Tea Time with Sana Akibu
Credentials: Nigerian Model, Celebrity Stylist, Designer of Sha’koju Clothing, and cast member of WE Tv’s Hustle & Soul
Photo Credit: @sanakibz
Caption: Maybe she’s born with it… maybe it’s #Maybelline 💄!! Super excited to have joined the @Maybelline Global Digital team💋! #beautymavin #nevernotworking #GodDey #Sanakibz #DMI . . . 📸: @oye_diran . . Styled by: @iamfanci Tube top & Skirt: @raaahlondon /@kachmeifyoucan_showroom Earrings: #vintage Hair: @mikeendraringgold
Reaction: Oh Hunni Slayyyy!
Tiffany (TheDollMob): I want to first thank you for coming and having a chat with the Dolls & I! Let me just start off our “Tea Time” by saying you are a beautifully made young woman. Not just your outer appearance…but your aura and persona are EVERYTHING.
Sana: Thank you so much for your kind words! I don’t always wake up like this! But regardless of what my outer appearance looks like, I try to make sure I stay beautifully grounded on the inside.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Speaking of Aura and Persona…from my understanding you began your modeling career in Maryland and moved to New York in 2013. Between then and now you’ve designed a clothing line. Had the opportunity to style celebrities. You’ve become a beauty influencer for buzzfeed.com and have worked with names such as Seventeen Magazine, Macys, Refinary29, Century 21, and many others. I’ve witness people who haven’t had half the opportunities you have fall into a Mariah Carey Attitude. How do you stay grounded?
Sana: Ha!! It’s always so funny to me when people break down my accomplishments like that, because I’m always focused on the next thing — my next project, business, brand, etc. I guess this mindset keeps me humble and grounded because my personal goals have not been met. Although from the outside I may be winning, I am still not where I want to be so it makes me feel as though I haven’t done much. Kind of a crazy logic, but regardless of the outcome/wins, my values and moral standpoint keeps me grateful and in check.
Tiffany (TheDollMob) In a 2015 video on your Youtube channel, you had a heart to heart with your viewers before showing them how to create their own vision board. Among the jewels you dropped you said “Stop trying to put things together and begin to put things into action”. Basically saying that you don’t have to have a complete blueprint to get started. First of all, let me say… I became a genuine fan from that 1 line. On to the question: How has your own advice from 2015 influenced where you are today?
Click here to view the video.
Sana: Hmmm… you just told an entrepreneur a possible venture! Ha, ha! Maybe I should make that into a shirt… want to partner up?! 😉 In all seriousness, I have always viewed my life as a work in progress. I have been given the opportunity to do so much in my life, and when I look back on it, I was never fully ready for anything that came my way. I may prepare for things a few days beforehand, but I never have it all the way together. This idea of needing everything to be JUST PERFECT can be crippling to some people due to the fear of “what will people say if it’s not right”, but if you always worry about that, then you will never start. With time and persistence comes growth… but you can’t grow if you are always waiting for the right moment to begin.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Side note: you are forever my girl for the Natural conditioner DIY video on your Youtube channel. I used the Grapeseed, Honey, and Rosemary recipe. It made my locs so soft and they smelled like heaven. In line with that I hear that you have a natural skin care line that’s launching this summer which I am super excited to get my peach almond shaped mani on. Tell us about it! Is it a full skin care line? Are you focusing on particular skin types/isses?
Sana: Thanks for watching my youtube videos! I plan to relaunch my channel in a few weeks. Just building up more content at the moment, but I will be showing folks how to make their own DIY skincare, hair care, ointments, juices, etc very soon. As for my skincare line, I plan to launch this Summer if all goes well with my manufacturer. I started the line in my New York kitchen back in 2015; however I want to expand and get into retailers by next year so I took a break to do things the more professional way. Handmade is all good— but when you have 30 orders to fill all by yourself, it can be tough! My arms can’t take it lol! Look out for that very soon! My primary focus will be preventative care, anti-aging, glowing skin, and hair treatments for multicultural women.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Hopefully you’ll send The Doll Mob a sample of the skin goodness to review (wink wink)! Can we expect any cosmetics from Sana in the future?
