By Zakkiyyah Najeebah
I vividly remember meeting Fola at our Food Church event in NYC last summer. I was drawn to that gorgeous smile, and of course her effortless style. But I was more so appreciative of the confidence she carried, and the unapologetic tone she spoke with during our dialogue that night. Fola exudes the type of fearlessness that inspires other black women and women of color to affirm themselves, and the lives they seek to lead. For black women, it’s crucial that fearlessness and confidence is a central part to our well being and the actions we lead.
Over the years, Fola has cultivated her voice and presence as an artist, designer, model and entrepreneur. She shares and chronicles her creative endeavours through her beautifully engaging online platform Love Fola. Fola exemplifies that beauty isn’t merely an aesthetic or presentation that one carries, but rather an internalized way of being, and the confidence you cultivate with it.
Who is Folasade?
I was born in Nigeria, raised in Toronto and have been residing in New York City for about 10 years now. I am a multifaceted person. I am not just one thing. I don’t like when people tell me to stick to one thing. I help entrepreneurs strengthen their brand identity so they can reach their ideal target market, on one hand I create digital collages that interrogate themes of sexuality and womanhood, fame and privateness, exoticism, and African diasporic identity, and on another hand I show the world what a black woman who is comfortable in her own skin looks like. I accomplish this by modeling.
What does Black Girl In Om mean to you?
To me it means a space for women that look like me to explore peace and spirituality.
How do you identify with Black Girl In Om's mission?
I identify with it because the mission caters to women like me. I remember going to your dinner event in New York. It was amazing to be surrounded by like minded beautiful black women.
What are your self-care and self-love practices?
Honestly, I have to be better in that department. I do love to travel. When I travel I am refreshed. I see the world in a different light. I am inspired by my experiences and the people I meet along my journeys.
What's one ritual you recommend more women of color adopt to cultivate inner beauty and wellness?
I think it’s something very simple that we should do everyday the moment we step into the bathroom for the first time. Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful. Society has done a good job destroying our image and our confidence. If you google image beauty, all you will find is white women. By telling yourself that you’re beautiful, I believe that you already started the first step of not subscribing to society’s definition of beauty is.
What's one wellness product you can't live without?
I make an awesome shea butter recipe. It’s made with coconut oil, olive oil, infused herbal almond oil, manuka honey and a few drops of tea tree, frankincense and lavender oils. All of these ingredients having natural healing and soothing properties. I usually have a small jar with me at all times.
We’ve been keeping up with all things Fola, and really appreciate the visual journey of your travels! You recently ventured to Nigeria and Senegal! What were your most fulfilling experiences?
In Senegal, I worked with Seed Project, a nonprofit organization that uses basketball and education to shape the next generation of African leaders. I visited their campus and put together a female empowerment workshop for their girls team. One of the best experience of my life. I can’t wait to share more of the project once it’s ready to be released.
In Nigeria, spending time with my family and friends is always an amazing time for me. I also got to spend time with my good friend Yagazie.
Never give up on the dream. We are currently the fastest growing entrepreneurs in America. Our dreams are powerful, it’s never too late to make them come true. We need more dreams to come true!
Would you care to share or mention any projects or ventures you have coming up soon? I’m sure our community would love to know!
I’ve mentioned my project with Seed Project. I’m really excited to release that. We have a few Open Space events happening this summer and our Pop Up is happening in September. I’m teaching my very first entrepreneurial workshop. Everything right now is very exciting for me.