Igee Okafor has the moves. While most people know him for his incredibly engaged Instagram followers (@igeeokafor) and GQ Insider status, few people know that he started out wanting to do theatre. And who knows, that boy band dream might still happen.
Igee was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Today he is the Social Media Director for a Parisian cashmere brand while finishing his senior year in college. And don’t forget to catch his blog Igee Okafor, where he highlights interesting people in various industries.
How did you get started with Instagram? Why do you do it and why do you think you gained the following that you have?
I made my Instagram account in 2011. I believe it was in the fall of the year I had just graduated high school. I originally made an account because I saw some of my online peers were making use of really cool picture framing and filters on their photos which they would post on Facebook, and Twitter and I did not want to miss out on that. Especially because my interest in photography developed quickly because of Tumblr, and blogger influences being its peak at that time. There was also something exclusive about Instagram at the time as well. Some people were using it but not a lot of people knew about it.
My Instagram following started to grow after I started my menswear blog. I was quite consistent when it came to sharing weekly/daily looks and when I saw that other accounts were starting to share them, I started to share more of my daily life which I still do now. So, I would say the main reason for my following would be my personal style maybe? and the possibility that people are entertained by a well curated, polished, and inspired way of living. Who knows? Maybe I just got lucky.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you end up in New York?
I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. Both my parents are fully Nigerian. I lived there for about 13 to 14 years with opportunities to travel internationally for educational purposes and to experience different ways of life. In the same pursuit of higher education and a well rounded lifestyle which both my parents prioritized, we moved to the United States with my two sisters and little brother - Hampton, Virginia to be specific. There, I attended my first public school which was where I also finished high school in 2011. After that, I took a little more than a year off to really figure out who I was and what I wanted to do moving ahead in my life and it all lead to me needing to be in New York. So, I started going to college here. As they say, everything else is history.
What do you do outside of Instagram?
Haha! I do my best to stay busy. When I was younger, my grandma would always say "An Idle mind is the devil's workshop" or something like that and I think that has always stuck with me. I've always labeled myself as a lifestyle blogger. I originally started my blog focusing on menswear through imagery and writing but over the course of the two years I have been curating the site, it has transitioned into a lifestyle outlet where creative content is curated, sponsored partnerships are utilized, and other writers are given an opportunity to exercise their writing talents - all to inform. So, one job is managing all of that. Another thing most people do not know is that I am a senior in college. I'll be graduating in May next year. On top of coursework, I was hired by the university to manage their social media account.
Recently, I've also taken on the role of a social media director for Citizen Cashmere, a Parisian cashmere brand. I'm working with them to create editorial and social content solely for the company. So when I am not working on achieving tasks that are on my editorial calendar for all of the content I am managing with www.igeeokafor.com, Citizen Cashmere and my university, I am doing coursework or working on something else that will help my talents blossom further. For example, I just finished up my 5th internship at a digital marketing agency in the Financial District. I was there all summer.
What are your favorite places to hang in New York?
Certain neighborhoods in New York really resonate with me so you can always find me on the Upper East Side around central park, in Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, or Soho. Also, any sit down Maison Kayser Bakery, I'm there. It's a favorite.
What’s something people who only know you thru Instagram would be surprised to know?
A few things people who only know me through Instagram would be surprised to know that I actually started out with goals to be theatre. I grew up singing, dancing, and acting and I thought that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I still have dreams of being in a boyband. Haha! That would be awesome. Also, I was a varsity cheerleader during my senior year of high school.
Follow Igee at @igeeokafor.