What does Nigeria’s Sasha “First Lady of Hip-Hop” have in common with international celebrities like Queen Latifah, Brooke Shields and Kimora Lee? If you guessed her “height!,” you are correct. Queen Latifah is 5ft 10,’ Shields and Kimora Lee are both 6ft and Sasha is 5ft 10in.’ Height, however, is not the only thing Sasha shares with these celebrities. This Nigerian hip-hop queen also shares the ability to wear clothes that flatter her curvy on the top and bottom physique. It is indeed why she is a featured StyleStar on Ladybrille®Nigeria.
Briefly, the triple threat of beauty, brains (law graduate) and talent (musician and fashion designer) emerged on the music scene in 2001 competing and winning first runner up at University of Lagos’s Unilag’s ‘Girls Nite Out’ annual talent hunt. In 2002, she met and signed with Trybes Records and by 2003 had released her hit single “Emi Le Gan.” Sasha is the first female artist to be nominated from West Africa for the prestigious KORA awards and also the recent winner of “Best Female” 2009 Channel O Music Video Awards. She is now signed with Storm Records label.
We tracked the busy “First Lady of Hip-Hop” down and in a really relaxed, fun and straightforward style, learned all we could about her style sense and of course got tips on how to look and stay “fly” just like her! Enjoy.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Sasha, congrats on your recent win at the Channel O Music Video Awards! How did you feel standing on that stage to receive your award?
Sasha: WOW! I went through a range of emotions! From being shocked to excited to totally numb and finally just at peace. I felt like I was finally having my moment. (lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: The knee length neck flattering black dress with puffy sleeves you were wearing, who designed it?
Sasha: I designed it myself. It is an “Eclectic by Sasha” piece.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Before we really get into your style, what new projects do you have in the works in terms of music?
Sasha: There’s just so much going on right now it’s an exciting time in my career. The album “Sashaspeaks” will be out pretty soon. I’ve worked with some amazing artists so far: Sauce Kid, Omawumi and Dama Do Bling (Mozambique), to name a few. I’ve also worked on Jon (Naija Sings winner), Mo’ Cheddar and Pype’s upcoming projects, the video for my latest single “Making Money” will be released soon and followed closely by the remix video so I’m seriously on the grind. (lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Busy “gyal!”) Alright! Let’s really talk more fashion and style! From Cleopatra to Rihanna inspired you are always on point with your many hair styles. We are trying to catch up. (Lol!) Who is responsible for your “tight” hair styles?
Sasha: (Lol!) Well I get bored easily so it’s only natural that I experiment. It’s a lot of mix and match and Patrick and Bobby himself at Bobby’s signature are just as adventurous as I am so we rub minds and make it happen!
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: How would you describe your fashion style and what do you think it says about you?
Sasha: Hmmmmm . . . this is very cliché but I really think (a person’s) style is a reflection of their personality. I totally love to dress up and don’t like being in a box, so I try different looks but make sure it suits my figure and I feel like a million bucks! As for what it says about me, probably that Sasha is not afraid to be different!
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: From one tall girl to another, it can be a challenge atimes for tall girls to find clothes with the right fit. Where do you do most of your fashion shopping?
Sasha: I know right? One just has to think on their feet. I do my major shopping in the (United) States because there’s more variety and the clothes tend to run bigger and (more) appropriate for my figure. There are also a number of shops in Lagos I step into from time to time but I don’t have any hard and fast rules when all else fails I just make something. (Lol!) But if you’re like me then you have to be patient. I never just take something off a rack and I try everything to be sure it fits right before I buy it . . .
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What’s your favorite music video to date that you feel truly captures the essence of your style on and off stage?
Sasha: I’d have to say “Adara,” because I got to do a lot of role playing and share my introspective side as well!
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: I heard you are a designer. How long have you been designing?
Sasha: Yes o! “Eclectic” by Sasha, I think it’s safe to say I’ve been doing that for 5 years now.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What inspired you to start designing?
