For those on top of their finances, “The Smart Money Woman” will not be a big deal, but as mundane as the tips shared might be, the series will empower many women. The series is based on a 2016 book of the same title written by the executive producer, Arese Ugwu. Among other things, it succeeds at showing young Nigerian women that they can still enjoy life and have healthy relationships without cowering to the pressure to keep up with the Joneses.
“The Smart Money Woman” follows Zuri (Osas Ighodaro) and her four friends living in Lagos. Zuri is the Americanah that colleagues love to hate. They believe that her bosses favour her for having schooled abroad and speaking with an American accent. She is pretty too, but she lives above her means.
The series begins with Zuri’s return from holiday. Social media welcomes her with the shocking news that her rich boy is engaged. Then there is Adesuwa (Kemi Lala-Akindoju), a high-flying lawyer with a freeloader husband, but she pretends to her friends that her marriage is perfect. There is also Lara (Toni Tones), a “Smart Money Woman.” She is on top of her finances. Sadly, she is the breadwinner of her family and the willing horse that they want to ride to death. Ladun (Ebenezer Eno) is the woman all her friends aspire to be. She is a housewife with a wealthy and doting husband. She live in Ikoyi – highbrow Lagos, and she can access her mother-in-law’s yacht to go from Ikoyi to Apapa whenever she wants to avoid Lagos traffic jams. Still, all is not what it seems. The last of Zuri’s friends is Tami. She is a rich kid and a fashion designer who has a thriving business. However, she does not have proper systems in her business to track her finances. So, she constantly runs to daddy for money.
The story is authentic as these characters created by Ugwu all exist in one form or the other in Nigeria. “The Smart Money Woman” is for Nigerian mothers as much as it is for young women because it also explores the pressure Nigerian women face to get hitched at all costs. More so, the show will encourage mothers to train their daughters to be money managers, not just homemakers. Ugwu also pays homage to her heritage with artwork of an Edo woman adorned in here Okuku at Zuri’s flat, the names of most cast members and some scenes set in Benin City. Unlike “Isoken,” it will warm the hearts of Edo and Itsekiri people, both minority Nigerian tribes, to have been appropriately represented in the series. Although the establishing shot of Benin City does not show ‘a big rich town with bright lights and city life’ as the lyrics of the “Power” series soundtrack goes, Ugwu sends a message that people who live in small cities can be happy too.
The executive producer also proves that she is a “Smart Money Woman” by working product placements into virtually every episode of the series. Circa, First Bank, Polo Avenue, a fitness centre and a cosmetic brand all feature. Sometimes, it is subtle. At other times it is over-the-top like most of the costumes in the show. The acting is good but not exceptional. However, the series ends on a high note making the audience feel multiple emotions from joy to pain and admiration, all in the final episode of season one. In episode seven, there are some breath-taking ariel shots. You will shed a tear or two with Adesuwa and Lara. Though Tsola was right to scold Zuri, you will concur when she says, ‘I’m not angry. My feelings and pride are hurt,’ because most Nigerians cannot tell the difference, and you will feel the passion when Tsola embraces Zuri.