Tinu, a fashion artiste/musician/entertainer, born in Brooklyn NY, and spent her childhood days in Nigeria. Tinu is an accomplished fashion model and her exquisite beauty and sense of style have been noted by Essence, Vogue and other popular Magazines. She is regularly featured in the social pages of the New York Times. She is also a talented singer with her latest album “Addicted”, currently out in stores and iTunes. She grew up to the vibrant sounds of Fela Kuti, a vibrant powerhouse of African jazz and funk fused with West African high life.
Enjoy the Exclusive Interview with Tinu, along with her photos & her new video “Shoeholic” below:
Golden ICONS: I want to personally thank you “Tinu”, for giving Golden ICONS the opportunity to talk to you, as we recognize that you have a very busy schedule. Once again, thank you.
Tinu: Gladly, the pleasure is mine and I am honored to be here as well. I sincerely thank you for having me. There is never a busy time for me not to respond to the love and support from my own kind. That alone is priceless.
Golden ICONS:Congratulations on your accomplishments thus far, you seem to have a lot going on with you at this time. I’m referring to you being a Performer, Model, your Social lifestyle, a Fashion Designer, Traveling all over, and many more. Overall, what would like to be remembered as?
Tinu:Simply as the free spirited Tinu. One must make haste while the sun shines. Life is short; you got to do as many as you can while you can. I would pray to be in my very old age of 90 or so and talk about what I had done and how well I enjoyed doing them. I don’t pray to talk about what I could have done when I had the time. Having said that, I would try anything at least once, and I want to live my life to the fullest leaving no stone unturned. Trust me, I make time for anything I want to do. I take off pressure by cooking or reading a novel. We all have our vices.
Golden ICONS: I can see that you have the entrepreneur spirit in you. I am specifically talking about your product “Tinu Shoebag®”, which you mentioned that it “has been worn at the Academy Awards and successfully sold throughout numerous high-end boutiques worldwide”. How did you come up with that stunning design? and living here in Houston, where can Houstonians’ find the product?
Tinu:You have good eyes. I didn’t see that question coming (laughs). Some high end boutiques have it in Texas. I am sure they could find the list of stores on tinushoebag.com. The creation came alive when I realized I had a pair of shoe that was just to beautiful to be walked in on the ground. I figured out a way to combine shoes and bag into one. So I started the sketches, patent and trademarked it and put it into commercial production. It’s definitely not an item to mass produce as it is clearly may not be for everyone. Having said that we get lots of emails from potential collectors inquiring about that and this also includes guys who want them for their wall s decorations and drag queens for their shows. The response to it has been amazing to my surprise. They are one of a kind and made to order for the most part. If a customer comes in and wants hers adorn in diamonds or gold, we do it all. It all comes down to taste. They are make great conversation pieces.
Golden ICONS: In just about 3 months since you posted your new video “Shoeholic” on youtube, you have close to a million hits; that must be a very warm feeling for you!
I must also say that the production quality and overall scheme for the video is fabulous – great job. How did you come up with that particular concept, even though it is clear that you are a “Shoeholic”, which would make it easier?
Tinu:All thanks to my still growing shoe collection. It started while I was cleaning and rearranging my closet. I was singing to them thinking of all the crazy things and stories I went through to acquire some of them. Next few days I found myself in the studio recording the song just like that. While in the studio I was thinking of the concept for the video blow by blow without even knowing if it was going to be a single or not. I just had it in me to know the lay of the land while working on it. I definitely didn’t see it coming as a hit at all. I just wanted to sing my heart out to the world and tell all about my obsession with shoes. Little did I know I was not alone in this crazy vice. My email box was full with confessions from other collectors telling me I was right on the money with the lyrics and video concept and how enjoyable it is to watch the video. I was really moved and surprised by the reactions. I am going through the emails and they keep coming. I get asked a lot of questions about my shoes. So not to worry, all will be answered in my upcoming book which I am sure you will all find very enjoyable. A tell tale behind my shoe collection, very juicy stuff, the video playing at youtube.com/tinuonline is just icing on the cake. I hope it gets to the million views by mid march. Wow! did I say a million? Not bad for a song about shoes (laughs).
Golden ICONS: My other favorite songs on your album are “In Love” and “Get Up”. Who would you say inspired you on those two songs, and would you like to share some of the key talents that were instrumental to this album production.
Tinu:Rennie Grant and Lalou from DC were my co-producers on this project. We all worked our butts off for this and so did Victor Williams and many others on percussion. The inspiration behind the songs where my everyday life basically. I for one love to dance 5-7 hours none stop whenever I go clubbing. To me it’s like a work out, so to write out a song like “Get up” was based on how I felt at that time, partying with friends. “In Love” hmm… you really want me to divulge details? ….pondering… Nah, let’s keep this G rated (laughs)
Golden ICONS: You have graced the front cover of a few magazines, and also featured in reputable magazines like ‘ Essence, Vogue, New York Times, Billboard, and Black Men’. In additional to your natural beauty and style, are there any particular secrets/advise you would like to share with upcoming fashion artistes?
