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Isio Knows Better: Los Angeles And The Masseuse



Isio Wanogho - Fayrouz Valentine Mixologist - BellaNaija - February - 2014 001I sincerely lay no claims to being more knowledgeable than anyone, but I do confess that I know better than I did yesterday, last year and a decade ago. Isio Knows better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. The conversations between my mind (the sharp witty one), my soul (the lover and the spiritual one) and my body (the playful one concerned with the more mundane things of life). She is the eternal referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul. This is Isio.

So, here’s to making private conversations public.

So, I decided to travel again.

This time I chose Los Angeles. I had had an intense couple of weeks, chaotic, stressful weeks designing three new offices. Between my carpenters, installers and clients changing their design every 6 hours, I was just happy it was over. All I wanted was an escape. So, it wasn’t with little expectation I packed my suitcase and headed for the airport.

As usual, our Lagos airport was noisy and stuffy. Part of it smelled like an Izal-cleaned public space. There were so many “checkpoints”. The Caucasian woman beside me shrieked with exasperation at the fourth “checkpoint” we passed through, “How many are they?!” she wailed in that nasal accent. She seemed like she couldn’t breathe. I smiled politely at her sweaty face. I continued to mind my business. We passed through the scanner. The female security offer patted me down. Like really patted me down, like she was convinced my thigh gap housed something more. I felt so unclean *shudders*. The immigration man asked me if I was a student.

No. What an incredulous statement. The look on my face said it all.

Immigration man: What do you do and where do you work?

I scowled and grumbled something about being an Interior Architect.

He let me through.

Isio Wanogho - March 2014 - BellaNaija (1)

The flight was not so bad. Buckling my seat belt, I refused to let myself think of the past weeks. Carpenters can be so exhausting. They could put any one’s people-management skills to the test. Instead, I let myself think of the experience of LA. I wondered if I would see many surgically enhanced duck face women – and men… I wondered if I would be polite enough not to stare.

And then I got to LA.
Isio Wanogho - March 2014 - BellaNaija (3)


My first question was, how is it that the sky is so blue in this part of the world? How is the cloud so white and the sun shines so bright? Yet in my own darling Nigeria, it just doesn’t look like this.

Shuo, no be the same sun, cloud and sky we get? See the photo na, even with a camera phone. I told myself maybe it’s the air. There must be a grayish-brownish haze floating around my beloved homeland, colouring our visuals.

Isio Wanogho - March 2014 - BellaNaija (2)Honestly, my first moments in LA were of acute exhaustion. I think I had been travelling for about 30 hours (had to transit through London and waited for many hours at the airport). I wanted nothing more than to soak my aching muscles in hot water and pass out. Time difference between Lagos and LA was -9 hours.

When I got to my room, I was knackered. But before I hit the bed I placed a call and booked a Swedish massage. Groggy and half asleep, I dreamed of the massage. Swedish massages were one of my favorites…long, deep, sweeping strokes. I wondered what my masseuse would look like.

Eyes like Michael Ealy…
Long flowy hair like Brad Pitt…
Or maybe serious and strong like Idris Elba…

I smiled. And slept beautifully..

The Massage
It was absolutely the worst massage of my life- until it was not.

Turns out my Michael Ealy-Brad Pitt-Idris Elba masseuse fantasy was just that, a FANTASY. My fantasy quickly evaporated like flimsy wisps of smoke from a dying fire in the presence of a squinty-eyed, middle aged Asian woman with high cheekbones. Her black hair was short and seemed to sprout from her scalp like elephant grass. She was Anna. She smiled a welcome at me. I blinked.

What is this?
I wondered if it was too late to ask for my money back. My dears, that was how I was ushered into a treatment room o and Anna began work. Hmmmmn. Anna was just massaging the back like it was a soft boiled egg. Like if she applied any pressure, I would start to leak egg yolk. Choi. I don vex eh. It took 30 years of breeding and the almighty grace of God for me to not leap out of that bed like Jackie Chan, fling the towel off my back and shout, “Aunty, I say PRESS this back! Press this bone sef, massage the bone well-well make e bend like crayfish. I want to be shouting sef. Which one be this wey you dey do? Aunty Anna we go quarrel o!”

