You may know her as the sassy host of the Crossover 101 show on NTV, but Grace Ekirapa is more than that. She is a professional counsellor, a mentor and a music minister. She shares her story with KAREN MURIUKI
What have you been up to since you last spoke to us in 2016?
Wow, feels like a while back — I had just joined the NTV family. It’s been great. One thing that has been constant is the growth. I came from a different media station with different structures.
I had been there for four years and a culture that had been inculcated in my system. Coming here (NTV) was a whole new thing.
I’m a very shy person, so interacting with people here was very challenging (Laughs). At KBC, I had never been to the newsroom because planning of the show was done online. That’s much different here at NTV, but people made it easy for me; they were very kind and welcoming.
Has anything changed in your life over the years?
Definitely! Career-wise, I would say I am now bolder in my conversations. I thank God for my boss and producers, who sat me down and told me the areas I needed to work on. Being a counsellor, I had to learn how not to just listen to the interviewee, as I have been used to. I love what I do.
What else do you do apart from hosting the show?
I have a counselling background so I see clients. I have a great passion for counselling and psychology. I graduated last year from the Amani Counselling Centre as a psychologist. I’m hoping to do my Masters and eventually open my practice.
I also host a ministry called The Prayer Woman. It’s almost like a mentorship programme to guide women spiritually. We have seen God’s grace because we are more than 60 now. We host Bible studies online weekly. Young women are hungry for God, and they have to be in the right channels to do the right thing. I teach and train them to learn the Bible for themselves, as well as to create a relationship with God for themselves.
I do a lot of corporate emceeing as well.
Did you ever imagine you would be where you are now?
Growing up, I was always the different child. I have had a spiritual ring over my head all my life — hence my name Grace, meaning unmerited favour.
I have seen things happening in my life that I had nothing to do with, and I attribute it all to God. I knew there was something about my life, but I didn’t know it would take the direction it is at.
I am glad it did, and I can only hope for more in future. I know God has a great plan and purpose for my life as He has with everyone else.
What’s one thing that people don’t know about you?
I’m not sure whether people will believe me, but I’m a loner. It’s a struggle which my sisters can tell you about. (Laughs). One time, they called a meeting to ask if I still wanted to be their sister. I could go silent for a week and be by myself. It’s a strange thing, but I love it for some reason.
I have super Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I have issues with dirt and cleaning; I like my things perfectly put. I would even clean the restaurant table after eating; something that my friends make fun of. (Laughs).
How is your day-to-day schedule?
My days are different, actually.
I religiously take Mondays for myself, unless there’s something urgent that needs to be done. Tuesdays are my flexible days. I go to the office from Wednesday, which is when I like to schedule my meetings because I am in the Central Business District. I am normally in the office by 5:30 a.m.
I like waking up early because I get a lot done. Friday is my self-development day if I am not working or out of town. I love watching documentaries and biographies; as well as reading on counselling. Saturdays are when I get ready for the show.
Who did you look up to when you started on TV?
I look up to many personalities in the media industry but I love Julie Gichuru’s demeanour. Her life is something you can admire. I like borrowing from what I can admire, then make my own.
I believe in uniqueness. I struggled with comparison when I was younger.
For a long time, I didn’t have my identity because I struggled to be somebody else. Yet, God created all of us in a different way. I prefer complementing others in what they do best. That is a far better journey than comparing and competing.
What’s involved in preparing for a show?
Every Sunday, our team gets to talk and analyse the show after it ends. We then have suggestions and contributions on how we can improve; as well as come up with topics which we feel are relevant for the season. I now get to research and build on the next show from that. It really is a team effort. I set agendas on what I need to achieve at the end of the show and work around that. We only get to see the work that has been put during the week when it is executed on the show.
Did your on-screen chemistry with DJ Mo happen immediately or did it take a while?
I actually got to know Mo when I joined KBC. We have been friends since, so it was more like a reunion when we started Crossover. I’ll be honest with you, for chemistry to happen there has to be friendship.
Our friendship has been cultivated and I now know him better than I did before; what would make him upset, or vice versa. It’s the same scenario with the whole team.
What do you do to unwind?
Cleaning, of course. (Laughs). This might also be weird, but I have four pet fish; Bubble, Cuddle, Swiddle and Shuffle. I find the sound of the pump in the aquarium very refreshing. Water is very therapeutic for me. I also love to do drives; something that I don’t do as often because I don’t find the time.
What motivates you?
God. I have had moments when life happened and I wouldn’t want to wake up at all, but I think about what God has done for me through the years and I move.
I would say my interviews with Mary Mary, Israel Houghton, Mahalia Buchanan and Sinach. Interacting with other great and consistent Kenyan gospel artistes has also been an honour for me.
Any on-screen embarrassing moments?
Only the occasional shrubbing and being made fun of by Mo. (Laughs). The good thing with Live TV is that you can correct yourself and move on.
I’d love to set up my own counselling practice and be up and running: see clients, help people and develop corporate curriculums.
I would also want to set up my music ministry which God has given me. I believe that He has given me a different favour which I will ride on.
Maybe get married and have children—but at the right time.
I would also love to have grown to something greater on TV according to God’s plan and when He allows me. I also want to be back on radio; something that I loved doing for a year while in KBC.
Last book you read?
‘The Wait’ by DeVon Franklin and Meagan Good.
Last time you cried?
Last thing you liked on social media?
T.D. Jake’s sermon on Instagram.
Fur, which is why I don’t keep cats or dogs.