“There is something so magical and transformative about the power of creation. It’s time we change the narrative on black beauty and black bodies.
That is one of the reasons I create. I Create the Beauty I/We Need to See in the World. My hands weren’t blessed for nothing. I have to use them to say something. It is my duty, my responsibility.”
These are the words of Lois Diedjomahor the Fashion/Lifestyle Blogger and Model whose on a mission to break the mold on how women’s bodies are perceived and the kind of communication that leads to embracing women in all the multifaceted forms of beauty.
According to Wikipedia’s definition of Body Positivity (which we love) and the body positive movement – “This is a movement that encourages people to adopt more forgiving and affirming attitudes towards their bodies, with the goal of improving overall health and well-being. Whether people are nurturing their bodies and maintaining their weight, or finding a place in life where they are comfortable through working out or changing their lifestyles to find a better attitude, the body positive movement focuses on building self-esteem through improving one’s self-image.”
This movement is what Lois Diedjomahor is soldiering on.
Read our interview with her.
Do you know what day it is? Only one of my favorite national holidays!!!!! HAPPY #nationalloveyourbodyday This is the kind of celebration I’m talking about! Today I’m celebrating my #Beautiful #Amazing Rocking Body because it’s the only one I’ve got! No need to fix what God already put his paintbrush on. #embraceyourself ❤❤ #allblackeverything cause I’m attending a funeralWho died? All my insecurities, All judgement, All self doubt, All negative and unsolicited comments from others… it’s all irrelevant. #bodypositivity ✅ TODAY, and everyday after just love yourself. I Love Me from my dark knees to the scars on my body, to my curves and rolls, to my wide shoulders and short natural hair I love it all… I am my own #womancrushwednesday #wce #beyoutiful #loveyourbodyday You should love yourself too. Xoxo Queen
For Creative Girls: We love the body positive message you embody and campaign for. What moment(s), experiences led to it?
My self-love campaign comes from a plethora of negative experiences growing up concerning my body. I developed “quicker” than most girls my age and was never as small as my classmates and due to that my body was policed and over-sexualized which led to a lot of self-hate and dieting. For years I wanted to change my appearance and never felt beautiful. I wouldn’t go out much besides school and would usually wear baggy clothes and avoid overall public attention.
A couple years ago I got to a point where I was tired. Tired of feeling ugly, hating the skin I was in, policing everything I ate, dieting, I was tired of it all. So I decided to really look at myself and re-evaluate the way I looked at myself. I started working on the way I spoke to and about myself, started self-affirmations and ignoring negative comments from the people around me. Around that time, I realized I loved fashion and chose to reclaim my body, I allowed myself to wear clothes I liked and collectively that began my journey to self-love.
I really began to look at myself and find the beauty within myself, flaws and all. I still have my bad days but overall I’ve come a long way from where I was. Often people ask me how I am so confident; For a while, I was confused because I never thought myself to be brave or confident and the more girls asked, the more I felt the need to help others and inspire other people to love and accept themselves as perfectly imperfect as they are. That is how my fashion blogging began.
Similarly, I chose to pursue modeling because I feel that the industry ignores a large percentage of women. I am often told I’m too small to be “plus sized” but too big to be a “Regular” model. That feeling of rejection from both sides fuels my passion for the inclusion of all bodies in the fashion industry. I have experienced too much body shaming and I’ve been called fat too many times in my short 20 years of life to be silenced. I identify as Plus sized and hope to represent a very real and under-represented group of women. We all come in different shapes, sizes, and shades. We only get one body so why not love the one we’ve got?
Your brands convey a lot of queening. How did you decide on the brand you wanted to create and the products that’ll come out of them?
One of the ways I remember to love myself is by carrying myself as a Queen and Royalty. Many cultural aspects influence this self-imagery and it transcends me and influences the content I create. That content is everything from my fashion, to my art, to the products sold by my sister and I(@CustomNaija). I chose the Instagram name WestafricanQueen back in high school and it has stuck with me for years now and become my brand.
My head wraps are a visual representation of my brand and royalty, not only do I sell them, I also wear them regularly; they are my crowns. They remind me of who I am. I sell them hoping they help other WOC feel beautiful and royal while spreading love and bringing black women closer to their culture. My crown has become my brand and my signature. I sign all my pieces (art) with a crown and my initials (@Queencreations_). I can be easily identified and spotted in a crowd by my vibrant Ankara crowns.
As far as CustomNaija goes, my sister and I choose products that we feel will help spread love, culture, and beauty to our customers. We also have a very personal connection with our customers and try to put out products that they love, want and request by communicating with our customers and taking custom orders.
As far as my blogging and Art goes I don’t really choose my content or products. I like to think they choose me. All of the things I do, outside of my academic life, are my artistic release and inspired by what I am going through, past experiences and just a general gut feeling. I share content that is organic and real for me and hope someone will identify with it or need it wherever they are in their life and journey.
