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INTERVIEW: Actor & Model, Dubem Onwumere Talks Walking the AFRIMMA Runway, Diversity & Stereotyping in the Fashion Industry, His Brother in Hollywood, and More…


INTERVIEW: Actor & Model, Dubem Onwumere Talks Walking the AFRIMMA Runway, Diversity & Stereotyping in the Fashion Industry, His Brother in Hollywood, and More…

Let me introduce you to Dubem Onwumere, a Nigerian American model and actor based in Dallas, Texas and youngest of 3 male siblings. One of whom is famous actor, Toby Onwumere of popular TV shows like; “Empire” and “Sense8“.

Dubem is very big on creativity and also dipped into directing photoshoots for different companies/brands that haven’t utilised models before. Actualising creative concepts for himself and other people is something that he is very am proud of.

Check out my interview with Dubem below:

Hey Dubem! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Most definitely. My name is Dubem Onwumere. I’m a 27 year old Nigerian American. Youngest of 3 male siblings and currently living in the DFW area. I think that’s pretty good for an intro.

Talk me through an average day in the life of you?

It sort of flip flops, but usually they would consist of exercising, going to the “9-5”, photoshoots, creating photo/video concepts, and a few other things as well.

What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?

I graduated with a psychology degree and a minor in business from Texas Tech University.

How were you discovered and what inspired you to go into acting?

There actually a few things that I did for a few artists such as IAmKeke, phenomenal christian artist, TOLU, another wonderful artist, Ja’Daku, and some other commercials and short films. Stepping into that made me see exactly why people love to do it so much. Brings a lot of creativity that’s inside people.

You ended up also falling in love with modelling, why?

Modeling really was the first thing I started to become passionate about. For one it keeps me motivated to stay in good shape. Another is the relationships you create with people in the industry. They really help to bring creative fashion/picture/promotional ideas to light. I always love when I can model for something and be able to put a dose of my idea in it. Such a great feeling. That and when I get the same creative spark a photographer or director has.

What was your first audition process like?

It was a bit strange like any other type of first time experience. The one thing I always have with any type of auditions, and many people can relate to this, is that nervousness in the pit of your stomach. You’re excited and maybe somewhat apprehensive. After that, you gain energy and you put your all into that moment of an audition. The first one was a definite shaky experience, but built the basis for future ones as to not freak out.

You recently walked the runway at Afrimma, one of the biggest African platform in the United States. What was the experience like being able to showcase talent on such a big platform?

This is actually my 2nd year walking in the Afrimma Fashion Show. This second year, it does the heart good to see many familiar and new faces that come together for that type of cultural event. On such a huge platform that it has, there’s so much more to be had with it too.

Tell me more about your love for modelling and how you use it to communicate through your work?

When I can put myself and my identity to different photoshoots, campaigns or what have you, it makes me feel so good to see the result of that. I love to see that and feel that. When others look at it and get inspired from in any form, that makes me feel even better.

What will you say motivated/inspires you to stay dedicated to what you do?

When I became passionate about it, that’s what made me dead set on it. It takes that one thing to stick in your life and it’s almost forever pinned to you. The further I progress, the more I can bring others into the forefront. Also to help others to realize their own potential.

What’s your 5 Dos and Don’t when it comes to acting and modelling?


  1. Be comfortable in your body
  2. Know what is realistic for your look
  3. Take criticism in from peers and superiors well. Those that care say it to see you succeed.
  4. Stay true to your personality
  5. Work hard at the craft

Don’t s:

  1. DO NOT pretend to be someone else (people can sniff out the change in personality)
  2. Don’t be defeated by one no or even tens or hundreds of them
  3. Don’t give up if you’re truly passionate about it
  4. Do not lie about what you have done… or haven’t done
  5. Don’t wait on opportunity to knock on your door. You run to its house and bang the heck out of it

Your brother Toby Onwumere who is also an actor in Hollywood and as featured in popular TV shows like “Empire” and “Sense8”. How does that make you feel?

I am immensely proud of my brother. Being able to see the journey from his high school days starting off in theater to his undergraduate years to now, it’s like a reality shock. He’s one of the many fuels to my drive to succeed in what I am doing.

What do you do to stay in shape, do you go to the gym?

Oh but of course. I definitely go to the gym about 4-5 days out of the week to stay fit and in good shape. Each day I split my workouts into different areas (lower body, abs, etc). I make sure I do cardio and abs often. Sometimes at home while taking breaks from the gym, I try and do deep stretches and yoga to stay limber.

