Nigerian born American based model Ify Jones is our Model Of The Month for January 2017.
The young Imo state native got scouted in university by a Nigerian agent who put her on to the Nigerian modeling industry.
She was selected by the Head Scout of Ford Models Robert Knap to represent Nigeria at the Ford Supermodel of the World contest in New York. Though she did not win, she made a strong impression on the judges and got a trial contract with Ford Models. Her break into the international modeling scene happened in 2009 when she got scouted randomly at NYFW by Wilhelmina International Director Roman Young.
Vigorous, professional and inventive, Ify has lots of potential and is living her dream as a model. She intends to pursue acting and get on the big screen one day in Hollywood.
With an Appreciate life' motto she believes there is much to do with the life we've been given. Ify also owns an online women's clothing store (www.novicci.com), something she enjoy's working on, including doing graphic design work, creating new styles and designs for.
Learn a little bit about this Nigeriann beauty in this month's inspiring interview below. Later, check out her profile on FMD.
Did you always want to be a model, or did you stumble upon it, get discovered etc.? Who or what inspired you to become a model? How did you get started in the modeling business?
My passion for modeling genuinely started when FashionTV launched on Nigerian cable in the late 90s. I was in high school at the time and I knew I couldn't be a model, so I watched FashionTV basically all my life obsessing over Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista till I got discovered in university by a Nigerian agent who then put me on to the Nigerian modeling industry where I started modeling part-time in Nigeria doing campaigns, billboards, commercials, etc. It was one of my most exciting moments 'cause not only was I now doing what I had a passion for, I was also making lots of money doing it with my face everywhere in Africa at a very young age so I knew it was only going to get better. I wanted more, I wanted to be an international model. In 2006 my agent told me to take part in a modeling contest and that the winner would get to represent Nigeria at the Ford Supermodel of the World contest in New York. I didn't hesitate of course, I got lots of support and encouragement from family and friends and voila! I won the contest and went to New York, but I didn't win the international competition. So I went back home to finish school, came back to NYC on my own in 2009 and that's when I got scouted randomly at a fashion show I attended at NYFW by a top booker from Wilhelmina (Roman Young). It was so surreal, he invited me to Wilhelmina and the minute I walked into the agency I got so much love from everyone! They all called me 'baby Naomi Campbell'. Words can't even describe how I felt.
What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about being a model? What do you like least? Have you encountered any surprises along the way? What has been your most awkward moment (of your modeling career)?
The most exciting aspect for me is everything about modeling really, working with top fashion brands, seeing your face everywhere, in magazines, billboards, traveling, the friendships, meeting all kinds of people from all parts of the world, the shows, the pictures! Everything. It's a privilege to be creative, and to get paid to be the center part of a creative process of which the end result wouldn't have been possible without you. Oh you also get amazing photos as souvenirs for memory.
What's the funniest thing that happened to you on a photo shoot or fashion show?
One of the funniest was walking a show at New York Fashion Week and halfway down the runway, bunch of people in the crowd got up and started clapping and smiling at me, I felt so cool and confident like "omg they love me!" But as soon as I got to the end of the runway I realized that one of my breasts was out! I literally busted out laughing like oh that's why they were cheering me! I had a nipple slip I didn't realize. It was funny, and I played it off.
How would you describe yourself as model in three words?
Vigorous, professional and inventive.
Out of all the places your career has taken you, where was the most memorable?
I got so much love in Milano On personal level and loved how nice Italians were to me.
Who is your favorite photographer? Why?
I don't think I have a favorite I have worked with so many amazing photographers that took amazing pictures of me so it's hard to tell who's my fave.
What was the hardest photo shoot for you, and why?
Shooting outdoor in the winter is always the hardest for me. I shot this editorial outside in 10-degree weather. They put me in a bathtub filled with warm milk, I was half naked and freezing my butt off. But the pictures turned out beautiful of course.
Is there a difference in posing when you are doing a cover and an editorial?
Yes there is. Shooting editorials covers a wide range of different styles and poses, you pose however you want. But when shooting a cover, your poses are more in simplistic terms. That's why anyone that isn't a professional fashion model, like actors, musicians and celebs can shoot a cover.
What tips and advice do you have for aspiring models just starting out, something you wish someone would have told you?
I have a whole bunch of tips but the predominant tip is self-confidence. Modeling is not about having the perfect looks. The key to a successful modeling career is the mindset of a confident model which is one thing that divides the professionals from the aspiring models. You have to let go of the amateur mindset, and work like you're already a supermodel, 'cause one shot or one runway debut can take you to the next level.
Would you share some of your future goals, your life motto, any words of wisdom that get you by in life and professional career?
Still modeling and currently pursuing acting and hoping I get on the big screen one day in Hollywood. My motto is "Appreciate life," 'cause without life you can't do anything. There's so much to do with the life we've been given!
What should a relationship between an agent and model look like?
Friendly and professional.
Who is your favorite all-time model?
Naomi Campbell she's the greatest of all time.
Do other models inspire you?
Yes all the young supermodels of our generation.
Is the fashion world what you expected it to be?
Yes exactly what I expected it to be and more. It's a dog eat dog world also cause you're competing with all kinds of beauty! You just have to remain focused and kick ass at any giving time.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I own an online women's clothing store (www.novicci.com) and I do enjoy working on my store a lot and doing all the graphic design work. Creating new styles and designs for my store.
Who is your style icon?
Used to be Jlo but now there's Rihanna and Zendaya! They're definitely my favorite fashionistas!
Your favorite store?
Neiman Marcus 'cause they have absolutely everything sophisticated and I like to look sophisticated. I love topshop as well and of course my own store.
What are your best beauty secrets?
I eat a lot of avocados, and I use it for everything, as a hair conditioner and face mask.
How much attention do you pay to meditation & exercise, or is it all natural? How do you stay in shape?
No I'm naturally skinny. But I exercise once in a while just to be healthy.
How would you describe yourself as a human being in three words?
Crazy, sexy, cool
What's controversial or unique about you?
My Asian-like eyes and my lips.
If you could have one superpower, what would you choose?
I'd like to be invisible just to know what that feels like
Do people act different around you since you've become a model?
No I don't think anyone acts different around me. My friends are family are super proud of me if anything they just ask questions about modeling and the industry out of curiosity. I'm a fun-loving person to be around and making people comfortable is like my special power. So people love to hang with me and never act different in a negative way.
Favorite kind of music? Favorite television series or movie?
I listen to a lot of independent music, I love Indie pop/indie rock. Also love Electronic music and R&B/Soul. Tyrant is my fave series right now and my all time favorite movie is Pulp Fiction
Be yourself 'cause everyone else is already taken.
What's your favorite fashion magazine? Why?
My fave mag is vogue cause it's just vogue and I've also been featured in it ;).
I'd like to meet ...
Cate Blanchett. I adore her!
Happiness is ...
Self-satisfaction because when you're satisfied with yourself and satisfied with everything that's going on with you then you really have no choice but to be happy.
If you could change one thing in the past years, what would it be?
People have said I look like ...
Thank you Ify for this great interview!
Read the full interview of Tako in the latest LoveFMD magazine.
note: all answers are original and unaltered - Editor: Iva Mirbach, Intro by Clinton Gonsalvez