Exclusive Interview: Supermodel MBE 'EUNICE OLUMIDE' Poses for OTS Magazine May 2023 Cover Story.

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Photographer Melody Joy captured OTS Magazine‘s May 2023 cover story featuring Scottish Supermodel MBE, V & A Design Champion, and Actress Eunice Olumide. In charge of styling was Michelle Watson and makeup artist Paulina Seimbour, and lastly in charge of creative direction, production, and location is 'Olumide Galleries LTD'.
Model (wears): Cerise pink tailored jacket preloved £150 VIYELLA, Pink dress SWOON BOUTIQUE £29.99, Shoes SWOON BOUTIQUE £29.99
Born in Edinburgh, Scottish Supermodel MBE, V & A Design Champion Eunice Olumide’s career spans continents from the UKU.S.A, AfricaJapan, France, ItalyHolland, Spain, Germany, and the UAE. She has appeared in both national and international campaigns, fashion weeks, and editorials including VogueELLE, Glamour Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, Collectible DRY, WAD, ID Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Oyster, Paper Cut, New York Magazine, Italian Vogue, Bahrain Confidential, Tatler and many more. Walking for designers including Pinko, Patrick McDowell, Mulberry, Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, and Harris Tweed.

After the success of her BBC Radio showMusic Match’ she went on to star in and produce the UK’s first ever award-winning podcast dedicated to women of color on BBC Radio 5 Live called the ‘Sista Collective’.  Interviewing world heavyweights in film, fashion, and television including Amma Asante. She has toured extensively as a disc jockey at festivals and gala’s from Gotha, Websterhall, Lovebox, and Glastonbury, opening for music legends such as Grace Jones.

Her Life As An Art Curator & Gallerist
Curator supermodel Eunice Olumide has selected some of the UK’s most pioneering talent to bring a distinctive and unique element to The Olumide Gallery collection. The outcome is an intriguing and insightful exploration of the reality of life, the street, and subculture; seen through the eyes of their creators that straddle both past and present.  The gallery launched at The Groucho Club Soho in London. Artists include Richard Wilson (Slip Stream, Heathrow Airport for The Queen), Nick Walker, Lauren Baker, Anne Samat, Olumide Oresegun, The Conner Brothers, Robbi Walters, and various other significant Blue-Chip Artists.

With exhibitions alongside powerhouse Vivienne Westwood in aid of Fuel Poverty Action; dealing with socio-economic issues through inspiring prints, paintings, and neon. 

In March 2019 Olumide Galleries produced a major public exhibition hosted by Schroder’s Investment Bank in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK. In October 2020 she signed esteem African Artist Oliver Enwonwu who holds his father Ben Enwonwu's archive.  In 2020 his work broke the world record for the highest sale of African art 1.2 million at Bonhams.
Eunice explains: “The Olumide Gallery represents the most innovative and cutting-edge talent of our time – at the heart of our work is equality and revolution. Visitors to the gallery will see the real stories about real life through the eyes of the artists”  
Charity Work
A dedicated philanthropist she has been committed to working, promoting, and developing charities including Children’s Hospice Scotland, Climate Revolution, Fuel Poverty Action, The Well  Foundation, and The Columbus Hospice, as well as working with big brands including TOMS, The Body Shop & Vivienne Westwood. She is currently the Ambassador for FAD, Best Beginnings, Global Ambassador of Graduate Fashion Week, AAI, Zero Waste Scotland, and Fashion Targets, joining the ranks of Kate Moss, Edith Bowman, Twiggy, Alan Carr and Sharon, and Kelly Osborne.

A passionate activist and campaigner she has worked with the Centre for Social Justice and spoken at the House of Parliament influencing the first-ever inquiry into the impact of fast fashion on the environment. In 2019 she created ‘Next Generation Regeneration’ curating exhibitions, talks, and events at Tate Modern and The V & A, becoming the first ever Scottish Model to produce an on-schedule BFC London Fashion Week catwalk show. The event took place at Lambeth Town Hall and included a full programme of presentations and Q & A sessions including Nish Kumar, Afuah Hirsch, Dennis Alcapone, and Jamelia, to call into account the UK Government and highlight the Windrush Scandal. In November 2020 she worked with Simon Fredricks on the life of Stephen Lawrence and founded the ADBSF Fund primarily focused on supporting Afro-Caribbean businesses in a daunting Coivd-19 climate. Taking a prime position in Simon’s 2021 ‘The Outsiders’, including the top black talent worldwide such as Amanda Seals, Mo Gilligan, Vanessa Kingori, Munya Chawawa, and Clara Amfo. That year marked the founding of Orun Films, after winning best documentary as part of WFTV sponsored by Netflix and producing a groundbreaking documentary on sustainability shown to world leaders at COP26.

