I already knew I’d like Jessica, solely based on my little assessment of her personality on social media. But either way, you never really know what to expect when you speak to someone for the first time. Especially over something as potentially awkward as FaceTime. There’s this kind of exhaustion (definitely not the bad kind) that I get after I’ve had a productive conversation. This was definitely one of those conversations.
“People kept telling me I should do it but I’m like how can I be a model? I’m gonna be a lawyer!”
Jessica sees working as a model as a means towards an even bigger goal. I thought that was really interesting since being a model and all the popularity that comes with it is usually the end gain for most. To my knowledge anyway. Shes been going on mission trips to Uganda for 5 consecutive years now…
“I really started taking modeling seriously to fund my trips to Uganda. But even with all the pictures I post, a lot of people still don’t take me serious…they don’t understand that I’m actually on my hands and knees all day, bathing these children and doing what needs to be done”
Somehow, our conversation led into the subtle cultural differences between Nigerian diaspora and Nigerians raised in Nigeria who then move for school and or work. One mentality seems to be consistent with both; almost no one wants to go back. Most Nigerians diaspora feel like they’ve somehow escaped having to be concerned with what goes on in their mother country enough to want to go back and do something. On the other side, many Nigerians who left for school feel as though they’ve now moved on to “greener pastures” and don’t want to look back.
Although both may want to maintain cultural connection, neither party wants it to be direct. Neither want any part of the nitty gritty due to the “Nigeria is doomed eitherway” mentality. I wouldn’t say anyone is wrong for choosing the seemingly comfortable alternative, which is not going back. When it really comes down to it, Nigeria is really fucked up at the moment, politically and socio-economically.
“I try to talk about these things but then people look at me like “why do you care so much?””
Jessica, thankfully, seems to be one of the few who feel a level of responsibility to go back and play a part, even having not grown up in Nigeria. Even as a Nigerian that went to school there up until the end of high school, people still look at me funny when I say I actually want to go back to serve in NYSC. Imagine how they’d look at Jessica.
“I really just want to go back to do research and really understand and see for myself how things work in Nigeria”
We talked about how social media can force a one-dimensional perception of people. In the world we live in, you’re either known for being attractive or socially aware/intellectual but rarely both. So when such a person comes on twitter for instance and starts talking about real societal issues, you’re either surprised or annoyed by it. People like Jessica exemplify the fact that personalities are so much more complex than that.
“I want to be able to give people something nice to look at but still give them something to think about”