Ifeoma Onyeabo “My mum’s death shattered me”

Ifeoma Onyeabo

Ifeoma Onyeabo is one model you’d love to watch on the runway. She’s a master of the art and ever since she clocked 18, she has been modelling. Now in her mid- 20s and based in Cape Town, South Africa, she gladly tells you she’s a proper business woman. In this interview with The Entertainer, Ifeoma talks about her life as a model in South Africa and losing her mum among other issues.

As a model you used to have a fashion label. What are you up to now? 
I still have it but we are on break because I am in fashion school. I went back to the drawing board because working with tailors in SA is quite tedious. You have an idea but the execution goes really bad. So the question is what happens when you are not there to run your business? Like you rightly know, I am also a model so I cannot be there 100 per cent. I had to go back to the drawing board so that I could learn how to cut and sew myself. I enrolled in a fashion school in’
” Cape Town and right now I am almost done.

When did you relocate to SA? 
I have been going back and forth since 2010. At a point, Johannesburg became a bit choked for me; too many models and too many black girls. But in Cape Town, there are a very few black girls and Cape Town is so much more beautiful and peaceful for me.

So what shows have you done to date? 
I have done the Woolworth Show and the Laurel Show to mention a few. In fact, I have actually lost count because every week you are fully booked. Either you are doing a show or you are doing Editorial, Cosmo or Drum magazine and this is good for your model book because you have colourful pictures and this gives you a good image.

Tell us about your growing up? 
Growing up was really a lot of fun. We moved from Kano to Lagos when I was three years-old. We moved in with my granny and we had lots of cousins and family members so we didn’t have to go outside to make friends and that has really helped me in life. People sometimes have motives for wanting to be your friend. Yes, it’s good to trust people but sometimes, they will betray your trust. I am not really keen on friendship because I am a family gal.

You lost your mum recently. How did you overcome it? 
It was really sad. My mum was just sick for a day or two and the next thing they phoned me that she had succumbed to cardiac arrest; that was in January. I feel her presence around me all the time; I just know she’s somewhere watching over me.

What are your dreams? 
I want to impact my society. For me, it’s not what you have here but what you leave behind that matters so I want to touch lives. I want to save people, especially kids and I want to start from the streets; I want to leave a landmark. I don’t want to be known for what I have but for the lives that I have touched.

You have a great figure. What’s the secret? 
I don’t go to the gym. I do life cardio at home and I dance around a lot. With age you have to take better care of yourself. Now, I try to detox regularly and eat right and I am not gaining but losing weight. When I stress myself I lose weight but when I am relaxed, my skin glows.

What has life taught you as a person? 
Life has taught me to be a better person. Life has opened my eyes and I am grateful. It is like God handpicked me for unquantifiable and unmerited favours.


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