Johnny crooner and Mama Africa, Yemi Alade, talks about her style in an exclusive interview with Nonye Ben-Nwankwo.
When it comes to hairstyle, this is what I know. I don’t know how to take care of weaves and hair extensions. If a stylist isn’t there, my hair would turn out horrible, I would look like somebody who just got hit by a car. I may have everything I need to make the hair look good but once I am the one doing it, it can never work. I decided to go natural and since then, I am fine. I sleep and wake up and just do a bit of touch up and I am fine. It suits me and I love it.
Are you saying you may not be seen wearing hair extensions?
I do wear sometimes but just know there is a stylist beside me. I will not be the person that will take care of that hair, no way!
Is it because of your music that you dress African?
I started acquiring African wear about four years ago. I never had any African outfit. When I started this career and I needed to explore, I found out that most of the western clothes are basic. With Ankara, you can find varieties in patterns. I decided to go for creativity. I wanted to create my stuff. That was how the love for ankara started. It has worked for me all this while. It is actually entertaining me. Maybe if I get bored, I might look for another style. But I doubt it; Ankara is a very lovely fabric.
Are there specific stuff you can’t wear?
I don’t trust myself. I can wear anything. But you cannot catch me in my birthday suit. There is no way you will see me 100 per cent naked. That will be too much. Nonetheless, expect anything with Yemi Alade.
Is that why you love wearing shorts?
I do love wearing shorts. They allow you express yourself and people can see what you are doing with your legs when you are wearing shorts especially when you are dancing. Shorts keep me comfortable. I am energetic on stage because I eat well. You can’t dance well if you don’t eat. Being happy with what I am doing also makes me dance so well. I also try to keep fit. You need all the energy if you must be on the stage performing for almost two hours. It is my joy when people feel the energy and sing along with me.
How long does it take you to dress up?
When I really need to make up, I need at least an hour to do that and it takes me less than no time to put on my clothes. But when I don’t have to wear so much make up, I am done in less than 30 minutes.
Do you wear make up all the time?
No. This is the first time I am making up in almost two weeks. Make-up is a lot of work whether you are the one applying it or somebody is making you up.
Do you usually engage the services of a make-up artiste?
I can make myself up but I purposely choose not to especially during my video shoot. I don’t have to spend all that time making myself up and I will still be the same person that will go and dance and exert all that energy; that will be too much stress.
How long do you carry a particular hair-do?
I have asked myself this question again and again. I had no idea that I make so many hair dos in a month. At times I make four hair styles in a month.
Does it cost you much?
At times it does. It actually depends on the event I am attending. But then, it is not always about how much the stuff cost but how well you wear it. Somebody can wear a designer shirt and it would look like ‘bend down select’ while another person can wear same second hand shirt and it would look like a designer label.
Are there times you dress up and you regret wearing such getup?
It happens sometimes like when you expect to be free in a dress and you realise the dress keeps rising up. It can be very uncomfortable.
Do you always get your acts together on the red carpet?
I have to. When you are on red carpet, you can’t walk back.
Do you dress well primarily because you are a singer?
I love looking good naturally. I am in the public eye so it is important I look good. So many people have me as their role model. There is also a saying that you should dress how you wish to be addressed. As a role model and business woman, I will not show up looking like somebody who doesn’t have a home. But the career I am into encourages me to put a little more effort. I am a shorts and tank top kind of person but I can’t do that now.
There was a time you wore blue hair, was it part of the showbiz stuff?
It was my idea. I will soon do orange hair. I have done purple. I like colours not only in my hair but in everything I wear.
What other fashion accessory do you love?
I love shoes. I have stopped counting the number of shoes I have. But shoes are never enough for every woman. But my fashion fetish is sunglasses.
Don’t you love gold jewellery?
I don’t have any. My mum has quite a number of them but I don’t have. I know gold is expensive and some people see it as investment. But to me, it is just jewellery. It is even boring, it is just gold, it is just there and would even select your clothes.