Sasha: To be honest I just got frustrated. I’m a very animated person and there were times I’d think up a performance and what I want to wear to bring it to life would be totally unavailable, and so I decided to start going to the fabric market and get it done myself. My mother had a fashion house while I was growing up called “Poise Fashions” so it wasn’t a totally new experience because I used to be buried in her catalogs back in the day but I still intend to get some professional training.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: With Nigeria’s design industry growing so rapidly, do you plan to launch a Sasha clothing line? As in make it official?
Sasah: Most definitely! I’m working very hard on building the brand and also in talks with a lot of people but my core focus is to provide beautiful and reasonably priced clothes for everyone, so with the grace of God look out for an “Eclectic” by Sasha retail store coming soon.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Amen to “providing reasonably priced clothes for everyone!”) Who is your favorite Nigerian designer and why?
Sasha: Hmmmm . . . I’d say it’s a tie between Deola Sagoe and Lanre Da Silva Ajaji. I absolutely love their styles. It’s different and adventurous and not everyone can pull it off; but I generally rep my Naija people so shout outs to everyone doing their thing and putting us on the map. . . I see you Jewel by Lisa!!!!!!!
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What improvements would you like to see in Nigeria’s fashion industry?
Sasha: I haven’t been to many fashion shows here so I can’t comment on that, but I suppose like every growing industry, I’d like to see it be more accessible around Nigeria and not just in Lagos and Abuja. I’d like to say well done to Wonuola Odunsi for starting Le Petit Marche (LPM) which has been a great networking experience for young designers and has opened doors to fresh ideas and additions to my wardrobe. (lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Speaking of Le Petit Marche), tell us some absolutely cute fashion boutiques or shops to check out in Naija?
Sasha: You definitely want to patronize Obinna of Greys Fashion. His cuts are absolutely amazing and he has great fabrics as well. Mimi’s Place is great too and although I keep postponing my visit there, you need to check out Liam’s Fashion and if you are into vintage clothing then of course you have to be at LPM, the last Sunday of every month at La Saison in Ikoyi.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Where is the best place to go get something as simple as eyebrows done?
Sasha: My makeup artist (Kashogi) does my eyebrows but the best lashes in Lagos are done by Nike Akande at Imagine Norman Williams Ikoyi.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: What about a great spa treatment in Naija?
Sasha: The “Day Spa” of course! It’s very private and their customer service is on point.
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: Your skin appears to always look well hydrated and blemish free. Share with us your skincare regime? Do you drink lots of water and eat your greens because if so, that is a hard act to follow. (Lol!)
Sasha: Wow thank you! It’s definitely the Grace of God oh! But when I’m being good I do drink a lot of water (its easy for me because I love water) and it’s not a myth if you wipe and wash all the make up off every night before you go to bed. You’ll see remarkable changes. I (also) use moisturizers and sunscreen before I put my make up on and the rest is just free styling. (Lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Nothing do you. (Lol!)) As Nigeria’s “First Lady of Hip-Hop,” you do not seem to be heavy on accessories. What is your rule on accessorizing an outfit?
Sasha: It’s easy to get carried away but I try to keep it simple. Coco Channel said it best, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.”
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (I have to sit up when you start quoting Coco Channel. (Lol!)) Would you give us three important fashion tips you feel every woman should know?
Sasha: (1) Know your body. Wear your clothes, don’t let your clothes wear you; (2) Be yourself. Don’t be a fashion victim. Just because it is in doesn’t mean it works for you;
and (3) always invest in a great pair of shoes you can afford and on a personal tip? You’re never fully dressed without a smile. (lol!)
LADYBRILLENigeria.com: (Yes indeed.) For anyone that ever finds themselves in the limelight (giving a speech, performing etc.), what is your number one tip on how to make sure they look well put together so they project confidence?
Sasha: That takes skills. I’m still learning myself but I think the most useful tip would be to take a deep breath and take your time. When people get nervous, there’s a tendency to try to rush through it and get it over with as soon as possible, so take a few moments to collect your thoughts. . .
Photocredit: Sasha, James Dekker, Bunmi Amosu, We Run Things, Bella Naija, Lara Rawa
~Interview by Uduak Oduok