Daniel Onagnise


— May 4, 2021 —

Mondays don’t tend to get the best rap. Many melancholic songs have been penned in the day’s honour (here’s looking at you, “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas & the Papas) and catch-phrases like ‘Mondayitis’ and ‘Case of the Mondays’ are bandied about so much it’s little surprise the day has become the common enemy of all. For model Daniel Onagnise however, an otherwise insignificant Monday morning was the launching pad into a new life.

“I was on the train on my way to school on a Monday morning when Elle [my manager] stopped me and asked me if I would be interested in modelling because she saw modelling features in me,” he explains of the chance encounter that gave rise to his modelling career. “She then gave me her email address and told me to email her if I was interested and until today, I can say that was the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Despite being currently based in Sydney, Australia with his family, Nigeria will always be where Daniel’s mind goes when he hears the word ‘home’ because that’s where his life journey began. 

“Growing up in Nigeria helped shape my view towards life because we had low or no access to amenities like water and electricity, whereas in Sydney we have more than enough access to amenities like this,” He says. “Nigeria helped me understand that people should be grateful with what they have, because in other parts of the world people have low access to amenities, if any.”

If you were visiting there for the first time, he’d take you to a restaurant in his hometown, Edo State, a place renowned for its “delicious” Jollof rice, one of his favourite dishes. (FYI, tho, when it comes to food, the one meal he’d eat for the rest of his life if he had to is chicken and chips).

Friendship is paramount to Daniel, because “friends help you celebrate good times, support you during bad times, prevent loneliness and increase your sense of belonging and purpose.” Before he befriends someone, he likes to ascertain how honest, non-judgemental and trustworthy they are—these are non-negotiable traits for him. “A friend to me is someone you run to whenever you’re in need of help,” he says.

Self-development is the name of the game for Daniel at the moment. In fact, he recently learned how to ride a motorbike for the first time after wanting to try it out since he was five. Looking forward to the rest of 2021, he plans to work at making himself a better person, learning how to grow his modelling career, and enrolling in Tafe to pursue a career in fashion design.

You can look forward to getting to know him better below, where we chat about everything from finding fulfillment in life to why Titanic is the best movie of all time… 

Cool Pretty Cool: How can we make the most of our time on Earth?
Daniel Onagnise: By doing what we love and caring less about what people think, especially about the decisions we make. For example, when I started modelling, I got a lot of hate because people still think modelling is just a thing for girls and not for guys, but because I enjoy and love doing it, I ignored all the criticism and kept pursuing my dream.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
My most rewarding moment was when I got featured in the Justsmile magazine. It was my first magazine appearance, so it meant a lot to me.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
No, not really, but I do believe there is a God.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to always put in your best with whatever you do because you never know where that might lead you. Also, never give up on something you love doing.

What is your idea of happiness?
My idea of happiness is doing what I love and living life to its fullest.

What would happen if you had to give up social media for a week?
Life would slow down. My everyday life always has a connection with social media.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is meditate then I go on my phone then so I can plan my day.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I consider myself to be a night owl, because I tend to go out at night— it’s more fun and the city feels more alive. 

Can you recall reading, watching or listening to something that completely changed your mind on something?
The movie 42—it made me change my way of thinking around racism. I used to have a different understanding of racism but after watching that movie I feel like I fully get the meaning.

If you could say something to your 16-year-old self, what would it be?
It would be to always pursue your dreams no matter how big or small they are, and to never take life too seriously because we only live once.

What books are you reading at the moment?
At the moment I am reading the novel Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. It’s about how he got rid of his depression through self-discipline and hard work. 

Favourite song?
My favourite song of all time is ‘No Woman, No Cry’ by Bob Marley. I like this song because it has a strong meaning behind it and is empowering for women. I also just love listening to afrobeats, as it’s part of my culture.

Favourite movie?
My favourite movie of all time is Titanic because it displays what true love really means. I also like that it’s a real story, not just a fairytale.


Feature: Madeleine Woon     Photos: Sarah Adamson     Fashion: Lucy Wood

Daniel is represented by Kult


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