Gloria Nnaji Talks Goals of High Fashion Modeling and Breaking Barriers For Dark-Skinned Models
Gloria Ihuoma Nnaji is social media new ‘it model.’ She has gone viral on the internet countless times due to her creative sex-appeal photo shoots and her smooth break-taking chocolate skin. Nnaji, better known as ‘Africanglow’ is a Nigerian model born and raised in the capital of Washington D.C. Even though she spent her entire life in the U.S. Nnaji never fails to express her Nigerian culture to others. After graduating high school in 2013, she attended college but took a semester off due to unwanted circumstances. “I do plan to go back this fall and finish, not for my parents but for myself, because failure is not an option,” she said. Modeling became the next option for Nnaji.
Who is Gloria Nnaji?
Being a high fashion model is one of her ultimate goals in life. “I only pray that God opens these doors for me so I can become an international model as well.” Nnaji have more goals to pursue as well. She wants “to be a voice of change.” However, she loves kids and another goal she wishes to accomplish is to become a Child Life Specialist.
Nnaji is the creative mastermind behind her photo-shoots. Depending on who she collaborates with, the photographer sometimes inputs their idea and they formulate a collaborated plan. “Its a partnership when the photographer sees my vision.” Nnaji has many favorable shoots. She enjoyed creating Instagram’s favorite Barbie theme shoot, shot by @photomaticssmith. Nnaji never owned a black doll. With this shoot, she wanted to show that brown and dark-skinned girls are beautiful, “so many younger girls were inspired.”
‘Aye Dark Skin’
One of the reasons why she started modeling was to vocalize her thoughts on inequalities in beauty and fashion. Nnaji believes dark-skinned women have a harder time booking modeling gigs. “We as black women are challenging the modeling industry and breaking those barriers.”
Nnaji is influenced by international model Duckie Thot. “She is someone that I look up to, she breaking barriers for dark-skinned models but for African American women.” Nnaji has had her own share of struggles with her complexion. Her biggest struggle was not accepting herself for who she was. “I never accepted my skin tone; I always brighten my photos and used filters.” She was teased simply for being African.
As a teenager her dark-skinned became an issue. “I walked past a group of boys and they yelled “aye dark skin.” When Nnaji travels to Nigeria her friends and relatives never fails to point out that she’s the darkest of her siblings. The hardest thing she had to overcome was accepting ‘Gloria.’ She doubted her worth and thought she wasn’t good enough. “I never appreciated myself for who I am, but now I understand why God put me on this earth,” she said. As of now, she admires her chocolate skin and with God in her life, she has no room for struggle.
As she continued to grow over the year, people noticed her potential and creativity. Nnaji has gained more followers, and more brands have reached out to her for collaborations. Clothing, makeup and hair brands admire her creativity. She never imagined she would get this far, “I am proud of my growth,” she said. Two supportive brands of the model are Mamiwata, (@shopmamiwata) and Babaafrik (@babaafrik) both companies that specializes in African print swimsuits. “When it comes to shopping Mamiwata and Babaafrik, they never fail to do it for our culture.”
Nnaji shares her celebrity crush on no one other than Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun known as ‘Wizkid.’ She has had a crush on the Nigerian singer since high school, “I only hope to meet him one day or honestly be in one of his music videos.”
Nnaji is lucky to have supportive people in her life. She has multiple people who constantly wish her nothing but the best. Besides her mom, siblings and other family members, her followers support her so much and she is forever grateful. Numie (@numie410) and Tae Gaw (@taegaw) are two of her followers who give her advice and cheer her on. “That is what motivates me the most and I couldn’t ask for better people in my life,” she said.
To follow the everyday life of the model, follow her Instagram @africanglow!