EKU EDEWOR IS…
among the most original and captivating creatives to emerge in the African media and fashion industry in recent years. In just over two years, the 25-year-old mixed race Nigerian has carved out a flourishing career as a presenter, model, actress and producer in her native country, Nigeria, where she co-presents the hit lifestyle magazine show, 53 Extra shown on South Africa Entertainment network M-NET. Not surprising given her first high-profile TV appearance was on Britain’s Next Top Model Cycle 2.
Raised in Nigeria, Edewor left her homeland as a child for Benenden Girls boarding school in England. After her A-levels she attended Warwick University where she obtained a BA Hons in Literature and Theatre Studies in 2008. After a year in New York studying at New York Film Academy, she moved back to Lagos, and it wasn’t long before she got the chance to showcase her talent.
Championing Nigerian luxury brands such as Jewel by Lisa, Bunmi Olaye; formerly of Bunmi Koko, Maki Oh, Bridget Awosika and Tsemaye Binitie among many others, Edewor is always resplendent in these home-grown labels as she is in international brands, which has catapulted the Sudio 53 Extra host into a bona fide style icon, exuding confidence and an individual style sensibility that is admired, emulated and widely documented. Social media has contributed to her visibility and success – she’s a constant feature on blogs and magazines alike. But what of the woman behind the delectable fashion ensembles and beyond the TV screen?
On the day that we met, back in February, Edewor looked like any other twenty-something young woman, dressed in skinny jeans, a nautical t-shirt and white plimsolls she sprightly strides into Paris Deli in Victoria Island, Lagos. It’s not long before we’re chatting like old friends, naturally bonding over our love of fashion – we have an affection for the same brands- Isabel Marant, Rick Owen, Jewel by Lisa, Maki Oh, and we shop at the same boutiques and department stores in London. Eating a panini and cheerfully answering our questions, it’s easy to see why people like her – she’s unpretentious, warm and endearing.
So without further ado we give you Eku Edewor!
It’s all in the name…
Who is the real Eku Edewor?
The real Eku Edewor, urm hard working I guess but also quite chilled when I’m alone. You know like a normal 25 year old girl, I like to get my nails done, read, spend time with my friends, eat! I’m very close to my family, I love Lagos and I love London with me what you get is what you see but, maybe not what you perceive.
You are known to some as Georgie but over here (Nigeria) you are known as Eku Edewor
Eku is actually my middle name, it’s also the name of the village where I’m from my Granddad gave me that name. When I auditioned for MNET I think because of the way I looked, because I’m quite fairer than the average Nigerian and also I have a very English name. So I think for an African show I thought it was better that I appeal to the African side and stuck with Eku Edewor.
What you get is what you see…
How do you think people read you?
As a socialite I think. I think a lot of people have impressions about me from tabloids. So they have impressions about the way I’m dressed, that I’m the girl who attends all the best parties, initially people didn’t realise that I had a job and that’s why I attended these parties. It’s rare that I go out, unless for a job because if I’m not working, then I stay at home.
There’s a lot of speculation about your ethnic background, how would you describe yourself?
I would describe myself as mixed, my mum is Nigerian and we’re from Delta (Delta State) and my dad is English but I think I’ve always stayed more to my Nigerian side because I grew up here. I’ve never known my dad to live in England. He met my mum here; a British man ingrained in the Nigerian system and I can’t see him going back. So I’m very much Nigerian as well as British.
Family is everything…
You mentioned that you’re very close to your family and we all know that you’re a twin, how close are you?
We’re really close. We’re each other’s best friends. We spent everyday of our lives together until we were 18 and then we went to different universities and since then our lives have gone in different directions. She lives in London, and works in fashion but in a way it’s still very related, I love fashion but I just wouldn’t work in the fashion industry. I’m also very close to my mum I get a lot of my work ethos from her, because she’s always been a working mum, she had several businesses that she set up on her own.
Getting the dream job…
What was your prayer the night before you started Studio 53?
Things have been working in your favour since you landed the dream role, you’re only 25 and you’ve done really well, how have you been able to achieve this and stay so consistent?
It’s really interesting because I didn’t really pay attention to the media stuff. I kept focused on the job. For me looking a certain way, I always had my own style, so I was more focus on the job and everything else just came without even realising that I would become so popular with the press. I had some reservations at first that Nigerians would say, “Oh she’s not Nigerian enough, she’s too English because of her accent.” I’ve seen that a lot here, I think women give each other a lot of negative press. I just focus on the job and get it done because the logistics here can make you loose your cool.
What does Nigeria offer in terms of media coverage that you haven’t seen elsewhere?
I think what Nigeria definitely has is a close touch with its audience because there’s always events here. So I think media coverage is a dialogue of things happening and not just about people’s personal lives. One thing we don’t have here is that paparazzi culture, where people are hounding you down and you step out for a coffee and people are like OMG she looks horrible!
Her thoughts on the fuel subsidy …
I do think the riots were definitely the voice of the unheard and I do think these things are reactive to real problems. These are the problems that Nigerians face everyday. I think people have a voice and people should be allowed to express that.
I want to be FASHION…
So who are your favourite designers?
Where do you shop in Lagos?
If I see something I like I just hunt it down, I bought a Bumni Koko outfit when she was just doing a pop up shop, Temple Muse is like a concession store so I can just go in there and find pieces. I really don’t shop for high street stuff here, everything I buy is like a piece.
Where do you shop in London?
Zara, H&M, Brown Focus, Harvey Nichols, and sometimes just walking around and finding boutiques.
What we’ve always wanted to know…
How do you maintain your skin here?
At the moment I’m using Kiehl’s the clear refining stuff. I always use really good make -up I’ve always felt that is really key in maintaining my skin. I use Becca they should make me their spokesperson!
Bella Naija, The Satorialist, Karla’s Closest,
Who are your favourite African Blogs?
One Nigerian Boy, Neks2u, 360 and I love your blog!
Finish the question …if I wasn’t a TV presenter I would be?
A lawyer, I am very argumentative!