She is quoted as a ‘philanthropist’ running youth groups and classes throughout the UK. In 2018 she released her best-selling book ‘How To Get into Fashion’ which highlights her work in preventing exploitation, sustainability, and diversity in the Fashion industry. In August 2019 she was selected to be part of the world’s most prestigious and longest-running broadcast authors event, the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
In October 2020 she contributed to the ‘Loud Black Girls Anthology’ edited by Booker Prize Winner Bernardine Evaristo. UNESCO was next in line, whereby she contributed to the new anthology in January 2022.
This Brit Supermodel has grown as a talented producer, broadcaster, and actress with a sell-out show at The Stand during the Edinburgh Fringe, the Apollo NYC, and a five-star review for her solo production Metamorph at The Traverse Theatre. Over the last few years, she has secured multiple lead roles including BAFTA Award-winning Trouble Sleeping, BAFTA nominated Middleman, comedy After Louise alongside award-winning actor Greg Wise, One Sweet Oblivious Antidote with Lenny Henry, with further cameo appearances in Ab Fab The Movie, Star Wars Rogue One and The Last Jedi. This year she landed a major role with urban music mogul ‘Stormzy’ in Malorie Blackmans ‘Nought & Crosses’. She is also a regular contributor on BBC, GMB, Lorraine, and SKY TV as well as a celebrated public speaker, hosting a variety of events from MOBO Awards, MTV, and London Fashion Week to the Cannes Film Festival.

