Nigerian born American based all round top model IFEOMA YOLANDA JONES is one determined and vibrant young lady whose passion and personality has taken her where she probably only dreamt about. Waltzing down the runway for huge labels and signed to one of the best modeling agencies in the world (WILHELMINA), there’s no telling she is now indeed living her dream.
This is definitely the beginning for the 5ft 11inches, 32-24-34 reigning Nigerian catwalk queen, as she is moving faster in life than on a runway! She chats with 360NoBS on the life and world of a model.
360NoBS: What is your full name?
Ify Jones: Ifeoma Yolanda Jones
360NoBS: Who is Ify Jones?
Ify: I’m a model based in New York and I’m from Imo state! I’m the only child of my mother. I love fashion and beauty. I’m a friendly person that loves to enjoy life and hate it when people take life too seriously. I just really enjoy seeing people happy.
360NoBS: When did you start modeling professionally?
360NoBS: How did it start? Tell us a little about your story.
Ify: After I won the Nigerian Model Awards in 2006, I was booking shows and editorials here and there in Lagos. That was when I sort of started, then I got a major contract with Samsung which was a National campaign and things became REAL from then on. LOL.
360NoBS: We understand you were in the Ford Supermodel of the World Competition in 2007, how did you get into it, and how far did you go?
Ify: After winning the Nigerian Model Award in 2006, I was selected by the Head Scout of Ford Models (Robert Knapp) to take part in the competition. There were 45 of us, all from 45 different countries. Although I didn’t win, but the exposure became very valuable to me.
360NoBS: You were signed to ICE Model agency in South Africa, why did you leave for New York, and when?
Ify: I had just started modeling professionally at the time, so I stayed with ICE Models for about a year, and then I left in 2008 for New York. Like most girls, it has always been my dream to model in New York, and once I had that opportunity, I took full advantage of it.
360NoBS: You are now signed to WILHELMINA Model Agency in New York, how did you get this?
Ify: I had gone to watch the first Arise Magazine show at New York fashion week, just minding my business in the corner 🙂 . I didn’t know that the Head Booker from Wilhelmina had been watching me from his seat. The next day, I got a phone call from a photographer that had approached me on the subway the day before the show. He said he was with the booker at the show and they wanted to see me at the agency, So I went over immediately and they were all so enthusiastic to see me and were very welcoming. I was still in shock for like 2 days though after I got signed. 😀
360NoBS: Did any other Agency approach you before you signed to WILHELMINA?
Ify: Before I got signed to Wilhelmina, I sent in some of my pictures to New York Model management and then I got an email from a booker saying he was interested in me that I should come in to see them. That was the day I had to go to Wilhelmina so I never went to New York Models.
360NoBS: Why did you choose WILHELMINA?
Ify: Wilhelmina is one of the top ten agencies in the world so it was a no brainer and I’m honored and proud to be represented by them.
360NoBS: How has New York been so far?
Ify: It has been great! This has always been one of my biggest dreams and I’m very happy to be here.
360NoBS: Have you walked for any big labels?
Ify: Yes, I recently walked for – Elie tahari, Lacoste, Dolce & Gabbana, Catherine Malandrino, Vena Cava, Project Runway, and a host of others.
360NoBS: Do you get booked directly, or do you run from one casting to the other?
Ify: I get booked directly through my agency, as well as requests to go for castings.
360NoBS: What do you think is the most important thing that a girl should do to present herself well in castings?
Ify: Be confident. You have to look great from head to toe by keeping everything simple and clean. But looks are not everything, so it’s incredibly important to have that friendly personality to make a memorable impression. That charm can be the difference between booking the job or not.
360NoBS: What makes you stand out as a model?
Ify: Apart from my personality, my drive and passion makes me stand out.
360NoBS: Have you ever opened a show before?
360NoBS: How was the experience?
Ify: My most memorable one was when I had to open and close a show at New York fashion week for a designer from Project Runway. It was definitely a momentous experience.
360NoBS: What would you say is the most important thing in presenting an outfit on the runway?
Ify: Owning the outfit like you just spent $10,000 on it, ’cause if you don’t own it, you can’t sell it and that’s the bottom line. You’re on the runway to sell the outfit with your looks and confidence.
360NoBS: Do you get nervous on the runway, as all eyes will most definitely be on you?
Ify: Well it’s hard not to be nervous but when I get on the runway, all I’m thinking is rocking the outfit the best way I can nothing else matters to me at that point.
360NoBS: Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on the runway?
Ify: YES; Once, one of my shoes came off and I had to tip toe down the runway because I was too nervous to pick it up.
360NoBS: What are the pressures and challenges you face as a model?
Ify: It’s a very competitive industry; you have to work twice as hard as the next model. I’m constantly thinking that I have to be the best! It’s pretty challenging and what sets models apart is their looks, strong features and most importantly our different personalities, so you have to believe in your self no matter what anyone says.
360NoBS: Who taught you how to walk and perform on the runway?
Ify: I watched Fashion TV a lot growing up. I paid attention to how the models walked and how they carried the outfits. That’s how I learnt.
360NoBS: Have you ever been asked to change something about yourself during fittings or castings?
Ify: No, I haven’t been asked to change anything about myself.
360NoBS: Your body is amazing, how do you stay in shape?
Ify: Well I walk a lot, I don’t do anything extra. I do the random sit ups once in a while. Although now, I have a personal trainer so the plan is to start working out more.
360NoBS: How do you maintain your skin and hair?
Ify: I try to get enough sleep, eat lots of olives and kiwi fruit cause they’re good for your skin. I use good skin products that are suitable for my skin, drink lots of water and do a home regimen I learnt from cosmetology school. For my hair, I just use good hair products and wash my hair regularly and I also take women supplements for hair, skin and my nails.
360NoBS: Thank you very much Ify Jones.
Ify: Thank you.
Follow @IFYJONES on twitter to keep up with her life.
Interview by Isoken Uwaifo.