Sydney-based dream girl Memu was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa. As a refugee herself, she “understand[s] and relate[s] to many individuals forced to leave their home countries, due to civil wars”, and has huge respect for those who are empathetic to the hardship faced by immigrants. Growing up, she learned to see both sides of everything and recognises that every individual’s life is hugely different from her own.
“There’s no sense of judgement when I meet people for the first time; I just listen and see them for who they are, and hear their story.” Angel.
The best piece of advice she’s ever received was lifted from the pages of Marshall B Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, and that is to never push your own advice on someone who is going through pain, because ”the mere action of being there for someone, and giving them a warm hug, and them feeling your presence, speaks for itself.” She further explains that by advising someone through a statement of what “I” would have done if “I” were in their position never really helps anything, outside of subconsciously boosting your own ego. Wisest words.
In her downtime, you can catch Memu eating some fries at El Loco in Surry Hills, but you definitely won’t find her in a retail shop — she’s a self-confessed “terrible shopper”. Most of what she wears is either hand-me-downs from her mum or stuff she’s had for ages, not that you’d ever be able to tell, ‘cause she throws everything together like a pro. If she had to describe herself in four words, she’d roll with “understanding, thoughtful, enthusiastic, and unique”, and her all-time fave model is Naomi Campbell, because she “changed the face of modelling… and was never afraid to be herself.” If she was an on-screen character, she’d be the french character Amélie, who “creates a colourful world of her own and dives straight in, she’s very peculiar in her behaviour but all intentions are good.”
Memu can’t stand the thought that “each first world countries government power has an apparent agenda that is not world peace.” She reckons that because we live in a society full of so many blind individuals and hidden intentions, it’s a breeze for the leaders of first world countries to do what they want. “The roots have been watered with toxic oil instead of water; everything is intentionally not changing for the good of humanity.” Truth.
The lil’ ripper definitely identifies a feminist, and is currently reading a book that explores cognitive abilities between the sexes, which she picked up after her boyfriend used the cliched “men are better than women at this…” line on her. “That didn't sit well with me because he even had the nerve to act a scenario out of a "fireman" having the strength to rescue him and not a woman, which I sort to lifting him up as protest. I think statistics have a lot to do in how people think these days… just because it may use numbers, doesn’t mean that it's plausible in day-to-day experiences of what women can and cannot do.”
When asked if why she thinks female friendships are so important, she says, “Girl, let me tell you, if you can't hype another sister for going through her periods and the fact that she's got two more days left, then who will? Mother Nature might, but clearly it won't be pleasant.” Someone give this woman a Nobel Peace prize.
When it comes to modelling, she loves being on-set of an editorial, campaign or even a TVC, and meeting so many different individuals. She thinks it’s super to see how much effort creatives put into their work, and always makes sure her attitude is “on-point”. She sees her job as a blessing, and says she hasn’t been in the industry long enough to judge what should be improved. “I think the industry is working on a lot of stigma set up on them, so we can't look back, only forward. It'll be better than ever.”
To her, ‘cool’ is seeing someone from afar just enjoying themselves, or when someone walk past looking all types of fire, and you know they know it too.
Words: Maddy Woon Images: Sarah Adamson Fashion: Miguel Urbina Tan
Memu is represented by:
Shot on location around Glebe in Sydney, Australia