#YemziGirl Feature 17 (July) - Tania, Graphic Design Student & YouTuber from Benin
1. Please can you introduce yourself including your name (and age if you comfortable)
Hi, my Name is Tania TEVOEDJRE and I’m 22 years old. I’m from Benin and I currently live in Paris. I’m a fashion and graphic design student and an Artistic Director to be (by God’s grace though lol). Apart from that, I’m also a fashion blogger and Youtuber.
2. Tell us about the dream you are pursuing…
My biggest dream is to become an amazing Artistic Director and establish a creative agency in my country (Benin). This is obviously a concept which does not exists yet in Benin so, I want to be the first to bring it and build something based on what I love and what I’m passionate about; fashion and design.
Our generation is filled with so many entrepreneurs, people who want to build, invent, create and bring new stuff to my dear continent Africa, and a lot of them do not have the means, or do not know how to make all of these projects visually interesting, attracting, etc. And that’s what I want to change. I want to be the person who give life, an identity, a story to all those projects.
Apart from that, I want to see the world. One of my other big dream is to travel, all over the world, discover and learn new things. I want to see as many countries as possible, because I personally think that evolving implies changing, learning and discovering. And the best way to do that for me is travel, as soon as possible. I may not afford to travel as often as I wish to today, but nothing is impossible, especially when you have God in your life. As we say, "You make your own luck," and that’s exactly what I try to do every single day.
3. Apart from following your dreams how do you stay fulfilled?
First thing first; God. Lol
I can’t say I’m the best christian ever. Far from that. But, all I know is that, everything I have, every opportunity, every blessing in my life comes from God. He’s the only one who knows what is good for me, what I need nor what I want, what I’m supposed to be or become, and he’s the only one who will always be by my side, no matter what I do. He’s there, even when you think he’s not. So, I let him take control, I let him guides me, and I try my best to always bring him in everything I do.
Also, doing what I love, and sharing it with my followers, friends, family, etc is for me a way to stay fulfilled. I try to go out often, meet new interesting people, see new things, and stay away from people who are not good for me or for my self-fulfilment and who do not support me or push me to become a better version of myself.
4. Which places do you call home and what do you love about those environments?
The one and only place I can really call home is definitely and obviously Benin. This is where I grew up, this where I come from, this where my parents live. It’s part of who I am.
Yes, I live in Paris now, but, it doesn’t really feel like home, since I know that I’m here only to get my degree and then go back. I do not see myself living in Paris forever.
So yes, Benin is definitely the place I would call Home.
What I love about Benin? Well…everything…lol
Maybe not EVERYTHING, but, I like the way I feel when I’m in Benin. It’s a small country, so everybody knows everybody. It’s like a big family. Lol
I love the weather (maybe not too much though, lol), I love the fact that in a few minutes you can go from urbanisation, city to little paradises with beaches and stuff.
I love the fact that in the same tinny country you have so many ethnicities, languages, cultures. I love the history of the country (even if a lot of people don’t actually knows it).
I love the fact that life can sometimes feels so much easier than in Europe for example. Anyway, I love so many things about Benin!
5. 3 things you love most about where you live?
I’ve been living in France for 5 years now, and in Paris for 2 years, and the 3 things I love about this city are, the fact that there is so many things to do, so many events to go to, actually, you never get bored in Paris. I love the fact that you have the possibility to travel in so many European countries for low prices, and finally, I love the food! Dah! French food is everything! Haha
6. When is it best in Paris, Cotonou and Dakar?
Personnally, I’m a heat person, I don’t like winter, since I grew up in a warm climate, so for me, Paris is definitely better in the summer. There are so many things to do, a lot of rooftop parties, walks in the parcs, festivals, etc…And I think visiting monuments and historic places is better when it’s sunny, especially for the photos, it’s better! lol
I prefer Cotonou during christmas holidays. One thing you have to know is that, to have fun in Benin, you must know people or have family there. If not, you can’t know where to go or what to do, and it can quickly become boring. Christmas holidays is the period when most Beninese come back to spend the end of the year with their family, so everyone is there! And since last year, we have our own fashion week now, and it’s actually in December! Also, summer time here is actually rainy season in Benin,so yeah, December is for me the best period to come to Cotonou.
I lived in Dakar for one year only but it was the best year of my life! I went to high school there and it wasn't even as fancy as it is today at the time! But still! I fell in love with this city!
I haven’t had the time to go back there since, but it’s definitely on my bucket list!
I think, Dakar is good all year! Lol, whenever you want to go to Dakar, GO! There are so many things to do and see!
7. Where is your happy face?
My year in Dakar was the best year of my life! So I think if I go back, it’ll still be an amazing experience! So, I think my happy face is in Senegal somehow. Even if Benin is my home, Dakar has something magical! And I can’t wait to relive it again, especially now that I’m all grown up and craving for new experiences!
8. What makes you a #YemziGirl?
My love for Africa, Fashion, Design and Originality and my desire to become my own kind of amazing.
The fact that I do what I love no matter what people think and that I can be so strong and so vulnerable at the same time.
9. Do you have a favourite Yemzi piece of clothing or collection?
Your SS17 collection is definitely my fave! I do like colors, but I think that black is the ultimate classy color! And if I had to choose one piece of clothing, I think I’ll go for the boubou and the hight waisted pants!
10. Are you more of a plain or printed type of girl?
Both I guess. I love african prints! So much! But plain fabrics are kind of an everyday life choice. I don’t think I could be wearing prints ALL the time. So yes, both.
11. Can you explain your passion for design and fashion?
Frankly, I don’t even know how to explain it lol, I just love it. I’ve been loving it since I’m a kid. I knew I was going to work in fashion or design. I always knew that’s what I wanted to do and what I was good at. For me, fashion and design are everything. There are means to express yourself, where you come from etc. And what I like about these, it’s that, there are no limits. You can never stop creating in fashion and design, and nothing is too original. There are so many shapes, structures, shades, and all of it is driven by taste, history, culture. It’s amazing.
12.What is your favourite creation?
Wow…that’s a hard question…
I don’t think I have like ONE favourite creation. That’s the magic of fashion I guess. I love so many pieces, creations, etc…so I don’t know how to answer to this question…lol
13. How do you maintain your hair?
I just cut and dye my hair every two or three weeks. I even published an article on my blog where I explain all the process to obtain my haircut.
Between that, I just make sure that it is always moisturised and to use the right products to avoid, yellow reflects since I have blond hair. Extremely short hair does not requires a big hair care routine. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to cut my hair in the first place.
14. Nature or nurture?
Once again, both I think.
We all come from somewhere, with a background which defines us. But I truly think that nature can be changed by nurture, in other words, by what we go through, what we have seen and what we see during our life, what we experience. We don’t all come from the same country, family, we don’t all have the same genes, but we also don’t experience, learn, see the same things. So I think it’s the combination of those two factors that makes every human unique.
15. And finally, what's your favourite quote?
My favourite quote is quite long, since it’s more like a paragraph or something so pardon me, but I can’t cut it because it’s the whole idea of it which makes it so powerful:
"They keep saying that beautiful is something a girl needs to be. But honestly? Forget that. Don’t be beautiful. Be angry, be intelligent, be witty; be klutzy, be interesting, be funny, be adventurous, be crazy, be talented. There are an eternity of other things to be other than beautiful. And what is beautiful anyway but a set of letters strung together to make a word? Be your own definition of amazing, always. That is so much more important than anything beautiful, ever." - Nikita Gill