1. What does Madhappy mean to you?
Madhappy to me represents a positive productive lifestyle.
2. What was your first encounter with mental health? Either personal or family / friends?
My first encounter with mental health was with a close friend of mine that suffered from severe mental illness. The illness caused him to stop working and eventually become homeless. This breakdown was triggered by a bad breakup with his girlfriend. This taught me to really pay more attention to my friends and family and always reassure them that I am there for them.
3. How do you prioritize your mental health?
I prioritize my mental health by making sure to take time to breathe, exercise, and do things that make me happy. I love to be outdoors and travel. Living in LA has been amazing because it’s given me the opportunity to focus on my wellness and prioritize on living healthy.
4. The role of social media / information overload in this mental health epidemic.
Social media plays a large role in increasing more mental health issues. Anything from anxiety to envy can stem from a single post that comes across to you.
5. What can we do to create conversation both in our internal community as well as the broader world?
To create conversation in and outside of our communities we have to be more vocal about the issues that matter most to us. Use our voices as tools and do this periodically.
6. Ugo, can you share your journey with us? How did you get to where you are today?
My journey is quite interesting. It started from Enugu, Nigeria where I was born and has lead to Los Angeles, CA. I always had an innate passion for creating and directing. I loved bringing people together and I loved designing. I followed my intuition and took risks to put myself out there. I worked hard, travelled, and did a lot of research. 10 years later, I am a Creative Entrepreneur and Social Activist. Focused on storytelling and artist management.
7. How did you get into styling? What did you love about the craft? Who are some of your favorite clients?
The love of style and creating got me into styling. I loved the fact I can make someone more confident about themselves or change the way they feel about themselves just by upgrading their look. My favorite client is always my current client.
8. Talk about your African heritage. How does being Nigerian shape your point of view?
My African heritage has definitely shaped my point of view. No matter what projects or talent I'm working with. I always view things from my personal perspective. Culture, character, and art always play a large role in creating and drawing inspiration.
9. Outside of fashion, you have begun to be very actively involved in bringing up the next generation of African creatives. What inspired you to do this and how do you see this playing out over the next few years?
Creating a platform for the new generation of African creatives is very important to me. I was born in a small town outside on Lagos, Nigeria. I could have easily been one of the less fortunate kids out there without hope or opportunities. Because I was blessed to have been exposed to a better life and more opportunities I've made it a life mission of mine to create more outlets and platforms for them to connect, express, and grow.
10. Tell us about how WANA will ship the African future!
WANA Will be a bridge for everyone that wants to learn and experience Africa. We will shape the African future by making it a global tourist destination and giving the world access to the beauty and culture the continent has to offer.
11. What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
I want to be known for dedicating my life and career to helping to elevate the image of Africa. Change the narrative, and bring the continent into light.
1. Favorite Madhappy piece?
My Baby Blue Hoodie. I wear it every other day.
2. Best relaxation tool?
3. What does your most recharging day look like?
Spending time at the beach or camping out in the desert or woods.
4. Role Model?
5. Favorite Podcast?
6. What are you reading right now? Things Fall
Apart, By Chinua Achebe
7. If you had a billboard that everyone in the world could read, what would it say?
Believe in the power of your words and manifestations.