Queens Honours
In November 2017 Eunice Olumide was awarded an MBE as part of the Queens Honours for services to Broadcasting, Charity, and Arts. Other MBE Awards go to Ed Sheeran and Erin O’Connor. In 2018 she obtained the prestigious title of V & A Design Champion for her incredible contribution towards Design and Production. A permanent gallery has been installed at the National Museum of Scotland on her life and work to date.
She is also the current global ambassador for the exhibition Tartan at V & A Dundee.
Do you remember your first experience as a model in front of the Camera?
EO: I was working with Vivienne Westwood. She is an incredible woman. She completely believed in me and taught me the inner working of a fashion brand. She taught me about how the designer functions and how that works with shareholders.
How big a role does Modelling and Acting play in your life?
EO: For me, I think my life is an equal balance but my first priority is God, then my family, social justice, sustainability, and then my fashion and art curation and consultancy. When I was younger I had no interest in fashion but as I have grown I have come to appreciate it and that it was an integral part of my development, especially regarding my self-esteem. I suffered PTSD from the racism I experienced as a child and actually believe that I was not attractive at all until I was well into my 20s. Although I often hold the industry to account I do feel it is one of the most egalitarian industries in the world and it does lead in terms of diversity whether that’s plus-sized models, ethnicities, or class which is a big factor in the United Kingdom. Models can come from any background which I am very proud of. I also understand all of the models who came before me and how they paved the way as black women from Iman to Naomi Campbell.
What’s the best lesson you have learned from a colleague or Co-Star?
EO: I have probably learned to accept and take direction. As well as accept my gifts and how the world perceives me. In the UK our culture often encourages self-depreciation it's not a good idea to think you have something special. I see now that this is extreme and whilst we must discourage arrogance it is wrong to put yourself down. People often refer to me as Scotland’s first black supermodel. I have found this difficult to own but I am learning to just accept things. I have also learned to understand that the people who go first and pave the way can often be forgotten by society. The people that really benefit are the next generation.
As a result of your contributions to broadcasting, the arts, and charities in 2017, you received a British Empire Medal of Honour (MBE). Did you have any concerns about accepting the award and did it increase your visibility to speak out about the social issues you care so passionately about given the colonial history of the British Empire?
EO: Of course but I see it as an empirical victory to just say no. I discussed it with the elders and they advised I should accept it since it’s not just about me. It’s about the generations of Africans who suffered and perished and paved the way. It is an archive of their struggle and contribution to the UK. When I looked at it from that perspective I had to accept it. I ended up donating it to the National Museum which has now built an entire gallery about my life works and on the plaque, it asks the audience to consider colonialism and the Trans Atlantic slave trade in its entire entirety. I felt that was a much more powerful way to accept it rather than reject it.
Given your prominence in the fashion and entertainment industries, what do you believe to be the most crucial factors?
EO: I wrote my first book in 2018 called ‘How to Get Into Fashion’. I was inundated with questions from fans and I decided to write it rather than trying to reply to thousands of people. It was trending worldwide on Twitter. The sole purpose is to advise and prevent exploitation to arm people with the true pros and cons of the industry. In it I not only have industry contacts, tips, and advice but also an entire chapter on the various occupations other than becoming a model such as a fashion lawyer or creative director. I also focus on diversity, sustainability, and even how to deal with rejection. You can find it on my website www.euniceolumide.com.
How would you describe your Personal Style? 
EO: Edgy. I wear what my mood compels me to. I love sophistication but I also love the authenticity of streetwear so I like to merge the two. I think that’s why my style is so unique.
As a Scots-Nigerian, how has your upbringing influenced your activism and campaigning for social justice over the years?
EO: Of course, childhood experiences of systemic and institutional racism completely shape one’s life. For me, it’s about turning negative into positive and using those experiences to educate and ensure that it does not happen again. I founded the ADBSF a charity that supports black business, EPP which focuses on DEI. I sit on several boards as well as work on the UK’s first all-black female podcast The Sita Collective on BBC Radio Five Live. I understand that many do not feel a social responsibility but for me, it is something I can’t get away from.
In your own words, what does the term “Women Empowerment” means to you?
EO: I am not sure I know or believe in women's empowerment. Coming from the West I feel it is so intersectional and multifaceted. Unfortunately, that nuance is often overlooked and people can be missed out. I don’t feel women help or support each other enough and in my experience the people who tend to cancel or attack me are unfortunately women. I want this to change and am currently working on a new book to facilitate this.
Exciting news! I personally can not wait to read this book, I am a huge advocate for women's empowerment, and you are absolutely correct in saying women don't support each other enough and this truly needs to change, I wish more women will choose "Collaboration over Competition".One of my favorite sayings is -“we rise by lifting others up” What more do you think women could do to support each other, especially in this day and age where animosity thrives in the world today, especially on social media?
EO: Be honest. Let's hold off insecurity and be very conscious of the impact of jealousy. Women tend to want to see something and then copy it when we actually need to be working together.
There’s so much talk these days about inclusivity and diversity but is enough really being done?
EO: I think a lot is being done but not really supporting those who need it disabled people are a classic example. There is too much emphasis on inclusion than equity. That is something we must strive to change. Also, representation is important so for example seeing African Diaspora on television but really what's important is who is the producer, the director etc.
What are the qualities of an empowered woman? And how can women be empowered while maintaining their femininity?
EO: Righteousness, justice, equity. Healthy social justice consciousness as well as an ability to work with others who have different perspectives.
What would you say has been the most defining moment of your career as a Model so far?
EO: There are so many I couldn’t pick just one
What does a “typical” day in the life of Eunice Olumide look like?
EO: Too vast to write!  6:00am prayer time, work out, breakfast, emails, admin, lectures, keynotes, photo shoot, hair, makeup, nails, shoot (25 looks), run to BBC to do an interview in front of 60 million people, press call, head home, check in on my mum, back to my apartment, cook, eat, sew or sketch, work on my next documentary or book. Check-in with my artists at the Olumide Gallery! That's an easy day.
Blimey! You are amazing. What is the biggest lesson you have learned since you became a Model?
EO: I should never let anyone define my success. I personally choose to only work with brands I believe in. Brands that are sustainable or actually care about the customer and don't exploit people. This implies that I've lost out on a lot of significant campaigns and chances. As a result, people may assume that I've avoided doing certain things when, in reality, I 'chose' not to.
How is working in the fashion industry today different from when you started out?
EO: We are 1000% better. When I started they did not use black models but now the whole world has reversed. It’s truly amazing to see all our campaigning, hard work, and perseverance paying off. I founded the first-ever representation of models at the union level with a company called Equity and I am very proud of that.
What advice would you give a budding actor, actress, or model to help them along their way of finding their own success?
EO: Definitely get my book!
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
EO: Film making. I founded my own production company Orun Films and am currently producing my first-ever documentary. I am also obsessed with my new podcast Egusi Stew. My last guest was A-List Hollywood actor Frank Grillo, an absolute legend. I like to interview people who have managed to keep their integrity and stand for something. 
I actually watched that episode and I really enjoyed the originality of it all. What role do you think social media plays in the fashion and entertainment industry today?
EO: It is a huge tool that can be used for good and bad. There are a lot of positives but the negatives can have a special impact on entertainment such as much. For example many young talents today are only exhibiting their world to people who already follow them which means they are not getting a true representation of the work.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be? 
EO: You are beautiful and you are blessed.
What is your daily health and beauty regimen?
EO: Very simple, exercise, lots of water, and a healthy diet.
What motivational quote or saying would you say keep you feeling grounded and focused?
EO: ‘If it’s not life and death don’t worry about it’.
If you could change anything about the fashion or entertainment industry what would it be?
EO: Merit and talent should lead overlooks. Just because I or a person is beautiful that does not mean they should have opportunities they have not worked for.

Photography Melody Joy
Model| Eunice Olumide
Creative Art Direction & Production
|Locations| @olumidegallery
MUA| PaulinaSeimbour
Styling| Michelle Watson
For Features|Interviews & Promos email: features@otsmagazine.com

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