Sana: For sure! I’ll certainly send you some samples of skincare and hair care. I would love to one day have a full range beauty line that has something for everyone, even cosmetics, but for now skin is my thing!
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Skin is always in! Somewhat related, you once said your favorite pink lippie from NYX was Sweet Pink. That was about two years ago. What drugstore brand(s) are on your radar currently? Do you have a new favorite lipstick?
Sana: I love saving money and buying products that work best for me — regardless of the price tag. No shame in my dollar store game! My drugstore makeup brands include: Maybelline (lippies, mascaras), Ruby Kisses (concealer), Kiss (bb cream, lashes), Black Opal (powders), and NYX (lippies, brow pencils). All of my makeup combined is probably $60. You have to find what works best for YOU! My favorite lipstick right now is ‘Crazy For Coffee’ from Maybelline.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Ok, so tell me about Sha’Koju Clothing. Is designer still one of your many hats? How has the line changed since it started in August of 2011?
Sana: Aww my first birthed business. I started Sha’Koju Clothing in 2011 after becoming utterly obsessed with african prints and fashion. I loved creating clothes in my mama’s basement and I had great success with it. From doing every college fashion show in the DMV, to styling well known celebrities in Nigeria, it was an amazing journey and learning experience. Unfortunately, my love for fashion diminished when I moved to New York because I didn’t like how shallow and obnoxious the fashion industry is out here. It made me feel as though I would be changing who I am to run with the big dogs. I also lost interest because it wasn’t a true skill I mastered, it was more of a hobby that ran its course. I can still sew in a heartbeat though, but I want a brand that spreads a message while making you feel like your best self.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): I can definitely dig that. Not too many people value who they are more than what they can get. That’s huge. #Salute
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Ok, let’s talk Hustle & Soul. It’s a new reality show on WeTv and you’re one of the main starlets. Now, from what I know of reality t.v…it’s DRAMA. There are beautiful women fighting over handsome men. They’re besties one day…can’t stand each other the next. How is Hustle & Soul different? Or is it?
Sana: Good ol’ Hustle & Soul! It was a true adventure filming that show. You never knew what the day would bring, and that was exciting and draining all at the same time. The show was full of food, DRAMA, love and shade! I brought my authentic self to the show… and I believe the viewers saw that. I’m not obnoxious and in your face like some of the other cast members. I am more observant and speak on things when necessary. I can be witty and sassy, but I can also be laid back and calculated with my moves. The show wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I enjoyed the journey and opportunity.
Tiffany(TheDollMob): For the people who have to play catch up on the first season: Will we be seeing Sana the she-boss get cozy with anyone on the show? Someone is sitting mighty close in this shot girl!
Sana: My intentions weren’t to date anyone on the show since I was just coming out of a relationship when we started filming. However, I enjoy being around the twins, and I had a short lived ting for Dominic, but we quickly become great friends and just figured it would be best to stay that way.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Some people have “a thing” about listening to their own music and watching themselves on television. Do you watch Hustle & Flow? If so, are you proud of the image of you shown on the show? Is there any “Mona Scott-esque” drama going on where scenes are strategically cut/connected to paint a specific picture of you?
Sana: Girl I watched every week! We don’t get to see the show before the viewers, so the same time you see it is the same time we’re seeing it. I had to get into my looks hunnie! Ha ha! I am super proud of the image I portrayed on the show, because it was me. I wasn’t acting or pretending, but I can’t say the same for some others on the show.
Tiffany (TheDollMob):Ohhhh the tea!
Sana: Furthermore, for any show to be “entertaining” for TV, there has to be strategic planning involved; however, there are no scripts and they don’t make us do anything we wouldn’t want to do. Sometimes editing can make scenes look suspect, but if you are being your authentic self at all times, no amount of editing can make you look like something you’re not. Even if someone attacks you on the show, it’s something THEY wanted to do… the cameras just give them “courage”
Tiffany (TheDollMob): So, I’ve always wanted to ask someone with first hand experience what effect reality television had on their person lives. Have you seen any dramatic changes in your personal life (privately or socially?)
