Just about a decade ago Ghanaians were introduced to the sweet and bubbly singer Mimi Andani-Michaels, who was professionally known simply as Mimi.
Mimi first burst onto the scene as a reality tv star, appearing on the 2008 edition of Big Brother Africa, representing Ghana.
But she became a real household name later that year when she released her first single titled ‘Leave Me Alone’, which undoubtedly was one of the biggest hits of the year and cemented Mimi as a bona fide star.
The single travelled far and wide and made Mimi one of the most must watch stars in Ghana music. That an artist would make such waves with their debut often speaks well of their future in the industry.
And yet whilst that future was available to her, for a very admirable reason Mimi decided that simply being a singer was not enough for her.
She thus took a different turn in her life and traded being a celebrity always in the limelight for someone making more impact in the world but not always in the public eye.
Thus, it can be attested to that over the past several years Mimi has not been the household name she once was, and some people would even be wondering where she has been.
Mimi won multiple awards as a singer but later decided to put that life behind her and venture into entrepreneurship, and like everything else in her life she became a success at it.
This is the story of Mimi, the ‘queen of reinvention’; who over the years has metamorphosed from a reality tv star to a mega hit singer to a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and admirable role model.
From an early age Mimi was a driven and passionate achiever, determined to excel in all she did. Mimi had her secondary education at Aburi Girls where she read science and then continued to the University of Cape Coast where she completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences.
With her bio chemical background, she had no trouble landing a job at an Oil refinery, a comfortable job which she could have decided to stay in and excel for the rest of her life. But Mimi has never been one to ‘settle’ for just okay when she could shoot for the stars and make much more of an impact.
She is possessed of a fire within, a quest to conquer the world and make a difference in the lives of others doing so; and thus she did not believe her current trajectory was going to give her what she most desired.
Therefore, it wasn’t long before she quit her comfortable job at the refinery to jump headfirst into the entertainment world, her first attempt at reinventing herself. Mimi fought hard and finally won the honour to represent Ghana at the 2008 edition of Big Brother Africa.
A trendsetter, Mimi at the time was the first female and also the first non-celebrity to represent the country at the annual continental fiesta.
It was after that experience that she took her first steps into the music world, releasing the smash hit single ‘Leave Me Alone’.
‘Leave Me Alone’ broke all sorts of records and brought Mimi fame and recognition like she’d never hitherto received. She released her maiden album, ‘Music in Me’ thereafter and received several nominations at the Ghana Music Awards and the 4Syte Music Video Awards. In 2010, she was named the best female artist at the Joy Fm Night with the Stars award show.
Once again, Mimi was at a point in her life where she had conquered a field and could conceivably make a comfortable life for herself with that career, but that quest for excellence, that burning fire within her kept egging her on and she felt the need to leave music behind for another venture which would bring her more satisfaction.
“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 started pulling back from entertainment,” she revealed in a tell it all interview.
“I wanted a certain height that music cannot give me. I can’t dispute the fact that I have a soft spot for music but it can’t take me where I want to be,”
Speaking to GhanaCelebrities.Com, Mimi said despite having a genuine passion for music and being good at it, the showbiz world could not give her the space she needed to operate as a serious entrepreneur, as anyone in that world was tagged with a certain brush.
Thus there was only one way to go, and that was to leave music and reinvent herself once again. Mimi decided to venture into entrepreneurship, to ensure she was working towards achieving her dream of changing the world.
Mimi helped co-found NMJ Ghana, a branding organization which has since grown into a big time firm on the continent, working only with multinationals and blue chip brands.
In 2015 she was appointed country director for the Golden Movie Awards Africa – one of the best movie awards scheme on the continent – and after bringing her exceptional talents to bear, the scheme became a massive success.
Her exceptional work led to her promotion to Director of the entire awards scheme, and since then the Golden Movie Awards has grown from strength to strength and has thrived under her leadership.
As an entrepreneur Mimi has also run a successful clothing line dubbed ‘Divalish Fashions’, and at a point was co-owner of a plush East Legon night club ‘HungOver Bar’.
A multi talented executive gifted with the Midas touch, Mimi has been a raging success at everything she tried till date. Despite her myriad commitments she has also served as co-founder for the non-profit ‘The Michaels Family Initiative’, which seeks to help vulnerable women and children in the areas of health and education.
The organization has refurbished some schools and funded the less privileged to have access to the national health insurance scheme across the country.
Aside these, she has occupied and continues to occupy several other important roles, including serving as a mentor for the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship programme (TEEFP) for three years, successfully helping to mentor many other successful African entrepreneurs.
She is currently on The African Entrepreneurship Award scheme by BCME Bank in Morocco as a mentor and
a business coach helping to nurture small businesses and young entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and also runs ImentorU, a business hub created to to help Small Businesses grow to their fullest potential.
Mimi’s unparalleled accomplishments were recognized earlier this year when the City People Magazine recognized her as the Best Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year at its 10th Awards Scheme.
Her latest venture involves investing into fish farming, which she has already seriously started with 5 acres of farmland.
Mimi is married to Nana Michaels, her partner in more ways than one. If you thought she was impressive, wait until you hear she’s also a polyglot, having studied and thus being able to speak Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
In terms of Ghanaian languages, she speaks Dabgani, Dagaare, Twi, Fante, Hausa and of course, English.
Throughout the years Mimi has continued reinventing herself, and despite success after success always looks for new fields to conquer and make her own.
Accomplished women of Mimi’s ilk are worthy of emulation, and for all she has done and continues to do she deserves to be celebrated and to be held up as a role model of what others – male or female -should aspire to be.
This piece is for GhanaCelebrities.Com’s Celebrating Excellence column.