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

Being able to keep manage my time through the day and through the week helps to find that balance. Still on the journey to make the passion a living, making sure “the house” is taken care of ensures that the balance is there.

As a published model, do you feel the fashion industry is doing enough when it comes to encouraging new talents and promoting diversity?

Now in the 2010’s, it’s getting a lot better. Things aren’t solely inclusive to one look that much anymore. With that being said, there is still a lot more that can be done with promoting new talent especially for those that are doing the work independently. For them, money hungry entities that aren’t really agencies or in the industry usually grasp on to that demographic and toss them to the wind.

What do you consider the most common stereotype people have about models?

That a lot of them make a lot of money consistently off their beginning works. Some are pretty well off and get lucky. Realistically, it takes a while to see results come in. That’s why working hard towards it is paramount.

What aspect surprised you the most once you started as a model?

How close some models, directors, photographers can become with each other. It doesn’t seem that far fetched, but had to see it for myself.

Looking back to when you started acting and modelling, is there anything you would like to change about those industries?

Nurturing different types of people is the one thing I would enhance. Hard work sometimes gets clouded by certain inclusive sectors of the industries.

Which brands, clients, photographers, models, actors, producers, directors, etc, have you worked with?

I’ve worked with J. Bolin, MIZIZI brand clothing, Mahiri Takai, Music artist Tolu, Coffee City brand Coffee, Don Morphy, Great Day Houston and others as well.

What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?

Definitely a few things. One of them being a part of MIZIZI’s promotion for their new clothing during Nigerian Independence Day. Another would be walking for Men’s Fashion Week Dallas. Still plenty of more to come.

Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?

I don’t have a specific who to work with yet, but anyone that is willing to produce and create something phenomenal. Dope designers and producers that have the passion to drive their work to many many people.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Not backing down from the passion even though it hasn’t been too financially fruitful so far.

Tell us two things people don’t know about you?

I love to dance and I am a bit of a nerd.

You are very active on social media. Do you think its important to be online and if so why?

It’s important not to be consumed by it. It’s also important to make sure your presence is known if you want to try and get your work out to different populations.

You are currently based in Dallas, Texas. How is that working out for you?

It’s helped in the beginning stages to get my feet wet in the industry. Definitely a lot of good friendships. Would like to see what else the world has to offer me just as much as I can to it.

What are your must visit travel destinations?

  1. New York
  2. Japan
  3. Ghana
  4. Norway
  5. Atlanta

And many many more in the future.

Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?

  1. What looks good to you
  2. What feels good on your body
  3. What not to wear. Really think about that
  4. What makes it you
  5. Is it cohesive

How would you describe your style?

I would say my style is a bit minimal on some days. Throwing on whatever I see, but making sure it looks good.

What style genre appeals to you the most?

Either street style or preppy, but I don’t have a set genre I stick to though.

Name your 5 must have accessories/essentials?

  1. Beads
  2. Gum (or any breath freshener)
  3. Chapstick
  4. Handy Gift Card
  5. More beads

What are your favourite fashion trends?

Seeing good clothing in general in whichever genre catches my eye. Although I will say the “Dandy” trend is definitely a dope one.

What is your favourite dish?

My childhood favorite: rice and stew. From the cradle to the grave, I think I’ll love that meal.

What songs are currently on your playlist?

A lot of SoundCloud artists and local artists from the DFW area. Some of them are Devey Stonez, G Peoples, J$ph. Some others I have are Currensy, Mr. Eazi, Larry June, Anderson Paak, Disclosure, Tiwa Savage, and a few more.

Apart from acting, modelling, what other projects are you currently working on?

I work with a company called AODI (art of digital influencing) that is helping companies and social influencers to progress their brand or business. I work with the non- profit organization PART 2 (Providing awareness and retaining traditions for the 2nd generation). They help to keep the traditions and culture alive for young Nigerians at home and abroad. I also do some creative directing on the side for different individuals and brands.

Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?

Do it to the fullest extent of your being. There is no other driving force that is equivalent to yourself. And make sure you do good to others that help you along the way.

Any specific plans for the future?

Definitely get to travel and appear in different fashion weeks and different campaigns.

Any final words?

For those that are afraid to go to their passion, do not be. Even though you may be setback, keep the feeling of your passions intact. It’ll do you well in the future. Thank you for the opportunity to be interviewed for this. Much much love and appreciation.

Where can we follow you online and on social media?

Instagram: o_dubem

Asuquo Eton founded, now one of the most visited TV, music, tech and features website, in 2011. He is also a social media analyst, media and entertainment consultant.

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