With the ever-increasing popularity of ankara fabrics, over the past few years we’ve seen an overwhelming amount of interest from the world of mainstream fashion in the stylistic talents that African designers have to offer, a curiosity that was cemented with the publication of Helen Jennings’ book New African Fashion. However, no one captures the diversity and behind-the-scenes culture of African creatives across the globe quite like Oroma Elewa.
As editor-in-chief and creative director of Pop’Africana - the quintessential bible on global African fashion and the culture behind it - Nigerian-born Elewa casts a much needed and refreshing lens on the diversity and complexities of the individuals and talents who, globally, are re-defining and re-shaping the constructs of various African identities.
Fittingly, this highly talented diaspora darling is just as diverse aesthetically as her originally biannual, soon-to-be digital, publication.
Oroma Elewa is not just a stunning personality with a wardrobe to match, but a creative force to be reckoned with.
Got a Girl Crush On: Olympic cycling babe, Julie Krasniak
Fact number one: The internet is filled with, and is a complete sucker for photos of girls on bicycles. Fact number two: One of my biggest peeves are photos of girls on bicycles that you know for damn sure don’t belong to them. You know the images I’m talking about. Though the image above might appear to fall into the “beautiful female on bicycle not belonging to her” category, do not be fooled.
The lovely lady you see is one Julie Krasniak, and the bicycle that accompanies her in the photograph is the one she will be riding in Olympic preparation and the French national time trials. Shouts to all the ladies putting in work.
“I was wearing an old Salvation Army shop boy’s suit. As I went to the bathroom I heard people saying, ‘Hey, faggot’. They slammed my head into a locker. I fell to the ground and they started to kick the shit out of me. I had to have stitches. The school kicked me out, not the bullies.
“Years later, I went to a coffee shop and I ran into one of the girls who’d kicked me, and she said, ‘Winona, Winona, can I have your autograph?’ And I said, ‘Do you remember me? Remember in seventh grade you beat up that kid?’ And she said, ‘Kind of’. And I said, ‘That was me. Go fuck yourself.’”
Got A Girl Crush On: Melina Mercouri (Photographed by Henry Groskinsky for Life Magazine, 1965)
I first caught wind of Ms. Mercouri when I was taking film classes in college. I had taken a liking to director, Jules Dassin (whom she would later marry) and long story short… I eventually stumbled on to Never On Sunday (1960).
Although, I’m not one to easily fall for the quintessential “hooker with a heart of gold” character and premise, I found that with her character, Illya, it was difficult not to (I wasn’t the only one. She immediately received international fame, picking up ‘Best Actress’ at both Cannes and the Academy Awards). Her multi-dimensional character is so genuinely light-hearted and joyful that it’s hard to think of the off screen Melina being any different. This hunch is just further confirmed by what’s portrayed in her various films, interviews and photos.
While today’s leading ladies are barely old enough to be considered ladies, Melina Mercouri began her acting career in her mid-thirties and had become a world-famous sex symbol at 40 — being dubbed “The Last Greek Goddess”.
Oh yeah… In addition to film, she performed on broadway, pursued a music career, and was later elected into Greek Parliament where she became the first woman to hold a senior cabinet post as Minister of Culture.
If all that doesn’t impress you, I don’t know what will. Her infectious smile, alone, reflects a woman that I can only hope to become. Hence, the girl crush.