Young, beautiful and armed with an arresting personality, Idia Aisien is a Nigerian and Cameroonian model ready to take on the world. While currently based in New York City, she was born in Lagos, Nigeria, as the last of twelve children. She recalls her childhood as loving and memorable, although she was always fueled with the urge to achieve more so she could help the less fortunate in her home country.

Idia’s passion for traveling, “getting all dressed up” and volunteering to help underprivileged children grew from an early age. She and her sisters would visit an orphanage for disabled kids in Nigeria and spend their birthdays with the children. “My mother was president of the Lion’s Club, and my father, though extremely entrepreneurial, is the kindest man you will ever meet,” she says. At age 15, Idia finished high school and her first modeling job was a UNICEF charity fashion show in her home country. The proceeds that were generated from the show proved to Idia that she could spend her life doing the two things that she loved—giving back and modeling. Her parents are big on philanthropy, so she wanted to be able to do that and be in fashion somehow. After a mind opening trip around Europe and India, she set her mind on getting a good education and breaking into the fashion industry.

In 2011, she graduated from American University with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Business Administration. After working for prestigious companies like Discovery Communications, Fox5 News, the AARP Foundation, and the Foreign Policy Initiative, she moved to New York City. In 2014, Idia earned an M.S. in International Public Relations and Global Corporate Communications from New York University. “Fashion is a huge part of me, but I love to be a part of the development process in countries like my own. Africa is thriving and I want to help steer this continent in the right direction.” With experience working for a large organization like the United Nations under her belt, the young model currently spends her time in the city working on philanthropic projects and modeling.

Today she has shot a commercial for LAN Airlines, and worked on campaigns for BMW, Black Opal, Nivea and Sway Hair. She has also modeled for U.S. based designers like Alice + Olivia,  J Brand, Cashhimi, Samantha Pleet, Jovani, Evelyn Lambert, Danny Nguyen, Sarah Bacchus, Undecillion by Rachel Walters, Nikki Angelique and An Alili. Idia is proud to have graced the catwalk for African designers like Maki Oh, Ituen Basi, Deola Sagoe and Lanre Da Silva.