Vanessa Valerie Alily is a Nigerian born singer/songwriter who currently resides in South Africa. She is a deeply creative individual as she wears several hats such as artist (illustrator), graphic designer, writer, poet, dancer and fashion designer. Ms Alily is also a social entrepreneur and uses her network to change lives of young high school girls. She has a chat with us about her Queen Goals initiative as well as her role as an influencer.
You are an artist, illustrator, model, influencer, social entrepreneur; how best will you describe yourself?
I’d describe myself as a multifaceted woman. A woman who nurtures the vast creativity and potentials within her. I limit no aspect of myself and I do not hold back any form of artistic expression and so I am ever evolving and versatile.
Where does your inspiration for your art come from?
The inspiration for my art is LIFE; the beauty of God’s creations and the beauty of the human experience. I love to bring characters and stories to life, to make them relatable to our world and thus to inspire through my art. What also inspires my art is; to create an ESCAPE for the people who read my stories or interact with my art. I love to create stories and art that help people find the magic in life, art that helps people dream and escape the restrictions of our somewhat predictable reality. I love to create art that ignites passion, hope and the will to dream in the human spirit because we are all here for a purpose and since I’ve found mine I’d love to use it to help others find theirs as well.
What are some of the exciting things you like about being an Influencer and Media Personality?
THE FREEBIES! I’m kidding! For me, it’s more CREATING CONTENT. I love anything that allows me the opportunity to apply my creativity and “think outside the box”. With being an Influencer, I’m always kept on my toes because each campaign at times requires a different aspect to my personality and creativity. I love the thrill of conceptualizing new concepts and creating content that truly embodies the Brand’s identity and is easily relatable to my online audience.
Similarly with being a Media Personality and working on TV nearly every week, it’s the thrill of LIVE TV productions, because anything can happen. I may not have an autocue operator and need to improvise or I may have to quickly link to an AD break because someone’s microphone isn’t working well. For technical reasons or creative ones, you are constantly put in position where you don’t have a choice but to be flexible and adaptable. You have to be willing to step out of the comfort-zone!
What local or international brands do you look forward to working with?
Locally – THE FIX ZA, FOSCHINI, MR PRICE, WOOLWORTHS, BODY SHOP SA, REVLON SA, DOVE SA and ACER AFRICA. There’s more but these will do, for now. I love especially to work with AFRICAN OWN BRANDS, be it fashion, lifestyle, beauty of even in the TECH sector.
Internationally – HOUSE OF CB, ZARA, DOIR, CHANNEL, VALENTINO, ICONIC LONDON, ADDIDAS, NIKE and YEEZY.
Tell us about ‘The Queen Goals’?
So The Queen’s Goals is an initiative targeted at empowering and educating young queens in high schools. The main areas of focus of the initiative are: the mental, emotional, academic and physical wellness of the girl child and to ensure they are valued, accepted, appreciated and loved. We help create a safe space where young queens can feel safe to freely express their thoughts and gain support from their peers. We organize outreach programs where we give back to communities and we offer aid where we can. We also facilitate the organization of seminars and workshops and invite influential speakers to inspire and motivate our girls.
What inspired you to start the initiative?
I started the initiative because I no longer wanted to a part of people that just complained. I got tired of complaining about issues in our countries and continent; I got tired of waiting on government or some international organization to come and offer “AID” to solve our problems. I realized at a young age that I wanted to be part of a generation that would rewrite the narrative that colonialism and imperialism has used to hold Africa captive. It started as just a personal need to do good in my community but it soon bloomed into a powerhouse of change and hope for African Youth.
You recently won the Most Inspiring Nigerian Award in SA, what fuels your passion for the things that you do?
THE AFRICAN DREAM fuels my passion. I believe when our forebears did all they did in order for us to have freedom and equal opportunities, they did so envisioning a future where Africa is self-sufficient and prosperous. The moment I realized that I play a part in the realization of that future, I understood that if I don’t see myself as part of the solution I’d never feel responsible enough to stand up and act.
What are your dreams for Africa?
My dream is to see an Africa that is self-sufficient and united. An African that looks within itself for trade and opportunities that foster economic growth. An Africa that is quick to come to its brother’s aid in time of challenges; an Africa that believes in its Youth and carries them with pride, investing in their dreams. An Africa that will proudly refuse to allow certain powers meddle in our politics and economics and turn against each other. An Africa that will write its own history and will not leave it to be wrongfully told and misinterpreted by those who sought to erase our heritage.
What should we look out for from you in 2020?
I certainly promise to continue to DROP JAWS AND TURN HEADS with the investment in my personality and my unending creativity. Definitely expect more music; I intend to release more music that a lot of my audience wouldn’t expect. I’ve been experimenting with my producer and I have a body of work I can’t wait to share with the world. Definitely look out for my Amina Angels comic books on Vanimax Comix; we’ll be releasing issues weekly. I also want to take my work (THE QUEEN’S GOALS) to a new height; I want to invest in more programs that provide sustainable solutions for the girls we support. I also want to create more campaigns and collaborate with brands that I genuinely love. A lot of you might see me exploring and discovering new aspects to myself but most of all, I intend to step into this decade with plans to cement myself and take up space in the places I’ve always dreamed of being.