I gritted my teeth. She asked me if it was okay. I said, “uhunnn”. My mind was berating me severely. SO, THIS IS WHAT YOU PAID $200 FOR ABI, YOU MUST COLLECT CHANGE, WALAHI! IF I HEAR! You will not tell her you don’t like it o, be deceiving yourself with that your soft voice. This is unacceptable Isio. You might as well just sit down in front of a standing fan as this massage is nothing.” She hissed a long stinging hiss.

“Em, Anna? Could you please apply more pressure?” I managed to ask Anna sweetly.

She did. And it became somewhat glorious after that. My mind called me a chicken. I called her mean. My soul remained uninvolved.

I must say that Anna tried with her massage. If only she knew that I liked hard massages, I am sure she would have done better. As for me I did not walk out of there like a bent crayfish, so I rate her 5/10. Okay 5.5.

And then it was time to pay.

Like the massage was not overpriced enough, the spa receptionist asked me how much “tip” she should include in my bill. The look on my face eh… WHICH KAIN YEYE TIP. I told her I didn’t know.

She then said and I quote, “Maybe, 30%?”

I smiled, but my thought went thus…
Hahahahaaaaaaa, I laugh in Japanese. Come and collect 30 percent na. Yeye Dey Smell.

Wait, isn’t a tip supposed to be subject to a customer’s discretion and not the “service provider’s” right? Well, I suppose 5.5 Anna deserved a tip. But there is no way in heaven, hell or earth that I will be parting with “$60 aka N10,080 for any kind of massage. Haba, Aunty Americana-receptionist, make you fear God now? Your tip alone would buy me two home-service massages with Mama Caro in Lagos.

Isio Wanogho - March 2014 - BellaNaija (1)

I told the receptionist I was going to give a 10% tip. She seemed disappointed. I walked away from that place. Not like a crayfish and with my skeleton intact. I was now ready to explore Los Angeles.

Isio Wanogho is a top-model, TV Personality and entrepreneur. She is conversant in five languages and has 12 years of experience in the Nigerian entertainment industry. Isio, popularly known by her brand name Isio De-laVega, captivates audiences with her signature wide smile and relatable, quirky personality which endears her to many. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @isiodelavega

Isio De-laVega Wanogho is a Nigerian supermodel, a multi-award winning media personality and an interior architect who is a creative-expressionist at her core. She uses words, wit and her paintings to tell stories that entertain, yet convey a deeper meaning. Follow her on Instagram @isiodelavega and visit her website: to see her professional body of work.



    March 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    LMAO. “Aunty, I say PRESS this back! Press this bone sef, massage the bone well-well make e bend like crayfish. I want to be shouting sef. Which one be this wey you dey do? Aunty Anna we go quarrel o!” This is so hilarious!
    Isio you’re so beautiful, hope the rest of your trip’s much better.

    • gollygoshy

      March 12, 2014 at 11:19 am

      …and just like that i now love Isio…
      For sharing her life even though people will hate her for it and for being so damn hilarious….
      Anyone who says anything mean here cannot take a joke and need deliverance from lifes troubles…
      On the massage, never every get a swedish when you are away…never…oyinbo people do not understand our kind of hustle…
      I always get a thai…first cos it is good for posturing but also because it is yoga inspired so very intense. Nothing relaxing but always a good one…
      now that tip…This is why I do not like america…suugested tip, expected tip….infact those colums that say…good, fair , excellent for tips…
      na by force….
      if i did not emjoy d service nko….
      Nnem enjoy ya vacation…and dish on that lipstick…I need it
      My dear enjoy your vacation…

  2. Onye Ara

    March 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    So na the Interior Architecture jobs dey fund this lifestyle? Abi na trust fund?

    • AW

      March 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      Stop being nosy, can’t a woman work and earn her own money again? Haba!

    • Onye Ara

      March 11, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      all work na work.

    • Bird's Eye

      March 12, 2014 at 6:17 am

      What kind of nonsense question is this?? Honestly I’m tired of Nigerians in Nigeria and this nonsense mentality. Obviously not all of them but why did this question even come up? Did you even try to read and appreciate the writing? Did you have the grace to laugh at the funny parts or were you too engrossed with the thought that a lady in Nigeria cannot travel from Lagos to LA with her own money? Na wa o. Mscheeeew!

