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Adesuwa Aighewi

Model & Activist

With a breakthrough year behind her, scoring campaigns for the likes of Chanel and Marc Jacobs beauty, the-model-turned-creative director is now seeing through her personal mission to promote the beauty of African culture.


Though Adesuwa Aighewi is no longer a newcomer, having scored campaigns for the likes of Chanel and Marc Jacobs , the model has made a name for herself casting a spotlight on her heritage, with a mission to educate others about African culture and values inspired by her Chinese, Thai and Nigerian roots.

Born to environmental scientist parents in Minneapolis in 1992, Aighewi originally had no plans of entering the industry. Years later, the breakout model eventually signed contracts with The Society Management in New York, Elite Model Management in Paris, Storm Model Management in London, and walks international runways. Her portfolio includes Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Yeezy, Alexander Wang and Marc Jacobs beauty, among others.

Raised in both Nigeria and America, Aighewi lost her brother when she was 13 — an event that sparked hopes to follow her brother’s path to becoming a doctor. She skipped grades, enrolling at the University of Maryland, ignoring her innate interest in art. All throughout, she continued to be scouted by modelling agencies. When Aighewi realised modelling jobs could financially support her internships at NASA, she partook in a test shoot in 2010, and has since appeared on the covers of Numéro, i-D and Vogue, quickly catching the attention of high fashion labels such as Alexander Wang, Kenzo and Vivienne Westwood .

The model made her filming debut with “Spring in Harlem”, a video she shot that focuses on the beauty of Muslim women, which premiered on the website and Forbes magazine. In 2018, she announced plans to create a documentary series about Africa inspired by her childhood, educational tutorials on topics ranging from business to health, as well as a children’s book following a young Nigerian boy’s journey. In 2017, Aighewi wrote an essay on the fashion industry’s diversity issues in The Guardian.

Aighewi has also starred in two of Childish Gambino’s music videos, “Bonfire” in 2011 and “Heartbeat” in 2012, as well as Diana Gordon’s “Woman”. The model joined’s Top 50 list as of 2019 and won its Breakout Star of the Year award in 2018. She also joined Dazed’s 100 list in 2018.


University of Maryland

University of Maryland

Vital Statistics

22 April 1992

United States

United States
Member since

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.