“I am from Switzerland but my mom is half Nigerian. She used to do modeling so I also dreamed about becoming a model when I was a kid.
I think it was my way of feeling closer to her because I didn’t grow up with her. Later on modeling was never in my plans. When I started at 27 years old, it all happened by coincidence. At the time I was going to university studying sociology and intending to move to Berlin. My old friend became a booker in a Berlin based model agency IZAIO and wanted to sign me. I said yes and they sent me to Paris for the fashion week castings.
My first job was a show for Jean Paul Gaultier. It was crazy. I had the casting at 1 am and to be honest I think I was a bit drunk when I went there. Jean Paul himself was there and told me I got the job. The show was on the next day. It didn’t compute in my head at all what I was actually doing.
When I walked for Givenchy last February, it was the first time I walked for men’s fashion week. All the boys in the show, throughout the castings and fittings, thought I was just working for the house. At some point I had to tell them I was a model, not a stylist. After that I shot my first editorial for Numéro and it was menswear as well.
I do prefer working as a male model because I feel much more comfortable in menswear. For me it just makes more sense.It is hard to understand that people don’t always know if I am a girl or a boy. I feel like a girl and for me it is an obvious thing. When I walk on the street here in Paris, they stop me saying ”monsieur”. It happens so often I’ve stopped explaining myself already.
When I was younger, I tried to look girly and kept my hair long even though it didn’t feel right. It wasn’t until years later when I moved to New York that I realized nobody really cared how I looked like. I could just be me.
In New York I also learned to be ok with my sexuality. I think I knew I was gay for a long time but I fought it. I just couldn’t relate to the rough and manly image I had of gay women. During the 3 years I spent in New York I learned that I can be whatever I am and like whoever I want; male, female, it’s all the same.
I wish I can be an example for young people who are in the same situation as I was at 17, struggling with my identity. If I can make it easier for someone, to make them realize they are totally normal, this is definitely worth it. It is also important to me that I am not all about my sexuality. I am not Tamy and gay. Gender and sexuality should be things that don’t matter. They exist as a part of me, that’s all. It has been a mission of mine to show that gender is just a cultural thing. The fact that some things are thought to be feminine or masculine is just about how we were brought up.”