    • Onye Ara

      March 12, 2014 at 7:41 am

      Why are you getting so worked up?
      There is nothing nonsensical about the question.
      Who cares what you are tired of?
      Until we stop seeing folks living above their meagre means and attributing it to God’s grace and hard work,the question will keep getting asked.
      Deal with it!!

    • Bird's Eye

      March 13, 2014 at 4:57 am

      You have issues.

    • nwanyi na aga aga

      March 13, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Imakwa ihe bu interior decoration? that is those people that put sofa of 30k in ur house at 250k because u called them? if you know u would not be asking this ques cos that job pays well especially if u ve got the connection.

  3. Mz Socially Awkward...

    March 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    “Aunty, I say PRESS this back! Press this bone sef, massage the bone well-well make e bend like crayfish. I want to be shouting sef. Which one be this wey you dey do? Aunty Anna we go quarrel o!”

    You made me laugh so much. I’ve never (consciously) subjected myself to a massage so can’t relate but $200 plus a 30% tip?? Okay then. You’re in LA, luv, land of the fabulous beauties so enjoy the star treatment 😀 And the holiday too (I’m quite “jelox”).

    Those female security officers who do those body pat-downs at Naija airports need a class on “appropriate touching”.

    • amaa

      March 12, 2014 at 7:35 am

      If you think the Nigerian Immigration officials are bad try the London ones .I once wore a studded bra that continuously beeped when I passed the scanners. By the time this woman finished with me I felt violated . I nofit shat

    • Bleed Blue

      March 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      Sisteh! But studded bra though…what was going on there? 😉

  4. This was a really fun article. Those immigration officers ehn, their Stupid groping is something else entirely.

  5. M

    March 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    loved it.. she’s funny.

  6. Mademoiselle

    March 11, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    Isiiiioooo where’s your personal blog na?!? 🙁

    • Bleed Blue

      March 11, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Honestly Isio…I smiled though out this post…to the personal blog request, I say it’s about that time! This one that Adaku’s TWP is giving us famine…I need another witty mind with frequent fun updates like this.

  7. Berry Dakara

    March 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm


    You should have told her sooner that you wanted more pressure applied. And I know that there are different types of massages, so maybe you chose one with gentle pressure?

    I’d rather pay tips voluntarily (usually 15%) than the mandatory service charge on bills here.

  8. iyke

    March 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    lol …“Aunty, I say PRESS this back! Press this bone sef, massage the bone well-well make e bend like crayfish. I want to be shouting sef. Which one be this wey you dey do? Aunty Anna we go quarrel o!” …..I can honestly relate to this.
    The YOU in YOU is a good, funny and down to earth person.Enjoy your hols.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      March 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Hmmmmm …..
      Now you like her articles?

    • Thatgidigirl

      March 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm

      ahn ahn! iyke ur love is conditional o! After all the raking on top her igbo guys article? Meanwhile i love me some Isio, making me laugh since 2014 😉

  9. Anon

    March 11, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Tipping is commonplace in America. Even cab drivers want tips. If you are bowled over by the blue skies and white clouds, I wonder what you will say if you go the the Caribbean. Add clear water to that.

  10. Neo

    March 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Go to Creek Road in PH let Ijaw women massage you, you will cry and beg for Anna!

    • Onye Ara

      March 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Or those ones in Diobu.

  11. @edDREAMZ

    March 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Omg…. This write up really got me laughing……. Wait $60 for naija na 10,000 and something…. God, yu must carry me go drop for this place but wetin concern naija with massage, who get money to waste for that one….. I love my country abeg for this matter only…

  12. meeee

    March 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    ok Ma’am, so you got your first or 2nd or 3rd swedish…smh…very BN news-worthy….smh again !
    Next time get the massages at a cheaper deal at livingsocial or groupon. They have variety including hot stone massages to try out while saving. just saying. But don’t come back to write an article about it here. 🙂

    • AMY

      March 11, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      So, biko tell me, why are you vexing?

    • AW

      March 11, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you! Some people sef! and their bad belle!

    • xoxo

      March 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Living social massage deals are the best. This post put a smile on my face ‘cos I also went for a massage on Fri, & instead of $160 , I eventually paid $99 via living social.
      Mehn!! trust me, I told d “Oyinbo ” guy to apply more pressure.
      I had to, cos It got to a point I felt he was playing on my back, but when he applied more pressure, it became heavenly. So I feel you Isio. If you’re going to pay so much, they had better get it right!!!
      @ meee, pls give her a break now, how is she supposed to have know about living social, while in Nig.

