You could’ve mistaken her for a top celebrity actress if you were meeting her for the first time. This is because Mrs. Jessica T. Kuraun is a gorgeously beautiful woman who never fails to add a touch of glamour to her look whenever she steps out. Curvy and attractive looking for a mother of two, Jessica, apart from being a blogger and founder of Africa’s biggest dating site, Imetmysoulmate.com, is actually also an actress, though she hasn’t been quite as active as she would’ve loved in the movie business owing to her already heavy schedules as a business woman, blogger, marriage counsellor, philanthropist and most importantly, as wife and mother to four adorable children (two of the four kids are adopted) In this interview with City People’s WALE LAWAL, the extremely humble and compassionate woman who also has an intense passion to support less privileged children in the society opens up on her desire to match make single people and the joy it gives her to see people she’s match-made happy together. She also shares with us her aspirations and the challenges that come with running Africa’s first and biggest dating site.
What inspired your starting up a dating website in Nigeria, instead of a blog like most others?
I give God the glory for the idea. The idea just came to me that there was a vacuum that needed to be filled in Africa’s cyberspace. I noticed that a majority of us depended too much on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Badoo and other social media to communicate our feelings, and all these media though are no doubt excellent, a medium for meeting genuine and unpretentious friends and potential spouses was still lacking in Nigeria and the entire world, so I came up with this dating site for genuine and sincere people who are not just up there for fun, but are interested in meeting great people who are prepared to settle down or long-term relationships. I also think that besides other things, I have had a lifetime interest in matchmaking. I have encouraged very great people to get married and all these marriages I helped in consummating have been extremely successful. So I thought I should take it to a whole new level and expand the mission to the rest of the world. The greatest soul winning in Christianity is marriage. God respects marriage, love and healthy relationships more than any other thing. Also, as a woman who is successfully married, I am an example to others who may be struggling out there to have successful relationships. So the dating website I have come up with is a place to be for Nigerians and other citizens of the world who are struggling with having genuine relationships.
As a graduate of Theatre Arts, why didn’t you go into acting or anything related to your training?
I am an award-winning dancer and I have been successful in choreography, but I am basically an artiste and even an artist and matchmaking is a great art. To match-make, you have to appeal to people’s sense of beauty and form, before they can even achieve that harmony that results to marriage. I am also into farming, business and political activism, but my primary passion is matchmaking. It gives me great joy to make great marriages, because the success of any society depends primarily on successful marriages and good homes. The violence and social ills you see in Nigeria and across the world are as a result of failed homes and families. If you choose the wrong husband or wife, you will end up with a broken home and in extension a broken society or a broken world. More than half of the social disorders in Nigeria for example, can be traced to bad marriages. So the greatest art form is to make good people who believe in each other, to help give us the healthy society we need to make Nigeria and the world, a better place. So the business of matchmaking and healthy relationships is the most important thing in any society. You can’t get resourceful and productive people to drive your economy when half of your population is a product of broken homes or relationships. Corruption which is a major reason why Nigeria is backward is also as a result of bad homes.
So how do you combine blogging and matchmaking, with your other businesses?
It is a big challenge, but I have reached a stage where some of my commitments are on autopilot, so I just enlist assistance from a couple of staff to help with some areas. I also have a very supportive husband, so it helps a lot in dealing with some of these commitments. Imetmysoulmate.com is a site to visit.
But considering that many Nigerians are already used to other dating sites, how would you get the desired traffic to your site, to really make a mark?
Our strategy is to attract many people who are tired of fake people on the other dating sites. It is not every subscriber that is looking for sex or flings. So many people out there, young and old, just want decent and sincere hook ups, and those are the people we are interested in. So our strength is that we are different from others. What you can’t find on other sites, you can find on our dating website. So this is a revolution I have started and I am extremely proud of. It’s also Africa’s alternative to western-style websites. Our aim is create a consciousness of African courtship system built on our values. So this is the dating website that Africa should subscribe to.
These days, there have been cases where fraudulent people who have gone on the internet to dupe people and in some cases take advantage of their desperate search for partners by callously using and dumping them. How do you screen people who come to you looking for partners to be sure they’re real and genuine?
Unlike other dating websites, we have introduced 2nd step verification where members are requested to upload their valid means of identification and other necessary details for security purposes. We also constantly remind members not to fall victim and also report anyone who tries to extort money from them by any means.
We also call members as they register to confirm they are who they claim to be.
Members however have the responsibility to report anyone who is suspected of fraudulent activities or who has defaulted and the person will be permanently deleted from the community. We are also increasing our strictness to members uploading their profile pictures.
It is surprising that membership to your dating site is free when you should be actually making a lot of money from it, what exactly is the reason for this?
The one and only reason to it is that I love match making people. I have real passion for it and it gives me joy to connect two compatible people who are single and willing to get into a serious relationship. It’s something I was doing even before setting up the site. And I am proud to say that I have matched-made many people and some are married now. So, I set up the dating site mainly as a means to help people. To do what I love the most. The joy I get from match making is worth more than money to me. But unfortunately, we need money to succeed in everything so I will have to put a little price on the site in the future, just to make enough money to continue paying my workers, the programmers and other staff helping me to make the dating site a huge success.
You have a fantastic husband and a beautiful family, what would you say has been the key behind your successful marriage?
I will say the key to my successful marriage is friendship. The friendship between me and my husband is amazing. Marriages work better for couples that have a strong bond of friendship. We communicate a lot on everything. He’s my best friend and I am his best friend. We’ve been married for 10 years and the friendship is still waxing strong, we do not do anything without consulting each other. We support each other a lot too. I will say basically that we are inseparable, we are one. We do not bring third parties into our marriage. And I try my best to remain beautiful for him, love him and my kids the best way I can. But above all, God is the reason for my successful marriage. Without Him we can try anything in the world, go to marriage counseling and love each other deeply but it will not work. All couples need to take their marriage to God, let Him be the center of everything that goes on in their homes.
Our marriage is not completely perfect but we both work on making it better. We are aware that none of us is perfect and we need to work on our marriage daily to have the type of home we want.
Describe your husband in a few words
Kind hearted. He is my better half. He is a good, caring and generous man. He’s God fearing. A loving husband and a very good father. He’s my Prince charming and my best friend. He completes me.