How many Hot Mamas out there love shoes? Me too. Well, meet fellow shoeholic (and Grace Jones fan) Tinu Naija. The New York City model and singer’s latest music video, “Shoeholic,” from her sophomore album Addicted, is an ode to her enviable collection of boots, pumps, sandals, platforms and everything in between. You can even enter to win a shoe bag designed by Tinu.
I chatted with the stunning Nigeria native via email.
Hot Mama Daily: How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Tinu: (Laughs) Mum is the word here! I am so ashamed to say the number out loud for the fear of being called a mini Imelda Marcos. Perhaps I will let the cat out of the bag in my upcoming book. That is one you definitely don’t want to miss. It will be announced on my website when it launches.
HMD: What’s your favorite brand of shoes?
Tinu: I’m not loyal to any brand. I buy based on designs that appeal to me. [For example], I just got my first pair of Jimmy Choos a few months ago despite owning a few hundreds of other designer shoes. I don’t buy based on name or trend. I have to “connect” to the shoes and most importantly wear them.
HMD: What designers did you model for in Europe?
Tinu: It was fun working with Julien McDonald when he did a special BBC feature in Paris when he was still the designer at Givenchy haute couture. I also had fun working with Pascal Millet at Carven haute couture. I would call my experience with them beyond just modeling. Now I’m also happy sitting front row watching the shows and collecting some of the best designs in the industry. There is nothing like owning a piece or two of haute couture; it’s no different than owning a Rembrandt.
HMD: When and why did you make the switch from modeling to singing?
Tinu: In high school, I was in the drama club and we would perform cultural dances, school plays, and sing. That’s where music really started for me. I gave it up for modeling and then pursued my education when I returned to the US. It hit me again after 9/11. I realized that life is short. It made me wake up and want to start doing all of those things again. It all came rushing back and I began sketching and writing songs. I got a deal and put out a CD. It was a wakeup to enjoy my life and do what I can do. I thought, I’m privileged to have talent, now what am I going to do with it?
HMD: Who is your biggest inspiration as a singer?
Tinu: Grace Jones! I am a big fan of her work because she has no rules to her own [personal] and singing style. Her songs make me feel free each time I listen to them. I sometimes feel like running around butt naked in the streets and screaming my lungs out singing to her songs. You can’t define feeling more free spirited than that!
Photos courtesy of Tinu