You know what? It’s not every day you bump into an Indian Model in Nairobi, and to take it a notch higher, a Medicine student and a Model at that. I was privileged to have a convo with Dee, an Editorial and Runway model, who also doubles up as a medicine student at UON. “It must be so much to handle” you might say, I mean, come on, that’s what I thought too, but to Dee, it’s her way of life. Ever so tranquil, yet meticulous on how she manages to juggle between modeling, med-school, and her daily life. Did I mention She trades Forex and Crypto? Well a girl’s gotta have some buck to shop with, right? … and yeah not every Gen-Zer has a sponsor, stop the stereotype already! Anyways you didn’t come here to read my rumbles, so let’s dive into it…
1. Introduction, Who Is Dee?
CLIFF: So let’s begin. How old are you and what do you do at campus?
DEE: I’m 22, I’m studying medicine at The University of Nairobi. It’s, it’s a Bachelor’s in medicine and a bachelor’s in surgery, it’s a dual degree.
CLIFF: So your Instagram name, memoirs_xdr. What’s the inspiration behind the name?
DEE: A memoir is just basically a collection of photos. That archive some sort of, you know, memory. So it’s just a collection of my memories as a doctor and a model, I guess the username is also part inspired by my name. The initials stand for my full name.
CLIFF: I’ve been going through your Instagram profile. And there’s a lot of anime stuff, Are you a fan?
DEE: I absolutely love anime. I actually have an older brother so growing up. We used to go and play outside but like most people when we’d come back home, we would watch anime, so I watched a lot of anime growing up and I still do to this date, it’s just I don’t have enough time to watch as much. My favs animes are Naruto, One-piece, Bleach… God, I can go on and on.
CLIFF: Does Anime inspire your style?
DEE: Oh yeah, I always try and like bring up anime characters in my dressing. In the next couple of months, you’re going to see my social media being more on the anime side. I’m getting some wigs as I plan to get into cosplay.
2. Her Fashion journey.
CLIFF: Share with us your fashion journey. How did you start? What’s your inspiration and reasons to get into fashion?
DEE: Okay, believe it or not, for most of my life until I was probably 18 I didn’t really care much about fashion. I was like, styling in, you know, tees, and jeans, and I was never color coordinated. I looked like I didn’t care. At some point, my style shifted more into rock funk. When I got into university, I just felt like I needed a new me, you know, to just attract a more positive surrounding positive energy that wasn’t in the rock-funk.
So I changed my style. I found myself loving pink, especially, and my entire wardrobe changed, of course, Nairobi’s weather also influences my style, I can’t get out of the house. If I’m not like wearing something that’s more me, you know presentable and comfortable. I can’t just walk out looking shabby. I treat the world like my runway, so I own up to my style. I don’t care if I’m going to the store to get stuff or any elsewhere. I’m not going to go looking like a 12-year-old boy, you’d have to hold me to gunpoint to have that happen.
3. Does Culture and Religion influence Her Style?
CLIFF: Now that we’re talking about your personal style. How has your culture, your background, and religion influenced it? So maybe first off, let’s start with how you identify in terms of culture, and religion.
DEE: So I’m Hindu, which is basically a division of the Indians. We follow a religion called Hinduism. My religion and culture do influence how I dress, I’ve seen a lot of fusion in Indowestern outfits, like, one of my pictures on Instagram, I’m wearing something that looks somewhat like a ball gown. But it’s got a blouse piece and then there’s like a cut and a gown piece. And if you look at Indian wears you have saris and Chaniacholis that kind of expose a small part of your, your belly. The spiritual representation for that is basically a window or a sacred spot that enables you to gather energy.
CLIFF: Wow, that’s really interesting. Apart from your culture is there anything else that inspires your style?
Yeah, of course. My mood inspires my style. Obviously, when I’m in like, you know, a bad mood I’m gonna opt for dull colors, which is not something that I should be proud of… such days, I’m gonna grab a leather jacket, and some dark jeans and maybe top it up with a white blouse. Then there are some days when I’m walking out of the house in a pink dress or in the brightest clothes you can imagine. So there are those days. I guess, apart from religion and my mood, the weather does influence my style, obviously. Especially Nairobi weather. (Chuckles)
4. What else is She passionate about?
CLIFF: Okay, so aside from fashion, what else are you passionate about?