In your opinion and insight, how do you think we can get other brands to embrace body positivity?
In my opinion, it starts with me. When I was younger I didn’t have the resources that are being created now that foster body positivity so I feel responsible for making resources and spaces for others to love and accept themselves. I feel like the more people that start to love themselves the more of a ripple effect it will cause. When someone sees you fearlessly accepting yourself, they feel they can do it too and if you can inspire just one person you have done a good job. I realize in this digital age I never know who is watching or who I am reaching so I try to put positivity and love into the world at all times because I never know who I am helping or inspiring.
Other brands will see the growing communities promoting self-love and body positivity and follow our lead. Brands focus on their consumers and if their audience is on board they will eventually have no choice but to adjust accordingly. As a society I also feel like we have to strongly stand against body shaming, we cannot accept or ignore hate we need to take an active role in speaking out against hatred.
Being Nigerian must have a lot of impact in your art and work. Can you specify moments, activities or products that have been from being Nigerian?
I am proudly Nigerian. You can take the girl out of Nigeria but you can’t take the Nigeria out of the girl lol. Everything is a product of my culture because it is so important to me and a big part of the woman I am. Whether it is my artwork, my fashion style, hairstyles or just my overall vibrancy… it is all inspired and rooted in my culture. Everything is created with some form of connection to my culture.
Going home always inspires me. The colors, the art, the energy, the people, the hustle it all inspires me and creates a fire within me to create. I create to feel close to home, I create to communicate my identity; I create the beauty I want to see in the world.
What does creativity mean to you and how do you ensure you are productive/accomplish your daily tasks?
I will try to keep this answer short because I could answer this question forever. Creativity means everything to me. Creativity means finding myself, sharing myself with the world, connecting and communicating with others, freedom of speech…. Creativity is my gift!
I’m filled with so many ideas and so much artistic energy so being creative in any way possible is my outlet. I struggle more with resting than ensuring productivity. I’m always creating in some shape or form. If I’m not painting on a canvas, I am doing my makeup or putting together an outfit to express the creativity I’m feeling in the moment. If I’m not drawing on a sketchpad, I am creating digital art on my computer using one of my Adobe products or changing my hairstyle or trying out a new head wrap style. I cannot hold all of my artistic energy inside so I find some form of an outlet regularly.
Being in school pursuing a nursing degree (BSN) I am not always able to express myself in the way I want so I have to get creative while finding a balance between academics and creativity. Having 2 planners and 3 or 4 calendars helps me plan when I can be artistic, study time and when I need to sleep. I honestly do not feel like I have enough hours in the day. I carry journals all the time and utilize the notes in my phone because I get inspired at the most random times and I do not like to lose any inspiration. I rely heavily on my phone’s calendar and the planners I mentioned to accomplish daily tasks because at times my mind is chaotic due to the high volumes of ideas and thoughts I have on a daily basis.
Tell us about 3 Women you admire.
Picking just 3 is so hard for me because Women are so powerful and my main source of inspiration! I will say I admire all women fearlessly pursuing their dreams, loving themselves and being bosses despite the world telling them otherwise.
1. Always and forever my older sister, my confidant, my biggest cheerleader, my inspiration, my business partner, my mentor, my world! If you are reading this THANK YOU! You have always allowed me to be myself unapologetically. No idea has been too crazy, no dream too big, no emotion invalid. You have been with me every step of the way, through every version of myself. Thank you for teaching me a thing or two about fashion back when all I wanted to do was hide in baggy clothes, believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and for seeing so much in me when I didn’t see it in myself. Thank you for paying it forward. I admire your resilience, your intelligence, your beauty and vulnerability. You are a light, you are my best friend and I couldn’t do any of the things I do without you by my side.
2. SZA (Solana Imani Rowe)
I’m a huge fan! I’ve been listening to her music since her first Soundcloud EP, See.SZA.Run, 5 years ago. I absolutely love her music, her style, her presence and how organic she is. Through her music, stage presence and social media I feel like she has effectively connected with me and her other fans. I admire how she has taken us along on her journey through life as she finds herself, grows and changes. I hope to do the something very similar with my followers and connect with my audience in a very real way. I could go on and on just know I’m a big fan.
3. Danielle Brooks
Carefree Black Girl I admire her confidence! I love her style; she is gorgeous, funny, intelligent and so body positive! She is inspirational to me, I strive to be as bold and confident as her. She brings so much energy to everything she does and is truly multifaceted. Did I mention I love her style? She slays me daily!
Just to name a few, my list is endless.
3 favorite websites and books.
My favorite book right now is ‘Americanah’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I also really love ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ by Maya Angelou
An all-time favorite is ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua Achebe
Some websites I love are:
My very inspirational friend’s blog The Odditty
YouTube of course, for all the endless hair, makeup, haul and blog videos.
My collection of online shopping sites because I cant pick one (Fashionnova, Boohoo, F21…)