  13. naana

    March 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    hahahahaaa. u got me cracked up.
    good for you to give urself a treat. enjoy my dear .
    life is too short to be stressed and hate.

  14. Tincan

    March 11, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Hehehehehe a haa ha, what a lovely read.

  15. Bella

    March 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Absolutely hilarious and a pleasure to read. Ended my Tuesday work day beautifully!

  16. Shazy

    March 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    This made me laugh especially since GTB decided to ruin my day>

  17. creamy

    March 11, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    lol @ press this back, biko Isio share mama Caro’s contact details 😀

  18. LadyID

    March 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    LOL. Welcome to LA!!! Land of endless sunshine and great weather despite a bit of smog. We are all now praying for rain.

    As for the massage…eyah. There are quite a number of good places around.

  19. i no send

    March 11, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    lol..absolutely love isios write up…thanks for the enlightenment cos I’m actually heading there very soon and i need advice…nice one

  20. Alim

    March 11, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Isio Walahi!!! U no dey disappoint.

  21. ttandt

    March 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    very nice write-up Isio

  22. Ibukun

    March 11, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    Fun write up, love it.
    Ehen, guys that Malaysian aircraft is still missing, are you not creeped out? its been 4days

    • L'afrique

      March 11, 2014 at 11:05 pm

      I’m creeping out no be small oh. The families would be going through a roller coaster right now.

  23. Que

    March 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Lmao @the pressing line! … Haaa d nightmares of american service tipping system…very by force something! Reminds me of how an extremely rude cab driver after getting my broda lost, driving almost an hr in d wrong direction, insists my bro gets off, but not b4 insisting thag he includes a tip as he is paying using a POS machine….na dere my broda remind am say black pple dey crase o but naija crase is a special brand! He didnt tip jack! D cabman wan die! Nonsense!

  24. X- Factor

    March 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm


  25. nene

    March 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    i really dislike the “tipping” culture in America. NY is the worst, they can fight you for tip. it’s like i have a budget for my trip and then i need a budget for “tipping”. Isio gorgeous, i love you mwah…xoxo

  26. Kryx

    March 11, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Isio definitely knows better, how to lighten one’s day. Lovely piece and great sense of humour. About ur personal blog….its about time Miss DeLaVega. But how sum peeps can finish enjoying dis write-up, laugh profusely and choose to waste energy typing HATE amazes me. Tip ko? Tip ni? God punish devil? Roja don official and by-force for America…huge joke!

  27. lol

    March 11, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    what is the name and brand of the lipstick you are wearing? dazall! pls reply me oh!

    • Isio De-laVega

      March 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Hi dear,
      It is MAC (Matte) HEROINE.


  28. frances

    March 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    ah! a holiday!#drooling.
    enjoy ma’am, I wanna be like you when I grow up *big smile*

  29. Aibee

    March 11, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    I usually enjoy Isio’s Articles but this one did nothing for me. And then she’s calling an Asian woman squinty eyed … seriously? BN, feel free to not post my comment oh.

  30. TV Girl

    March 12, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Lol after reading this write up, all I could say was Silly Girl.. Isio and I would make good friends. Enjoy your money, you worked hard for it.. Have fun in LA girl!

  31. Curious

    March 12, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Beefing has become a sport in Nigeria! People can’t even help themselves anymore. Once someone is perceived to be successful, the claws come out. I no blame them though, bad belle and jealousy na by-products of bad economy.

    Enjoy your money Isio! Take more pics and post it here; I’d love to read the rabid responses….LOL!

  32. Esther

    March 12, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Isio, you are officially my new bestie even though we have never met. Got me laughing like a hyena. A friend gave me a massage a few days ago for an aching back. You would like her. Too much pressure self… Lol. But I was healed in minutes

  33. whocares

    March 12, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    LMAO. I cant blame you. I hate massages that I don’t feel. I want to leave that massage table red (except its those facial one… pls o, I cant loud it).. You look fantastic in your pictures!!!!!!
    @the aunty with the studded bra. LOOL. What did you think would happen!??? loool

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