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Name: Ifeoma Somiari

IG: @_voxo / @laidbyify

Agency: Seeking Representation

Behind Ifeoma Somiari’s childlike facial features and diminutive stature is the spirit of a hustler. The 19-year-old sophomore at Rutgers University spends every waking second she’s not saddled with her biology studies focused on her side hustles. In an exclusive interview with HelloBeautiful the up and coming young model talked about her balancing her aspirations with her realities.

Before she was working with her friends to create content to propel them into the spotlight Somiari was refusing to be discouraged she did not see herself represented as a model. The tall svelte women propped up by glossy publications with big budgets and bigger airbrushing strokes may have intimated young women but not Somiari.

“My first impression of a model was definitely their height and body size. Most signed models that I know are tall and super skinny. I am short but that never discouraged me because I have the face and confidence of a model,” she stated plainly.

That confidence was contagious. Less than a year after her sister Chioma and friend Trisha encouraged her to give modeling a try she and her friends were working together to support each other’s projects with fun and sexy concept shoots.

“My best experience was a shoot I did with my friend Trisha,” said Somiari.

“The shoot was to promote her makeup brand and she had this cool idea for me to eat a Hersey bar on camera. Her idea was brilliant because that’s the photo that really got my name out there,” she revealed.

“That’s the photo that really got my name out there. I had a great time that day!”

She hasn’t found an agent yet but that doesn’t mean she’s approaching the industry haphazardly. She is using her time as an unsigned model to research the role of an agency in a model’s career.

“I do a lot of freelance photo shoots. I am however in the process of learning about different agencies in hopes to get signed by them,” she explained.

“I definitely plan on doing more creative shoots with different photographers in the area and putting myself out there more!”

She’s also putting herself out there as a businesswoman. Instead of just serving as a brand ambassador for other companies she’s stepped into the ever expanding beauty industry on her own.

She offers non-chemical styling services like braids and faux locks and starting her own line of hand sewn wigs.  “Closures and frontals are currently my main market,” she revealed. “I service Newark and the Greater Newark area.”

She represents a growing segment of young Black women who are refusing to wait until they reach a certain age, or level of education to begin staking out their claim in the business world. They may not have huge amounts of capital or decades of experience but they have an abundance of elbow grease and showmanship.  With the internet serving as the great equalizer they’re turning ideas into action faster than ever before instead of waiting for the perfect moment to launch their passion projects.

One of the biggest assets to Ifeoma’s business is the people who have encouraged her journey to entrepreneurship.

“I have a huge support system. My friends and family support me, but most important I support myself which is big because if you don’t believe in what you’re doing nobody will see the beauty in what you’re doing.”


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