The videographer with royal connections

The videographer with royal connections

It’s not often you get to meet a real-life princess, but surprisingly Princess Aderemi Sijuwade resides in Mistley village. Here, she’s more commonly known as Remi Morrison, videographer and creative director and founder of Red Cactus Media. Her position as the daughter of a Nigerian prince and princess and niece of not one but two kings, have not afforded her any privileges, but her upbringing has had a profound effect on her approach to life, love and career.

Remi’s mum was a creative, entrepreneurial spirit, running her own bakery and salon in Nigeria, her dad, a business executive in the petroleum industry, was strict and had high expectations for all his children (Remi has nine siblings), but made no allowances for their individual personalities or talents.

‘When I was 12 I remember telling my dad I wanted to work in the music industry, and he just told me to get a real job,’ said Remi. ‘You look to your parents to inspire you, feed your dreams but I just felt like I wasn’t enough at times and couldn’t be myself. My childhood growing up in two different cultures shaped me; I learned to relate to people and I have a genuine fascination about who they are. When I was 16 my parents died within six months of each other, and it made me realise just how short life is. I was determined to follow my own creative path  – why spend hours every day doing something you don’t like?’

Remi, 37, was born in St Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in Hammersmith and lived, studied and worked in London before moving to Mistley in 2013. And Mistley has been the backdrop for an action-packed seven years. First she completed her film studies degree at Suffolk University (she’d put her studies on hold in London to work in PR and then to go travelling), then she gained communications experience in the press office at Suffolk County Council before marrying Mathew (40, an underwriter at Hiscox) and setting up Red Cactus Media; she then gave birth to Amelia (who’s now three) and, in 2019, won the Suffolk BME Business Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Think she’s driven? Well she is, but don’t for one minute think she’s the archetypal sharp-elbowed, attack machine you see portrayed in film; she’s the polar opposite. Remi is a softly-spoken woman, who smiles and laughs so readily, that you feel as though you’ve taken a bath in serotonin.

‘Practically everything I do is influenced by having my daughter. I faced my fear of childbirth and embraced my own fire. I want Amelia to live in a kinder, more positive world and this influences the kind of content I make. I want her to see opportunities not obstacles. Most of all, I want her to think it’s totally normal, not unusual for women to be at the forefront of industry, politics, the media,’ says Remi.

The real reason for meeting Remi is that she’s built quite a reputation as an outstanding videographer. She boasts an impressive list of clients like Penguin Random House, University of Suffolk, TIGA Gaming Awards, East of England Coop, and Afro-pop Live, but one statistic on the Red Cactus Media website stood out: 80% of all online content is video. As a businesswoman who admits to playing with video, this interests many. Remi believes that video is the perfect medium to help women leverage their business and build their brand.

‘Whether your business is small, medium or large, people buy from people; buyers want to know who’s selling, why they should place their trust in them. Video can encapsulate a message and project a personality at the same time and do it in an engaging way. Let’s face it, you’re never going to bore anyone into paying attention. And you don’t have to spend a fortune to use video either, but it does matter that the production looks professional, because that’s an expression of your brand too.’

Remi has other data that makes you feel that you should be getting that LED ring light out right now. In 2019, the average internet user spent 84 minutes watching online videos every day, with 2021 predictions of over 100 minutes. Of course, that was before Covid-19 hit; that figure’s toast! 72% of people now say they’d rather learn about a new company, service, or product through a video than a press release, and 53% will visit the website after seeing the video.

And Remi has bigger plans for Red Cactus. She wants to create dramas and documentaries that are female-led. ‘I’m looking to work with businesses especially in tech and health and wellness and I’m planning on making films that celebrate African culture; our world isn’t all Top Boy and Blue Story and I’d like to show positive representation. And I’d love  to start with a film about the kings and queens of Africa. It’s a fascinating story.’ And she should know.

For more details or to contact Remi, please visit the Red Cactus website.

Article written by Sharon Morrison: as previously seen in Eastern Daily Press and East Anglian Daily Times.

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