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Steven Onoja, Student

“I came here to be an artist, but we Africans, our families don’t want us studying art. So I’m studying accounting.”

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When did you start dressing so well?
Back in Nigeria, where I grew up. In school they would pick the neatest student; I won once and kept it up.

Where do you shop?
Mostly thrift stores. I go to Buffalo Exchange in Williamsburg every day.

Where in Nigeria are you from?
Kogi State, but my mom sent me to boarding school in a small village. It was terrible. The food was bad, lights went out every night at 11 p.m., and older students would wake you up at two in the morning to wash their clothes or fetch water.

When did you move to New York?
In 2010. I came here to be an artist, but we Africans, our families don’t want us studying art. My mom was just like, “No, do something else.” So I’m studying accounting.

Interview by Alexis Swerdloff.


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