Meet Rising Model Olivia Anakwe

By: Valeria Ramos

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing stunning model on the rise - Olivia Anakwe. We discussed work, style and how her career in the fashion industry has changed her as a person.

Olivia is represented by New York Model Management and has already had some major milestones in a career that is only just beginning. Some of you may already know her from her work on the runways of designers like Adam Selman, Rebecca Minkoff and many more. Most recently, you've probably seen her staring in Glossier ads all over the country. 

In this interview, I learned that Olivia is a hardworking model who I know will continue to dominate more and more catwalks each year. I also learned that we share a mutual love for Naomi Campbell and wearing black.

Her description of what it means to be a model truly personified her job and her words truly reflect a dedicated and hard working nature that ensure a long and prosperous career ahead of her.

How were you scouted? Was modeling something you always wanted to do?
I was scouted by my booker Marina at New York Model Management, while out to lunch in New York City for my sister's graduation!! I'll never forget that moment and the rest of the summer when I was welcomed into their family at the agency. I hadn't thought about it seriously, until people kept telling my mom I should model because of my height so we started to look into it more. I had done a small bit of commercial/catalog-type things when I was little, but it was more for fun.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?
My favorite part is the traveling and meeting incredible people from all over the world. The friendships that I have formed are just so special to me. I love learning about different cultures and this job has certainly allowed me to be exposed to that. I would have to say my last favorite part is the unpredictable nature of the job. By nature, I am a very structured person. So slowly but surely, I'm transitioning into not having a rigid planned out schedule all the time because you never know when you are going to get on a plane and go! Nerves stay on 'high' but it can get exciting as well.

Do you feel that working in the modeling industry has changed you in any way?
Most definitely and I think about this all the time. I have become so independent and able to really grow as an individual through my different interactions with people & through my jobs. I never thought I would be able to live in New York City a year and a half ago! I am so used to always having friends around, back in my hometown, but now I've been able to really appreciate the time that I spend by myself.

What are some challenges you have faced working in this industry?
Keeping a positive mind.  There are always going to be people working and just because you may not be at the moment, does not mean you are not getting out there. It just means your time is coming. "Everything happens for a reason," is what my mom says and what I repeat to myself, in relation to every opportunity that comes and goes.

Do you feel that people often have misconceptions about modeling and careers in the fashion industry in general?
Definitely, I believe people think we don't work as hard or just sit around all day. There's a whole art, a whole process; a typical work day is more than a shoot - it's like a show. It's a full on production...there is a crew, we have to prepare, get into character, perform, and everything!

Do you have a favorite shoot, collection or project that you've worked on?
So I have two. I loved working with Glossier and that had to be one of my favorite shoots because their team is filled with such sweet and unique individuals. Embracing your natural beauty and showing your personality is what they want you to radiate through the camera so every shoot was so much fun. Also, seeing the images from campaigns pop up all over the country was just a dream come true; in the subways, subway stations, bus stops and more, it was definitely a proud moment.

I also recently just walked and opened for the Kenzo x H&M show. It was a dream to work with that team and perform dance choreography during a show! It wasn't your traditional runway show, it featured professional dancers, a whole drumlins, and orchestra, and a select few models. The energy in the venue was incredible and I crave an experience like that again.

photos courtesy @olivia_anakwe IG

Do you prefer runway or shoots?
I like both but I really love runway. Those two minutes on the catwalk are a rush.

Has working in the fashion industry influenced your style at all?
I wear black more than ever before!

What are some items in your closet you can't live without?
All of my jackets, trainers and heels.

Being a model, and a Glossier girl, what are some of your best skincare tips?
Really take time each day, morning and night to care for your skin. Everything can help your skin from what you eat, drink, to your level of stress so make sure to stay balanced. Glossier balm dot com is a definite must to have with you at all times!

Who is someone in the industry you look up to?
There are many people I look up to, even some of my friends! But I would also have to say I gain most of my inspiration from Naomi Campbell. She is a powerhouse and I love it.

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year?
I am hoping to work with more amazing people and top designers/brands. I also hope to travel more all over the world, both for pleasure and work. Lastly, I want to kill it these upcoming fashion weeks in February so I cannot wait!

Olivia at Kenzo x H&M, Erin Fetherston, and Naeem Khan
photos courtesy

Thank you to Olivia for the interview and Marina at New York Model Management!