My dad is from Edo State,while my mum is from Cameroon. I grew up as the last child in a big family. Being the last child is the best thing that has happened to me. Although I was pampered, I was also lucky to have elder ones that I learnt a lot from.
I studied Journalism at the American University in Washington DC and I had my master’s degree in International Public Relations at New York University.
I started modelling professionally in New York during my master’s degree programme. I remember wishing that I could model professionally while growing up, but I knew it was important to finish school and constantly work hard. I got my first major break when I met a buyer at the Jovani Fashion Company headquarters, who my friend had told about my dreams of modelling. I was hired on the spot and that fashion job changed my life.
My parents have always been extremely supportive of my career over the years. Initially, my dad was not happy about my decision to move from New York to work in the ‘public eye’. But he saw how hard I was pushing and he had no choice but to become my biggest supporter. Now, he watches all my shows and we discuss them.
The defining moment in my media career was when a woman, who once told me it would be impossible to have my own show, called me and said I was doing very well. She said she wanted to see me. When we met, she told me she was proud of me. She had a feeling that I would be the best and would be around for a long time. A year ago, I didn’t even have a seat at the table in the media industry. Apart from my own show, I now have two other shows.
Some of the challenges I faced included the fact that I had such big ideas and it wasn’t very easy to find a lot of people who wanted to buy into those dreams. Also, being in the public eye opens you to a lot of scrutiny. It is very hard but necessary to draw a line between my private life and the Idia that people see on television. To overcome challenges, I work extremely hard and I notice that the more I invest in myself, the more people see how committed I am and then buy into my ideas. I’ve also tried to make people fall in love with my work by giving my all.
Christiane Amanpour and Oprah Winfrey were two of my favorite women while I was growing up. I’m also fascinated by Naomi Campbell and Beyoncé Knowles. I have always been attracted to very strong women and anyone who is generally hard-working and resilient.
I’ve learnt that you should never wait for people to help you to become successful. When you are successful, people will want to help you. I have a lot of regrets, but I have learned to turn my wounds into wisdom.
I am funny, complicated and deep. People also tell me that I’m really goofy.
I am inspired by a lot of women who have come before me. I am inspired by people who had been told they couldn’t do something but pushed through and overcame it. I don’t like it when things are too easy; when something is hard, I get more excited about it. In other words, I’m more inspired by difficulty because that’s when things mean most to me.
There’s a part of me that still wants to do fashion fully. There’s a part of me that wishes to do more internationally. But things are getting harder because I have to be more focused on the television projects that I have lined up for next year. The fact that I want to explore the fashion stage fully is probably the only thing I’ve wanted to do but it is always interrupted by life, goals and responsibilities. Whenever I want to relax, I travel.
My fashion is inspired by my mood; anything happening to me at any particular time. If I’m thinking about my mum, I might want to recreate an outfit that she’s worn before. If I’m thinking about my dad and I’m feeling powerful, then I might opt for my alter ego dressing. I mean something not as soft as I would wear usually. I am just inspired by anything going on around me. If it’s an award show, and I’m feeling like a winner, I would dress like a winner.
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