DEE: Trading forex Cooking and buying crypto, You see in as much I grew up in a stable family, I would prefer to be independent and, you know, be able to get what I want. Because fashion and styling up have lots of needs and expenses. Every time I look at outfits ideas, or I’m scrolling through Instagram and some amazing outfits. I’m really, in the mood to buy. Since I don’t want to burden my family with my expenses. I try to make the buck myself, you know.
That said I really love cooking and baking, I can say that I make really good cakes. It’s actually the best way that I relieve my stress And kind of express myself.
5. What about Social Media?
CLIFF: Doing such a demanding course like Medicine, what do you think about social media, and how often are you on social?
Funny enough, I actually don’t spend a lot of time on Instagram. My daily minutes are probably five or 10. To be honest, social media is a platform where you can express yourself, as much as you want. And also it is the place where you can get the most judgment.
I can see that a lot of people have this idea about the ideal life that they should be living on social media, a lot of people tend to compare, the lives that other people live to their own, you know what I mean? There’s like a growing demand of one ideal way that life should be like, fueled by how people only post the ‘fun’ stuff; like when they’re on vacations, or when they’re on dinner dates and stuff which makes other people who don’t have that life, feel pressured.
The good side is, social media is the best platform to, you know, socialize and connect it’s like a global village. You can connect with almost anybody all over the world. However, my social media interaction is quite limited. So in a day, if I’m actually planning on posting something, or like sharing my mood, I will just do it on my story or a post. And that’s it for the day with Instagram.
As a priority whenever I get free time, I use it to either, further myself in the other fields. or strive for constant personal growth.
CLIFF: I’ve noticed from your Instagram, you turned off the like count. Is that the reason why?
DEE: I don’t really see the need for a like count. I mean, Instagram felt it too that’s why they added the option. We don’t need like counts, because a lot of people are using them to comparing themselves. It becomes this obsession. It’s like ‘Oh, my God, I need to see how many likes I’ve got’ and ‘why haven’t I gotten as many likes?’ Or ‘Is this picture not good enough?’
So for me, that really doesn’t matter. My profile is like more of my own journal, just a memoir of pictures to remind me of stuff.
6. What Else does she do with Her Time?
CLIFF: Have you ever tried thrifting?
DEE: I have, I’m not gonna lie to you. When I see something I’ve really looked for and it’s right there, not in bad shape…I’m like, God, I need me some pre-loved clothes. (chuckles)
CLIFF: Are there any brands you’re currently working with at the moment?
DEE: Yeah, I have, there’s Anime house. A & J collections and Window shop. The latter two are actually upcoming brands. They’re not even that high on social media ranking. But they’re growing brands and I love to collaborate with them.
7. What are Her thoughts on the Kenyan Modeling Industry?
CLIFF: Let’s talk about Modeling’s Professional side, I’ve spoken to other models and they say the pay sucks if there’s any. Is that the case with you?
DEE: I feel like here in Kenya, people take advantage of models. There are times when you’re not paid anything for a Job. So You’re just like, yeah, am I doing this for clout? It’s the sad reality. That there are fewer companies that actually take it upon themselves to foster the growth of models in Kenya. I even thought about it once, you know, to just open my own modeling agency and help people like me, but I don’t think I can handle the logistics. I can just probably be a silent investor.
If you are looking to be a professional model, the first thing you need to do is know your worth. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. You need to have a good portfolio and never mix business with pleasure.
8. Life ambitions and aspirations?
CLIFF: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years? Are you going to be a doctor, a fashionista, Or a model?
DEE: Well, I’m hoping I can be all three. I know, the first one is guaranteed. I’m planning on becoming a plastic surgeon by then. I know that my desire to become a plastic surgeon falls in line with my aesthetic and fashionista side. There are people that actually struggle with their appearance and some of them don’t have the time and the energy to bring themselves to work out, some people might just not feel confident enough in their bodies. I want to help them be their best self and also, you know, let their world be their runway.
I want to be a plastic surgeon and at the same time, I want to have my own clothing brand, and if I do get lucky I hope A big brand, gets to hire me as a model because I’m trying to build a good portfolio and it’s just very hard to, here in East Africa, you know…
9. Parting Shot?
DEE: I’d like to tell everyone that spent their time reading this, to never stop being themselves. You can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. Just remember to never give up on any of your dreams and goals. Oh and make sure you get the best of each and every minute of your day. Because that minute is never coming back to you again.
*This conversation has been transcribed from a recorded copy, where necessary, grammatical changes have been made for congruency and readability*