Allure Cover: Princess Ronke Ademiluyi – Passionate about Africa
By Yemisi Suleiman
Princess Ronke Ademiluyi is the Global Ambassador of Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative and the creative mind behind Moremi the Musicals, a stage show which dwells on the life of Queen Moremi.
An advocate of the African brand, Ronke has worked on several projects promoting African culture, a knack which led to the birth of Africa Fashion Week London and Nigeria.
For Princess Ademiluyi, taking Queen Moremi The Musical to the theatre tells the story of Moremi in a way that it appeals to the new generation of millennials. She tells us more on the initiative, what to expect at the Fashion weeks this year, her dress sense and more.
What is your role as the global ambassador of Moremi?
My role as the global ambassador of Queen Moremi Ajasoro, QMA initiatives, founded in 2016 under the house of Oduduwa foundation, the Imperial Majesty the Oni of Ife, is to collaborate, come out with strategic ideas to enhance the brand. To inform the younger generation about the role that Queen Moremi played to seek global partnership as well, outside of Nigeria. In other words, create awareness, and promote the Queen Moremi initiative.
Why is it necessary to do that?
It is necessary because she was a role model; the story of Moremi is the story of great bravery and leadership; what makes it unique is that she was a woman. So we are using the account of Moremi, we are reinventing it in a way that it is appealing to the younger generation. We want them to see her as a role model; we want her story to impact on them, we also want to use it to encourage young women to take up leadership roles because she was a great leader, a true leader. Great leaders will always put the love of their people and their countries before themselves, and that is what Moremi did, and we are trying to encourage that in society.
The Moremi musicals was it your idea, your concept?
Under Queen Moremi Initiative we have a lot of projects that we are doing, so we started with the cultural and leadership pageant in 2016, and in 2018, in collaboration with the Obafemi Awolowo University we launched the book on Queen Moremi Ajasoro, which we intend to distribute to schools across Nigeria as a literature book. Moremi the musical is the third of the projects that we are doing, we have more to come. We just launched the Moremi barbie doll in collaboration with Taofiq Okoya, so we have many projects initiative.
Tell us more about the Moremi doll?
The story of Moremi happened 1700 years ago; if you are telling a child of five or ten years about a story that happened 1700 years ago, they are not going to be interested, so you have to make it in a way to make it appeal to them. But we did the Musical 2017 December, a generation that has never heard about Moremi before bought into it and are learning more about her legacies.
The Africa Fashion Week London is in its ninth year, as founder and initiator of the project what should we expect this year?
Our 9th anniversary is on the 9th and 10th August, this year, we are going to have the usual about 55 designers from South Africa, Botswana, Benin Republic, Nigeria, Morocco and more. We have about 20 Africa countries that are going to be represented, in addition to that, we have our exhibitors as well, and we are having our South African delegation coming this year with about 12 designers.
This year we are also adding Africa food village, about ten countries are going to be present. It is going to cut across different food from different African countries so that people can taste various food from Africa.
We are also going to have a celebrity charity fashion show in collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Foundation in the UK. It will feature celebrity designers and stars on the runway.
Did you say, celebrity designers? Who are the designers we should be looking out?
We have some international celebrity designers that we do not want to disclose yet. From Nigeria, we have Signature Secrets, Sister by Eyoro, Beca Apparel, Jesu Segun and we have our regular Nigerian designers who always support us; they are all attending African fashion week this year.
Last year there were complaints about how the exhibition centre was set up, and a lot of people didn’t know that there was an exhibition going on, what are you doing to improve that?
Okay because African fashion week London is the most prominent African brand in the UK, sometimes we have an influx of designers who want to exhibit.
For the past two years, we have been at this venue where we are now. The market place I think that is where you are talking about, exhibitors don’t get visibility, so we have moved that to somewhere else within that vicinity and that space we are using for VIP corporate, so we have corporate organisations who we are partnering with us to give their people a taste of African would come.
So what is it like for you over these years, from African fashion week the UK to Africa fashion week Nigeria how have you been able to manage both?
Africa Fashion Week London has been on for nine years, while Africa Fashion Week has been on for six years and this year we have three new editions with our partners. We will be doing Africa Fashion Week Atlanta, a partner in Dubai so we would have Africa Fashion Week Dubai, and also African fashion week in Jamaica. Each of them feeds off each other, and it is because of the awareness and the promotion, visibility that we give designers through our media partners like yourself.
So when you are not working, how do you take time out to relax?
I love sleeping; I try to sleep early, I sleep at about 9 pm, I enjoy my sleep, most times I wake up in the middle of the night to work at about 3 am after that I go back to sleep and wake up at about ten in the morning.
You know that there are a lot of fashion shows in Nigeria, so what would you say you have done differently with the Africa Fashion Week?
Africa fashion week is the pioneer fashion week, remember when we started, there were no other Africa fashion week, they have all emerged from the back of the Africa fashion week Nigeria, so we must have been doing something right for a lot of people to want to jump on the bandwagon and do what we are doing. So we are the pioneer fashion week, we have a platform for celebrities catwalk, designers, for established designers, aspiring and emerging new designers in the fashion industry. We run a comprehensive platform, and we accommodate everyone who we think is interested in fashion and who has the possibility of making it in the fashion industry. The same thing with our models, every year we have new models on the catwalk, fresh faces within the modelling industry that we discover and promote. So for me, our platform us like a springboard, for models, makeup artist, for hairstylist for everyone who wants to go into the fashion industry.
After the catwalk shows, what’s next? How does your platform help create visibility for designers?
During the Africa fashion week London, we have over ten thousand visitors who attend we have their database, and we promote our designers, our exhibitors, but we also expect the designers themselves to do PR for themselves, they should have social media pages, to help themselves, we can only assist.
It is not the role of the fashion week to do promotion and PR for designers. We create visibility and awareness through our various media partners who have been part of the Africa fashion week over the years.
As a promoter of African fashion, does it put you in a position to always want to wear African clothes?
It does yes, for someone who is promoting Africa fashion, I shouldn’t be seen wearing something else, maybe occasionally, but 90% of the time I wear an outfit that is made by African designers but I try to be patriotic, and I patronise them.
What do you like to wear when it comes to fashion?
Every year, I discover new designers, but I have my favourite, I wear Ade Bakare, Sister by Eyoro, these are designers from 2018 to 2019 it might change; I might discover new designers during the fashion week. I am very proactive, and if I see something, I like I wear it.
So generally what inspires you in life? What keeps you going?
To be able to enjoy what I am doing, not to go in the same direction that everybody is going but to take a step back and see if it is right for me and do it. I am passionate about Africa, Africa stories and that was why we started the Africa fashion week, been able to express ourselves and our culture through fashion. I moved further working with his Imperial Majesty Ooni if Ife on the Queen Moremi project which is going to evolve to some other things as well. So we are passionate about telling the Africa story.
Why is your hair always on warps?
I love the hair wrap it just makes me look so elegant, also as the global ambassador of Moremi, I have to portray the ethnic look, and I have mastered the art of hair wrapping,
What does Easter mean to you?
Easter is a famous festival of Christians as it celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In your opinion what is the significance of Easter?
It is Jesus Christ’s victory over death. So it’s a season of celebrating success and love.
How would you celebrate the season?
Moremi the Musical is back this Easter. Moremi for the Love of Ife saved her people so I will be celebrating Easter by showing a lot of love to humanity.
In what way?
I have an open mind, appreciating fellow human beings. My idea is to show love in general by accepting the fact that no one is perfect and by not being judgmental. I will volunteer my services where needed