Sana: The show has made me more aware of how these reality tv shows are made. It was a true learning experience, and I’ll never regret doing it. As for my personal life, it has given me the push to pursue my other goals and possibly create an audience around what I have to offer the world. I also receive DMs from people wanting to interview me (such as yourself!), or to send me some cool merchandise. I haven’t seen super dramatic changes since we only shot season 1, but it’s always amusing when someone walks up to me because they saw me on the show. I’m a bit of an introvert so it’s still kind of weird, but cool at the same time.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): lol That’s interesting! I am also an introvert. I think I’d completely pass away if I were in a line of business that made it hard to be “low key”. Are there any talks of a second season?
Sana: Honestly, I’m not sure. Like I mentioned earlier, I am always focused on the next project or hustle! The ratings were good for the show so I am sure there will be one, however I don’t know when they’ll film it. As for me, I have continued my pursuit of happiness and I am currently working on other projects. Be sure to check out @wetv on social media for any updates!
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Now, be honest, is it hard to stay on a strict diet around all that good soul food at The Pink Tea Cup?
Sana: I don’t really eat soul food! It’s sooo funny because I was surrounded by it daily, but I like African and Thai cuisines more. I am also naturally slim due to genetics so I could’ve eaten everything in that kitchen, and not gain 2 pds. It’s a gift and a curse because I enjoy being slimTHICK with some curves.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Ohh girl! I could eat a salad and gain 2 pounds upon swallowing! If this wasn’t a Queen to Queen convo, I’d be jealous af lol. Lastly, we must know, what’s in store for Sana in the near or not so near future? You’re what I like to call a creative. You have the soul of an artist….so I know there’s something in the works, but what is it?
Sana: Currently I am working with Maybelline on digital marketing, so that’s fun and keeps my creative juices flowing daily! I have learned so much about the engines of a global beauty brand, and I look forward to growing with the company. On the side, I am creating content on Youtube, writing for Buzzfeed, and working with a company in Paris on a cool new gadget called KoolBoks, which will launch next year. It’s the perfect outdoor cooler that does everything from charging your phone to playing bluetooth music for hours, all while cooling your drinks, holding your cups and floating on water. I’m excited about it because it allows me to use my nerdy side that not many people know I have.
Tiffany (TheDollMob): I wish I could chat with you for hours. I have so many questions, but I know you’re a busy woman. Hopefully, you can come back and visit The Doll Mob in and update us on the goings ons soon.
Sana: I would love to come back for an update! Thank you for taking the time to interview me and I hope it was great for you as well. I appreciate the detailed questions and allowing me to touch base on all things Sana!
Tiffany (TheDollMob): Lastly, the media sets certain standards in terms of beauty. You must be this thick, this thin, this light this dark etc. etc. to be considered beautiful. The Doll Mob is all about encouraging women to be comfortable with and proud of being whatever they feel that beautiful is. So in the spirit of Mob tradition what is your definition of beautiful?
Sana: Be your best self! If walking around all natural is your definition of beautiful then do you! If getting your lashes and weave done weekly is your definition, then do you too! Society tries to place everyone into one box, but we wouldn’t be a diverse culture if we lived by someone else’s standards. I say, learn to love who YOU are and understand what YOU offer to the world. Vanity is lovely, but it shouldn’t just be all about that. Learn to love yourself while still making a mark on those around you. We are all wonderfully made and God didn’t make any mistakes #GodMade. Find what works for you and own it!! Xoxo
Tiffany (TheDollMob): I love it! Thank you again for taking time to come spill your tea with my dolls and I. I hope you had as much fun pouring as I did sipping!
Be sure to catch Hustle & Soul, the mouth watering soul food with a side of drama on WeTV On-Demand and catch & keep up with Sana on IG at @Sanakibz.
And join us visit The Mob on #WCWednesdays for women you should know! Until Next Time Doll Babies ❤