Inna Mod­ja is a Parisian-based, Mali-born mod­el turned singer cur­rent­ly signed to Warn­er Music/Atlanta. She is also the new face of the Mizani hair­care line. When I found out that she was a fan of BGLH I invit­ed her to do an inter­view. Here it is… Enjoy! 

On her ori­gins
My father is from Mali, West Africa. He was a diplo­mat when I was a kid so we trav­eled a lot. I was raised in Ghana, Nige­ria and I have lived in New York and DC. My par­ents are retired and now liv­ing in Mali.

On get­ting into mod­el­ing
I start­ed mod­el­ing when I was 17. I was going to see a movie with my friends and I was just wait­ing for them at the cin­e­ma when a woman came and asked me if I would like to mod­el. I said, “Yeh, why not, but I’m not tall and I’m not pret­ty.” And she said, “You are. This is my cell phone just give me a call.”

I called her and we did a pho­to­shoot and a look­book and then I start­ed. It’s a crazy life. I was with Elite Mod­el Man­age­ment. I did com­mer­cials, pho­tos for Louis Vuit­ton and run­way shows. A lot of things.

I didn’t real­ly like it. I didn’t hate it because it was most­ly fun, but I didn’t take it seri­ous­ly. It was just a way to earn mon­ey when you’re 17. It’s cool, you go to school and you make mon­ey doing a fun thing. When I fin­ished busi­ness school in Paris I decid­ed to just mod­el because I’d earn more mon­ey doing that and I didn’t want to work in a bank some­where. So I moved to New York and con­tin­ued mod­el­ing.

But there’s a lot of pres­sure on the girls. You have all the top mod­els but you also have mod­els who work a lot but don’t have name recog­ni­tion. There’s a lot of com­pe­ti­tion between girls; you have to stay thin, you have to always be good look­ing, you have to fit in what they’re expect­ing from you. It’s not always easy. If you take that real­ly seri­ous­ly it can lead to trou­ble.

Even­tu­al­ly I stopped mod­el­ing and moved back to Paris to do some­thing I’d always dreamed off, get­ting back into music.

On her new music career

Inna shoot­ing the music video for Mis­ter H.
My sound is a mix between pop music and folk and soul. It’s very acoustic. I love the gui­tar, I taught myself how to play through books and the inter­net.

When I was mod­el­ing I still did a lot of music. I was com­pos­ing for some artists here in France so the boss of my cur­rent record com­pa­ny heard about me and came once to lis­ten to one of my gigs. They real­ly want­ed to work with me so I said, “Okay. Where do I sign?!”

The response to my album Every­day is a New World has been amaz­ing. I couldn’t even dream about this. It’s crazy because I spent almost two years on the album. I want­ed every­thing to look like me and I want­ed some­thing real­ly per­son­al from this album. When it was released peo­ple went crazy, I was doing inter­views with all these jour­nal­ists and TV shows and it was great because I didn’t expect that. I just want­ed to do music.

Inna with Jason Mraz, a fre­quent col­lab­o­ra­tor
Next I’m going to tour in Japan but I would love to per­form in New York. I real­ly miss the U.S.

On Nneka, and oth­er young African artists
I don’t know Nneka close­ly, we just met like one or two times. But she’s great, I like her music. Here in Europe there are few African artists real­ly ris­ing. So it was cool for me to have Nneka before so now it’s kin­da my turn, so I’m hap­py.

On whether her hair is real
It’s real. The real hair is even big­ger than the wig (laughs). I wear a wig for some shoots because when I work I have to have the same head, the same look. But my hair under­neath is nat­ur­al.

On going nat­ur­al
I used to have nat­ur­al hair as a kid but my sis­ter is a hair­dress­er and she start­ed relax­ing my hair when I was 11. At the begin­ning I liked it because it was smooth and just like all my friends, then I start­ed hat­ing it because it hurt and even when I took good care of it it broke off.

Sev­en years ago I thought, okay, I’m going to stop. I cut off when my hair, I didn’t even know that was called ‘tran­si­tion­ing’. I just let my hair grow and then I start­ed cut­ting out all the relaxed hair grad­u­al­ly. It was dif­fi­cult to take care of both tex­tures, so I did a lot of braids.

At the begin­ning it was dif­fi­cult because I was tak­ing care of my nat­ur­al hair like I used to take care of my relaxed hair, so I wouldn’t wash it very often because I was not used to that. When I was in New York I had a friend who was nat­ur­al and she told me about what she was doing so I tried out dif­fer­ent things.

On her reg­i­men
When I’m work­ing I use a lot of pro­tec­tive styles like weaves that I don’t keep more than 8 or 10 days. My hair­dress­er braids my hair under­neath very loose­ly so that the front doesn’t break off.

I wash my hair once a week and I also wash when it’s real­ly hot like, now it is in Paris. In the win­ter I sham­poo every two weeks. In between sham­poos I co-wash with con­di­tion­er.

I use Mizani prod­ucts because before becom­ing their spokesmod­el I want­ed to try them on my hair to check if they’re real­ly good, and they are. I also use Alba Botan­i­ca and Ama­zo­nia Pre­ciosa prod­ucts. I deep con­di­tion once a week before I do my sham­poo using cas­tor oil with rose­mary, ylang, ylang (an essen­tial oil that smooths my hair) and shea but­ter.

