Born in Nigeria, and now taking Britain by storm, model Chizoba has had a whirlwind career already, and we’re so excited to see more of what’s to come. From international billboards for MAC, to a 4-page spread in ELLE Magazine, her undeniable beauty, hunger, and genuine kindness have played a huge part in her success. Speaking to Emolyne about individuality, we find out why staying true to yourself is Chizoba’s most important lesson, and what she has learnt from her short yet soaring career.
Q: Firstly, I just want to ask you what your opinion of confidence is. What does confidence mean to you?
Confidence is knowing your flaws and accepting them. It’s about being yourself, no matter who you’re around and to be able to say what you believe in. It’s the peace in knowing what you’re about, and what you feel life is about.
Q: Do you find it important to support and work with black owned businesses?
Yes definitely, because it promotes black culture, especially here in the UK. I like that Emolyne is a brand that’s not putting itself in a box. It’s for everyone, it’s diverse. It’s important seeing lots of different faces representing a brand so that people can feel they relate, so they recognise it’s for them, too.
Q: You’ve been modelling for a while now. Do you feel like your confidence has changed since you started?
It’s improved, for sure. I’m from Nigeria and in Nigeria being very skinny is not desirable, you just get looked down on if you’re really skinny. So ever since I started modelling, I just feel so much happier. I feel like I’ve found my place. I finally feel good about myself and the way I look; I can wear my actual size and embrace my body – when I’m back home I just cover myself up in baggy clothes to avoid getting asked if I’m eating well, or if I’m sick. Now I can accept myself for who I am.
Q: What advice would you give someone who wanted to break into the model industry?
Don’t try to change anything about yourself. You never know what that special thing someone sees in you is going to be. Trends change all the time, and you could be taking away that one thing that sets you apart.
Q: Is there any work that you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
I’ve done a couple of things I’m really proud of, but the one I was really excited about was my campaign for Mac cosmetics because it was on a billboard. I could see myself everywhere and my friends were just sending pictures saying things like “Oh, I saw you in Ireland” or “Oh, we saw you here” It was a pinch me moment; I felt very happy.
Follow Chizoba’s journey on Instagram @chizoba_emmanuel_