Efe Asagba, also known as Twizei, is an 18 year old with his own sense of style and direction. He was born in Bowie, Maryland, but moved back to homeland Lagos, Nigeria, where he resided until finishing high school. He is currently based in Houston, Texas.
Asagba has always been into fashion since he was a little kid. He always won best dressed awards at every institution he’s attended and is often commended for his style. When he moved back to the states, he saw people posting outfits on Instagram and envisioned himself influencing people’s style through pictures. He began posting pictures on his Instagram page, mixing streetwear with high end fashion.
Modeling wasn’t Asagba’s initial goal, but various brands started asking him to model for them and that’s how it all started. Since then he’s been freelancing and recently just finished a Nike commercial and a Jordan campaign in Los Angeles.
I had the privilege of getting to know Asagba below.
Since I was little, I always wanted to do many things.
What is the meaning behind the name Twizei?
My real name is Efe Asagba, but I got the name Twizei when I was nine years old. I remember my friends and I trying to form a little group and we had to come up with nicknames and I just came up with Twizei because I thought it sounded cool. It doesn’t really have a meaning to it, it’s just something I ran with ever since.
You mentioned living in Lagos, and then moving back to the states. Would you say there are any differences in the locations?
Yes, I was born in Bowie, Maryland, but I moved back to Lagos and lived there for 16 years, but I always visited the United States and travelled to different countries every holiday. I’ll say my visit to the U.S. in 2010 had a huge influence on me because that was when I found out about the New Boyz and Ranger$ (during the jerking era), who had a huge impact on my style. I would say the main thing that differentiates these two areas is the culture. Every country has its own culture/traditions that makes it different from others.
Did you favor one location over the other or felt as if each area served its own purpose in your life?
I feel that each area served its own purpose in my life because when I was in Nigeria I really got to learn more about my culture and now that I’m here, I’m experiencing something different. I think having these two different experiences really had a huge influence on me as a person. They have both influenced my thinking, style and other aspects of my life, so I would say each area has served its purpose in my life.
Besides modeling, I’m sure that you have other endeavors and interests. Tell us a little bit about those.
Modeling initially wasn’t my passion until I started posting pictures on the internet and brands started reaching out to me and I decided to give it a shot. Since I was little, I always wanted to do many things. I get inspired from different fields and I’m like why not give it a shot and along the line I’ll know what I’m truly passionate about. Right now, I’m working on some clothes and recently started styling. I’m also a songwriter.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about you just from looking at your Instagram.
Hmmm, something I don’t think my audience would know is how funny I am. I don’t really show that side of me on social media. I just post and leave because I try my best not to stay on social media for too long. It’s funny that people think I’m in my twenties but I recently just turned 18. I have no idea why they’ll think so.
You’re not just a model – you’re also a student. How do you manage pursuing your passion while investing in your education and what are the pros and cons of doing so, if any?
Yes, I’m currently a junior in college. I started college really early because of the education system in Nigeria. I finished high school at 15/16 and started university immediately after. Mixing school and modeling has been really difficult but education is very important so I prioritize and manage my time properly. Sometimes I miss out on a lot of gigs because of the workload at school and the need to be present in class for attendance points. Last semester, I went to Los Angeles 11 times and was in New York for fashion week. Thankfully, my friends helped me catch up on school work so it’s very important to have a good support system.
As a model, you’re familiar with brands. You’ve also modeled for famous brands such as Nike and Jordan. Would you say that you have a few favorite brands that you personally resonate with?
Yes, I just did a Nike/Jordan campaign and also an ad for Footlocker just before the end of last year and I would say that I’m super grateful for these opportunities and to be a part of them. I don’t often wear name brands; you’ll mostly catch me in Saint Laurent and Balenciaga and also clothes that I design. I get my clothes from vintage shops and thrift stores or I make them. But the two brands I resonate with are Balenciaga and Saint Laurent.
Why do you resonate with them?
The reason I resonate with these brands are because of the uniqueness of the clothes and
because the creative direction is fascinating.
What would be your dream modeling gig? Who would you like to work with?
I would love to work with Balenciaga, Off-white, Dior, and Alyx Studio.
What are some things you like about the modeling industry? What are some things that you dislike or would like to change?
Something I like about the industry is the fact that you get to work with creatives from
different parts of the world and also connect with them. My mentor once said, “Your network is your net worth.” I also like the traveling aspect of it, because you get to travel and experience different cities and cultures. The only thing I can say I don’t like about the industry is the politics in it and also the fact that people try to take advantage of you, especially if you’re a freelancer.
It’s a new year, meaning new opportunities. What are your plans for 2019? Any expectations or goals?
I am staying extra focused in order to fulfill my dreams because this generation is full of
distractions and I won’t be entertaining any of that this year. My ultimate goal for the year is to organize an event in Nigeria at the end of the year that brings all the young creatives together.
Any final words or shoutouts that you’d like to make?
I want to give a shout out to my parents for always being there for me and also to my friend, Benson, for being a truly supportive friend. Not all friends are happy to see you win but this is one guy I know gets more excited than me on my achievements. My final words will be to stay true to yourself, and don’t rely on anyone for your success. You’re responsible for your own life.