in 2011. By the time I came into the limelight in 2017, I had known him for six years. Life in the public has been a mix of positive and negative experiences. I have had to overcome tough challenges just like other public figures such as Eliud Kipchoge, who recently trended online for discussing his social media tribulations.

The harshest criticism I've faced online is related to my past relationship with Bahati. Bullies targeted me through my daughter. I've been called a deadbeat and irresponsible mum because my daughter spends time with her dad. This negativity stems from being in the limelight. Many parents co-parent, and children live with their dads without any issue. People who know me personally see me as a devoted mother, but online, I'm judged unfairly.

On the positive side, social media has opened up numerous job opportunities which have helped me financially. When I bought my car, there were rumours that someone else paid for it, but the truth is, I worked hard and saved for it. Despite the challenges, social media has positively impacted my life, and for that, I am grateful.

4. Your co-parenting arrangement with Bahati seems very peaceful. What advice would you give to other co-parents?
The peace didn't happen in one day. It took years for us to be where we are right now. I am a cool person and what has worked for me is that I don't cross boundaries and I avoid exchanging words with anyone. That is key. I know that for the 18 years we are raising the child, we need to be cordial with each other.

One of our biggest challenges is that we fight for Mueni's presence, but let me give Diana Marua and Bahati their flowers. Diana takes care of my child in the best way. My daughter has never told me anything negative about Diana. I think where Diana is in life, she has accepted all the children. Bahati has also been consistent in providing, and we have never lacked. My only fear is that I am overprotective because I live in a crowded area so I keep reminding my nanny to take care of my daughter because so many people know her and I don't know their intentions.

5. Are you dating?
I am currently single and content with where I am in life. My past relationship was quite challenging, and it ended in 2023, affecting not only myself but also my child. It's been about a year since the breakup, and now I'm focused on my family and business endeavours. While I am not a celebrity, being in the public eye means that anyone associated with me also becomes subject to public scrutiny. In my previous relationship, I felt embarrassed when I was held accountable for my partner's past. I regret making that relationship public.