I spritz every­day with water, cas­tor oil and jojo­ba oil. Before I go to bed I braid my hair, and spritz it. When I wake up in the morn­ing I put some Mizani cream in and comb it or do a braid out.

As far as styling, some­times I do twists and braids. If I’m wear­ing my real hair to a shoot I’ll do an afro or twist outs. Here in Paris it gets real­ly cold in the win­ter, so I do a lot of pro­tec­tive styles.

On being the new Mizani spokesmod­el
Mizani is a line for black hair, relaxed or nat­ur­al and they didn’t have any spokesmod­els for that. They asked me to do it about 6 months ago so we’re going to start shoot­ing in Sep­tem­ber and I’m real­ly hap­py about that. L’Oreal (Mizani’s par­ent com­pa­ny) is such a huge com­pa­ny for cos­met­ics and hair. They have spokesper­sons for their cos­met­ic prod­ucts, like Bey­once and Ker­ry Wash­ing­ton, but they didn’t have any­one for black hair prod­ucts. That was bizarre because so many black women are buy­ing their stuff. So I’m real­ly proud to be the first one. I real­ly, real­ly can’t wait.

Her num­ber one beau­ty tip
Always take off the make­up before you go to bed. And get facials when you can.

Inna, thanks for chat­ting with us! For more of this love­ly lady check out her Face­book page and her MySpace page.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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17 Comments on "Inna Modja // Natural Hair Style Icon"

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[…] amaz­ing but few dare to do the same. I’m always wear­ing a flower in my hair, even before Inna Mod­ja became famous. But now that she is, I use to hear peo­ple call­ing me “Inna” when­ev­er I go out. So […]

internet ?atellit preisvergleich

A great many con­sumers would rather receive impor­tant infor­ma­tion via the Inter­net, so Inter­net mar­ket­ing is an essen­tial method of grow­ing your busi­ness.
Cable down­load speed will vary, and is lim­it­ed by the num­ber of
users shar­ing the band­width, and by the tier of ser­vice you pur­chase from the cable provider.
In this kind of mar­ket­ing, peo­ple are recruit­ed by the orig­i­na­tor to
sell to the person’s friends, rel­a­tives and col­leau­gues, their ‘net­work’.

Athena

I don’t like her music that much but i think she’s gor­geous.
But i’m kind of dis­ap­point­ed because she’s lying when she’s say­ing that her real hair are big­ger than the wig (wig she is wear­ing in all the pic­tures here).
She is the “face” of Mizani L’Oréal and we can see her real hair on the posters adver­tise­ment.
Hair which are real­ly beau­ti­ful btw ->comment image

Iris
YAY! Anoth­er Parisian girl! I’m French too, and her music video for French Can­can was just broad­cast, so I want­ed to check if it was her real hair or not, and to my sur­prise BGLH did an inter­view with her!! I was like, so hap­py! Any­ways, I’m so glad it’s her real hair, it proves some igno­rants that yes, with time and care, Afro hair can grow llooooooooong! It would be so cool if you could do an Ayo inter­view, and ask her about her famous updo style! I think its a one strand twist com­ing up from the nape… Read more »
Jana

She is so beau­ti­ful.

pat

I love her style!
You can find her music on youtube. The only song I know from her is Mis­ter H (as in hap­pi­ness, I think). It’s pret­ty cool and refresh­ing! Check it out!

jadedpoet

Love her hair and style!!

Britney D.

Great inter­view! I hope my hair can look get that big some­day! :)

tam

LOL what wig is it?! Can I buy it for this win­ter?!?! LOL

Samya

I love her music it’s 60’s and 70’s but it’s still fresh. I bought her whole CD and I wasn’t dis­s­a­point­ed.
i loved this inter­view made me like her more.

Jai

She’s a gor­geous young lady, I look for­ward to hear­ing her music. That fro is tha biz­ness!!!

Minimalist Beauty

She is absolute­ly beau­ti­ful! I love her hair! Great inter­view. I’m hop­ing she has a pre­view of her music on her site.

ElectricFeel

I’m real­ly feel­ing her afro..* wig or not*
Great inter­view!

alana

nice hair!

aJwitaFrO
I’ve nev­er heard of this artist before but I enjoyed the inter­view. cool that she was raised in Nige­ria part of her life, my Coun­try :-). Any­ways, I noticed that in the US they real­ly put a lot of empha­sis on adver­tis­ing to the black com­mu­ni­ty. I guess because the black pop­u­la­tion is so large there. In cana­da there isn’t real­ly that many cam­paigns or com­pa­nies direct­ly geared towards black peo­ple. I also liked how she was very hon­est about her per­son­al views on the mod­el­ling indus­try (ie, not real­ly tak­ing it seriously,etc..). has any­one lis­tened to her music? what… Read more »
vonnie

she’s gor­geous and that head of hair is WOWZA. loved the inter­view, very chill :) 

http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

Shones

Nice inter­view. I love that her real hair is actu­al­ly big­ger than the wigs. That’s what’s up!

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