Yagazie Emezi


Cultural Anthropologist & Africanist

None of the images posted here belong to me unless stated otherwise.

In Conversation: Aina Fadina

Aina Fadina is a fashion model based in New York City, as well as the founder and host of the webseries I Of Africa. She began I Of Africa in order to document trailblazers across different industries around the world who are inspired by Africa, from fashion and business to music and film. The series celebrates inspiration and individualism as it relates to the continent.

We sat down in New York over Thai food and hogged a restaurant table for three hours. What followed was a discussion about the importance of creative community, insights into the modeling business and fashion industry, thoughts on Lagos, self-image, and what’s really important in life.

Aina Fadina: Are you recording this for real? Gosh.

[laughs] You were saying authenticity is everything.

AF: It is everything. Because at the end of the day, you’re doing what you do, I’m doing what I’m doing. And I don’t think either of us are living fake. We might not know how we’re going to get there but at the end, there’s something that is driving you and it’s that sense of realness, of wanting to tell the real story of who you are and what you’re driven by.

I know some people see modeling as a side gig, something you’d do for fun but really, it’s a legitimate profession. You’re proof of that.

AF: Yes, but it’s been eight years of the same grind, year after year, all the hard work and commitment and learning from the school of hard knocks. At the end of the day, modeling is not based on how smart you are. No one really cares about that. It’s literally about the way you look. With wanting to move on to something else, my industry is the type where if they’re still booking you, what are you complaining about? You’ve had the same clients, they have trust in your ability to sell the clothes and understand their business. That’s the reason why they keep calling. Not that I’m the prettiest girl or I’m the skinniest girl but the fact of the matter is- when I put something on, their clients and editors love it and their clients buy it. That’s literally what it’s about. 

Read full interview

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Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic

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