Adesuwa Aighewi: "I’m starting to become the person I want to be"
The model and i-D Contributing Editor on having Rihanna as her biggest, and her plans for the year ahead.
This story originally appeared in i-D's 'Rihannazine' Special Edition, no. 01, 2020. Order your copy here. For this one-off project, Rihanna put a series of questions to the women shaping culture today, and invited them to share their visions for 2020.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hello, my name is Adesuwa Aighewi and I’m living my best life.
What do you think your biggest personal or professional success has been so far?
I think personal and professional success go hand in hand. I think that when you grow, or you try to chase a goal, you change with it as well. My biggest accomplishment so far is that I’m starting to become the person I want to be. I always wanted to be a master of my emotions, so I’ve started meditating. I wanted to be a sexy model, and here I am. I wanted to be a good friend, and I do that every day. I wanted to be a good daughter, and I am. My career has highlights every day, and they’re all so different. I was nominated for Model of the Year this year, which is crazy. It’s surreal. It’s cool! I was crying at the airport when I got the news.
What do you consider to be your biggest failure?
A lot of the things that people might consider failures, I don’t really. A lot of my tattoos are related to things I’ve accomplished, or moved past. At the time I thought of them as failures, but then I sort of translated it into something better. I tried to find the silver lining, and to make it a positive outcome.
As we’re heading into 2020, what are you taking with you into this year, and what are you leaving behind in 2019?
I’m excited for 2020! First of all, I’m giving away all my clothes. My body is ready, my soul is ready. It’s the end of a decade. It’s the year you see past the bullshit. I want to quit smoking! I want to be the healthiest, I want to kick ass and be happy and make everyone around me happy. It’ll be dope.
You must have met Rihanna before. What’s she like?
She’s an entity. She’s very powerful. Not just in terms of what she’s done, but in terms of her energy. A couple of months ago she launched her collection for LVMH, and I got a text saying, “Do you want to come to Rihanna’s party in Paris?” And normally I would be like, no way am I flying to get to a party, because I’m the laziest. But it’s Rihanna. So I got on the plane – it was me and Paloma Elsesser – we got to the party and Rihanna said “Adesuwa, I’m your biggest fan!”
What was it like when she said that?
I mean, what would you say? What do you say if Rihanna says you’re cool?
If you could ask Rihanna one question, what would it be?
What would a perfect Rihanna world look like?
What do you think she’d say?
A lot of booty shaking. A lot of sunshine, a lot of music, a lot of dancing. A place where people have the freedom to be who they are, and respect each other.
Photography Mario Sorrenti
Styling Carlos Nazario
Hair AKKI at Art Partner using Oribe.
Make-up Kanako Takase at Streeters.
Nail technician Honey at Exposure NY using Tom Ford Beauty.
Set design Jack Flanagan at The Wall Group.
Lighting technician Lars Beaulieu.
Photography assistance Kotaro Kawashima, Javier Villegas and Jared Zegha.
Digital technician Johnny Vicari.
Styling assistance Raymond Gee, Erica Boisaubin and Christine Nicholson.
Tailor Thao Huynh.
Hair assistance Rei Kawauchi, Takao Hayashi and Motome Yamashita.
Make-up assistance Aimi Osada & Megumi Onishi.
Set design assistance Akaylah Reed and Joe Arai.
Production Katie Fash.
Production coordinator Layla Némejanski.
Production assistance Fujio Emura.
Casting director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCASTING.
Casting assistance Cicek Brown for DMCASTING.