Braids, Beads, and Beyond
Whether you stumbled across her incredibly lit Instagram feed or Twitter timeline, Nneka Ibeabuchi is one worth following. Known as @africanjawn on both social platforms, Nneka is more than just a pretty face. Based in between New York and Los Angeles, the creative wears many hats, including: model, actress, brand ambassador, and creative director. Read on to find out how she manages it all.
How did you get started in modeling? Describe your first shoot.
I always wanted to model. My first shoot was very intense and uncomfortable for me. Didn’t know I would even continue with modeling after my first shoot.
You’ve modeled for some amazing people. How do you mentally and physically prepare for each photo shoot? Has there been anyone that you’ve been absolutely nervous about working with?
Nervous to work with? Nah, I’m excited to work with a lot of people. I know this might sound absurd but I always talk to myself in my head telling myself, “I am the shit, go do what you do best.” Literally.
Who would you say is a model that you look up to and why?
I look up to Iman Abdulmajid. I feel like she is my spirit animal, looking forward to working with her soon.
What are your thoughts on the lack of diversity in modeling, fashion, and acting roles?
Currently, I do not see a lack of diversity. I see everyone doing their own thing.
Aside from being a model and actress, you are also a creative director. What does your creative process look like and where would you say your inspiration come from?
My creative process is very classic, vintage, and Afrocentric of course. I am very old fashioned. I love everything that was done from the 70’s down to the 90’s.
Just last month, you created and directed a music video featuring Chief Dejjy. How did you go about landing that opportunity and do you hope to direct more videos in the future?
Dejjy and I are friends. His manager Chrissy, who is also a very close friend of mine, contacted me in regards to the shoot and I was excited to start creating. I definitely will be creative directing a lot in the future.
Describe a moment where you felt really proud of your work and another time you felt like what you put out could have been done differently?
Just recently I shot the series “Beads and Braids” and I would say I am very proud. My vision came to life so I criticize my work all the time even when everyone thinks my work was great, I still feel like I should have done more.
Between acting, modeling, and creative directing, what are a few goals you set for yourself as you face each job?
I have a few goals set and will not be discussed because it’s a lot to start laying on the table right now. But I promise it’s something positive and can’t wait to show the world.
If you weren’t modeling, what is something you would want to do instead and why?
If I wasn’t modeling, I would be a pediatrician because I love kids and I like helping people.
Lastly, do you have any advice to any up and coming model or actress?
Yes, I do. I will say to my new models and actresses, do not compare yourself to the next model or actress, do you. You are your own person and be original. Let your work speak for itself.
Her “Braids and Beads” project was amazing so we can only imagine that her next project(s) will be just as great.