Model, blogger and social media influencer, Kristia Tolode sits with Zen Magazine to talk about her modelling dreams, living and studying in New York City, why she loves to dance and her love for headwraps.

” I love the creativity that the model and the photographer has,” says Kristia. Photography by @lana12321 | Skirt by @uglyowlnyc

ZEN: Hi Kristia, Tell us a little bit about yourself.
KristiaI was born and raised in Benin Republic. I am a full-time graduate student at Baruch College in New York City. I am studying to get my Masters in Public Administration. Besides being a student, I am also a model, blogger and social media influencer. As an influencer, my goal is to motivate young girls to be themselves, love their body and be own their power as women.

ZEN: How did you get started in modelling?
KristiaI’ve always loved getting dressed and doing photoshoots. In high school and in college, I participated in fashion shows and events that had to do with modelling. With the power of social media, I have been able to brand myself on Instagram which led to booking more modelling gigs.

ZEN: What has been your favourite shoot / campaign / work to date?
KristiaI don’t know if I have a specific shoot that’s my favourite though at the moment the one shoot that comes to mind was a Superhero themed shoot I did with some powerful women/friends. It was amazing to be surrounded by strong women who do not let anything or anyone dictate their life.

ZEN: What do you love the most about modelling?
KristiaI love the creativity that the model and the photographer has. I enjoy shooting cool concepts and the makeup and wardrobe process is always fun!

ZEN: You did an awesome dance video which went viral. Talk us through that video, what inspired you to get up that morning, get on the roof top, then pour your heart out on a lot of amazing dance moves?
KristiaHonestly, to this day I am scared to do another video because I am afraid I won’t be able to top the last one {Laughs}. It was a beautiful day in NYC and it was one of those rare days so I wanted to take advantage of the weather. I’ve been listening to the song by Wande Coal and have been meaning to do a dance to it, but never quite had the time. The timing was just perfect and the dance moves came naturally. I was just having fun. I think people saw how much of a good time I was having.

Check out the dance video of Kristia that got the whole web talking:

ZEN: What do you love the most about dancing?
Kristia: I love dancing because it makes me happy. It’s a fun way to let loose, work out, and have a great time to a song you love.

ZEN: If you had one wish to dance in a video for one international artist, who would it be? Why?
Kristia: Oh that’s hard only because I’ve never thought of myself as a dancer so am not sure. Someone that I however would love to dance/alongside is Ciara.

ZEN: What’s on your dance playlist now? What records are on repeat?
Kristia: Currently, I am listening to a song by a Benin artist (Fanicko) called Tourne ça bien. It’s in French. Otherwise I listen to a variety of things: Distance by Omarion, El Amante by Nicky Jam, Shape of You by Ed Sheeran, I No Go Die by Zeynab, Move Dadass and Cass Cass by Bebi Philip, and Konsa by Phylisia Ross.

Kristia rocking a stunning Kente bathing and headwrap from @redstarcollection. Photography by @nyarko_photography

ZEN: Any beauty tips you swear by right now that works for your skin?
Kristia: Drink water daily and moisturise!

ZEN: Which foundation do you use and do you wear yours everyday?
Kristia: I use Lancome Teint Idole 24 Hour Foundation in the colour 510 Suede C. I am obsessed with this and have been since college. I don’t wear makeup everyday. Only when I am heading to an event or shooting content for my blog.

ZEN: Let’s talk fashion Kris. How would you describe your personal style, where do you pull your inspiration from?
Kristia: My style is very fun and like a true Sagittarius it changes and varies depending on my mood. I wear what I am comfortable in for the most part. I wear whatever I want to wear whether or not it is considered “in style.” I also love my body and I work out to keep it together so I also like to show it off.

ZEN: Your accessories game is killing us and we love it. We noticed you love wearing your headwraps. What do you love about headwraps?
Kristia: Thank you so much for that!! I got into headwraps when my friend Paola started her Fanm Djanm line. Make sure you check it out by the way. She’s amazing! Headwraps have a way of making you feel bold and confident on a given day no matter what you’re wearing.

ZEN: Is it a fashion accessory you see trending?
Kristia: Definitely!

Photography: @islandboiphotography

ZEN: Who are a few of your favourite designers?
Kristia: My favourite designers right now are Je Suis NYC, Jimmy Choo, Bestsey Johnson, Nasty Gal, Asos, Calvin Klein, and Sophia Webster.

ZEN: What’s the one item in your wardrobe that is your most prized possession?
Kristia: I don’t own anything I won’t give away – I think {Laughs}. But favourite item of the moment? That would be my jeans from Fashion Nova – they fit like a glove.

ZEN: Your favourite African food?
Kristia: That will definitely be Jollof rice {Laughs}

Check out more stunning photos of Kristia below:

Photographer: @dutty_the_french Makeup artist: @mysupanovagirl

Photography by @nyarko_photography

Photography by @villainoire

Headwraps have a way of making you feel bold and confident on any given day no matter what you’re wearing.’ says Kristia Tolode. Headwraps by @fanmdjanm

ZEN: When is your birthday?
Kristia: It’s in December on the 18th.

ZEN: If you had to pick
one city in Africa, an all expense paid trip for holiday, which would it be?
Kristia: It would definitely be Cape Town, South Africa

ZEN: Why?
Kristia: Always wanted to go there. It’s on my list of places to visit before I hit 25.

ZEN: What are a few tips for aspiring dancers looking to become big like you are?
Kristia: Oh I don’t think I can really give any, since I am not a professional dancer. However, one advice that goes for everyone is: Make sure you have fun!




For more on Kristia, visit

On Social Media: Instagram @kristiatolode AND ON Twitter @simplytolode