10 things you should know about wilson oryema

Meet model-artist-humanitarian-blogger who might one day take over the world.

by Georgie Bretherton
01 August 2016, 11:22pm

Wales Bonner spring/summer 17

Wilson Oryema is the self-styled creative set to take the world by storm. Born and bred in South West London, Wilson was scouted two years ago while out on his lunch break, and his career has skyrocketed ever since. Prolific menswear designer Grace Wales Bonner has championed him as a muse, and the model has already walked for Maison Margiela. He most recently appeared in Calvin Klein's autumn/winter 16 campaign alongside the likes of Kate Moss, Frank Ocean and Cameron Dallas shot by i-D fave Tyrone Lebon. Not bad, huh? He's also delightfully charming.

An embodiment of the artist-slash-model hybrid, Wilson's just finished working on a short film about matriarchal societies, and he's currently working on group project that focuses on the illusion of freewill. Yet his ventures don't stop there. The model also works with the Black Cultural Archives' Youth Forum, working to preserve black heritage in Britain, and is a volunteer blogger for the charity Raise the Roof, which focuses on sustaining locally run projects in Kenya. Here are 10 things you should know about the up and coming model-artist-humanitarian-blogger.

Calvin Klein autumn/winter 16

1. He's a South West London boy through and through...
"I was born and raised in South West London. Originally living in Clapham, my immediate family then moved to Brixton when I was 3 years old. I have lived in the area ever since."

2. He hit the jackpot while working for Maison Margiela...
"I was street-cast while on my lunch break at a former job for a Margiela show two years ago, and it's snowballed ever since."

3. When he was cast for the Calvin Klein campaign, he almost screamed...
"It was incredible! I didn't ever seriously see myself doing a CK campaign (as with any of the campaigns I've done). Tyrone is one of my favourite photographers to work with, so when I first got the email I almost screamed... From travelling to LA, to being on set with the team and so on, it was very surreal. It is a shoot that I'm very grateful to have done."

4. He sees Grace Wales Bonner as an older sister...
"Working with Grace is something I deeply enjoy. I've known her for two years now. It's been a blessing to be able to work with her and the rest of the team for so long. And even beyond modelling, Grace is like an older sister to me. Both directly and indirectly she's been a massive influence and inspiration in my life."

5. Things didn't always go to plan for him, but he's happy with how it turned out...
"When I was 16, I had the idea to take a year out of school to focus on graphic design and then go to a specialised design school the following year. However, I was advised to go to any college straight away, where I didn't have an interest to study any of the available courses. Fast-forward a year and I had left college early with nothing to show for it and so I was unable to go to my intended school. That said if things had happened differently I wouldn't be where I am today, so I have no complaints. But the whole experience taught me to trust in myself a lot more."

Claire Barrow autumn/winter 16

6. He is certainly not just a pretty face...
"At the moment I am working on art projects around the themes of matriarchy and free will. I create digital illustrations and photo manipulations from time to time, that I upload to my website. I also recently started an SEO agency. This entails getting client businesses to the first page on search engines, which will in turn lead to more traffic and revenue for their business."

7. He has an interest in Sutra - the religious teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism…
"The most important lesson I ever learned was something I found in the "Sutra of Innumerable Meanings". In short, the lesson was that everything everywhere is constantly changing all the time. So, even with receiving advice and applying it, you have to be very wary as what worked well 10 years ago may not work this year, or even what worked yesterday may not work today."

8. If his life was made into a movie...
"I would prefer an animated movie rather than live action."

9. The people who inspire him are...
"Grace Wales Bonner, Arca, Jesse Kanda, and Elon Musk. There are a lot more I could name, but to generalise, anyone that makes me question, "Am I doing enough with my time here?""

10. If he had one wish it would be...
"Freedom of expression for all."


Text Georgie Bretherton

Grace Wales Bonner
wilson oryema