Who is Yomi?
I started out as what people call a "girl's -- girl," and over time I have become a "Woman's -- Woman." What this means to me is I want to see women excel and honor themselves in the process. My most formative years were centered around women, I attended a girls school until I was 18, which happened to be the first institution in Great Britain where women could get recognized qualifications. I began building myself as a woman and surrounded myself with amazingly strong women. At first, I would listen to their wisdom, as I grew, I started speaking to, supporting and coaching those very same women with insights I had developed.
I guess its no surprise that I know a lot about girls and women. My knowledge, experience and journey has given birth to one of my primary commitments -- empowering women to discover and live the fullness of their greatest potential without sacrificing or abandoning their femininity. I know women are the source of immense power. However, the media has done a great job at attributing female power to one source -- physical beauty. At a certain time, that was the only power I thought I had, and the only power I developed and used. Today I know differently. Through my experience as an international model, I have come to know and experience the undeniable power of physical beauty. I have also experienced the flip side of the coin. Not feeling enough, constant comparison, unrealistic expectations, feeling old in a world driven by youth.
The discomfort of those feelings sent me in to over drive. I rebelled against waiting to be chosen, I rebelled against being compared to others, I rebelled against the false illusion that I wasn’t enough, or that my age determined my worth and value. As a result of my rebellion, I have 3 university degrees, and a whole host of other qualifications including life coaching. Through out my journey to find my true power, my spiritual practice has been key. During my highs and my lows, a connection to something greater than me has guided me through the maze. The results of my quest have included launching a global platform, Stand up for fashion, touring the country speaking to women of all ages, serving as an associate to the Unesco Chair For Human Rights, as well as a catalyst at MIT’s Legatum center. Yet nowhere do I feel more at home and at ease then among my sisters supporting their growth, whilst at the same time growing myself.
Yomi Abiola is a thought leader, journalist and social entrepreneur. As the first African face for Maybelline cosmetics Yomi cultivated expertise in the arena of beauty and empowerment. As a social entrepreneur, Yomi founded Stand Up For Fashion (STUFF) a global platform promoting social responsibility in the fashion industry.
In addition to her work with STUFF, Yomi serves as a catalyst at The MIT Legatum Center.
Journalism and artistic direction have been a medium for Yomi to impact the fashion industry through promoting diversity and inclusion. Through the production of photo shoots and short films in partnership with Vogue Italia online, Yomi has committed to transforming society "one image at a time."
Yomi shares her philosophies and experience internationally. She has presented at Harvard, Yale, MIT and Columbia University.