Tinu:It’s very simple. Let your inner self shine. That is what people see in the long run, no matter the amount of Photoshop and makeup. Be yourself and the rest will follow.
Golden ICONS:I would not forget to mention the biggest Iconic figure that caught my attention on your site, does the name ring a bell “Oprah”; how has she impacted your career path? Would you consider her to be one of the people that inspire you?
Tinu:I met her as a result of appearing on the book cover of her makeup artist of 20 years and close friend, Reggie Wells. Other than that I know nothing much about her and don’t have a TV at home let alone watch her shows. I honestly don’t know much about her other than what I read in the news online; including the one she called ALL Nigerians criminals. That left a sour taste in my mouth.
Golden ICONS:It is obvious that you are well travelled, and you’ve made trips around the world to spectacular places like the Island of Fiji, India, Morocco, Turkey, Thailand, Cambodia and some others. Amongst all the places you’ve been to, what country impacted/touched you the most, and why?
Tinu:I would say it’s a tie between India (Khajuraho to be exact) and Thailand’s exotic kho lanta Island. I mean they have fish coming out of the ocean. You are asked if you want it grilled, steamed or fried. You get to see the fish still fighting for air. How more fresh does it get. I could live my life like a bum anyday in Thailand. I equally love India for the same effect. I don’t mind living at either places for good and just bum away into very old age 😉
Golden ICONS:My favorite question for you; you’ve previously indicated that our President’s Historical nomination “Barack Obama” inspired you so much. On that note, what would you CHANGE, if you have the power to make a change in the world?
Tinu:If I had the super natural power I would dry out all countries with oil and other natural resources including diamonds for good. If there are none of these to fight over, there will be peace. Mankind will make do with other things just like our forefathers did using stones to make fire. We will survive by other less greedy means. That’s what I will change. Less is more, uniformity amongst all humans.
Golden ICONS:How do you balance your hectic work schedule with your personal life, and what else do you do for leisure?
Tinu:I love to cook! I find it to be very therapeutic and makes me focus and think. Other vices include traveling and designing by just doing tons of pencil sketches of things that might never be fruitful. I just draw and paint endless lines. It helps me to focus. I pace myself, quite the contrary to what people think. I make time for everything I do by just letting my mind choose what it feels like doing next. I don’t force myself to do anything its not in the mood to do. Creativity is all in the mind, one must “pamper” that mind and let it roam freely by letting it choose and not the other way around. This is how I pace myself.
Golden ICONS:I understand that you are also about to feature in a movie; What should we expect from Tinu as an Actor?
Tinu:I don’t even know what to expect from Tinu myself (laughs). My agent has been asking me to go that route but I have been avoiding it for a long time. I have managed some small roles here and there on Law and Order and other independent movies but working on Pascal Atuma’s upcoming movie, also starring Hakeem Kae Kazim and Tangi Miller. I guess it will bring out the “acting bug bite.” I like the role assigned to me, it was what I wanted and was lucky enough to get it as per his advise and guidance. I have always wanted a gritty-villain role, nothing pretty but beefy stuff. I am sure I am in good hands of Pascal. He is a good natured guy and funny too. I like his spirit and can’t wait to begin working with him.
Golden ICONS:A new venture into online TV Show, how is that coming and what should we be expecting from that.
Tinu:Oh yes, I’ve had my hands full with that lately. It’s a show focusing on meaningful points affecting our everyday lives, nothing in the celebrity world commonly found online these days. We are going to be talking about matters that some might call a taboo or things that people hold dear to their heart but afraid to say or talk about. It could range from politics to sex. No holds barred. And we intend to have people come on board to host a few segments as well. It should be fun. I hope it gets going by this summer. It was originally slated for spring but with my crazy schedule we’ve had to push it back a bit. However, we are getting lots of footage ready for the site outrageousviews.com launch. The buzz is already out there and has already “collected” some followers on its facebook page. This is a project that might show a more serious and /or funny side of me that my fans might not expect from me. Think of me as a “news anchor” without the ivy league degree for it. I don’t want to take myself too seriously. Just doing what comes from the heart (laughs)
Golden ICONS: I understand that you’re also writing a book at the moment, when is it going to be completed?
Tinu:Yes it’s all thanks to those endless number of emails I received about my shoe collection. I was approached to begin writing a book about it to answer all of their curious questions and I thought why not? More updates will be posted on http://facebook.com/tinuonline. The book will revolve around shoe collecting and details about my collection and some juicy stories about my friends. It’s basically a tell-all book which I’m certain you will enjoy. It’s very gossipy, over the top but true eye brow raising hot stuff. I’m hoping by spring 2011 it will be released if all goes well. You know how things can be with agents and publishers. It is a new world for me, but I heard it’s much like the music industry, a lot of dog eat dog. So God help me. I am praying we have a good banging out party for it to bring all the fabulous guys and girls out and talk about it. I am praying next year spring-summer. A big amen to that.
Interview by Bode Ojo for Golden ICONS Inc. Golden ICONS is a celebrity, lifestyle, inspirational and entertainment magazine tailored to embrace and highlight the outstanding deeds of ICONS and Citizens of Africa, America and Europe.