Driven by her goal to become an overachiever, Fancy took on the role of wearing different hats at the same time — as an entrepreneur, model, and content creator.
In this interview, Fancy gives us more details about her journey and her plans for the future.
Who is Fancy Acholonu?
Fancy Acholonu is a Nigerian-American model, influencer, and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. She recently launched her fragrance line, Simply Fancy, which was inspired by her journey of finding healing in scents and perfumery.
Tell us a bit about you and your journey from Nigeria to the United States.
Fancy was born in Los Angeles to Nigerian parents and was raised in both countries. She has dual citizenship and would visit Nigeria at least twice a year. She believes her parents raised her the way they did because they don’t want her to lose their Nigerian heritage. She says, “They don’t want us to be here for ten years, and we don’t know how to make the [Nigerian] food or speak the language.”
How did your Nigerian heritage influence your career and personal life?
Nigerians have this culture where parents want their children to do very well. Before, Nigerian kids often heard their parents saying, “You have to do well being a doctor or lawyer,” but now that’s changed, and Nigerian parents would advise their kids to just “do really well.”
Because of this kind of culture, Fancy developed a personality where she needed to be an overachiever to prove herself. But it wasn’t long before she realized she was actually enjoying what she was doing and decided she just wanted to overachieve because Nigerians love to be very successful.
Fancy’s work ethic goes with her personal life, where she takes people very seriously. She has the utmost respect for people, especially with their time, which is why she strives to become overly punctual. She’s always on time as she doesn’t want other people to feel disrespected.
What inspired you to start your own YouTube channel, and what type of content can we expect to see there?
Fancy cites her love for creating videos to be the reason why she created a YouTube channel. She started her channel when she was still in high school, a time when only a very few had their own channels.
Fancy realized that all the trips she had with her family in Nigeria were unique experiences. She wanted other people to see what her life was and what it was like living as a dual citizen. From there, she started to film her trips to their family village while doing her daily activities, like fetching water and playing with the chickens.
Fancy started her YouTube channel showcasing the behind-the-scenes of her life but admits she doesn’t anymore. Right now, her content shows more of her work life.
How do you choose the brands and products you collaborate with and promote on social media?
Fancy admits being picky in choosing brands and products to collaborate with as she doesn’t want her page to look and feel like a commercial. “People are drawn to me because my page is very personal,” she says.
When choosing which brands and products to collaborate with, Fancy asks herself whether she’s going to buy the product and whether she will use it. She will also consider how she will promote it in a way that feels authentic to her personal brand.
For example, if she receives a product from a video game company, she’ll likely turn down the offer because she doesn’t play video games.
Can you share some tips for aspiring models and influencers on building their brands and growing their audiences?
“Just be yourself,” Fancy advises. Back in the day, Fancy felt like everyone had to fit into a box, and there wasn’t a lot of room for creativity. But today, it’s different because people who are themselves are winning.
Models and influencers should consistently promote their personalities as someone will be drawn to them. Anyone attempting to be someone else will eventually fade as the audience will see right through it.
How do you maintain your personal life and your career as a model, influencer, and entrepreneur?
Fancy admits she’s still working on finding that balance. She currently does a lot of things and has put aside her personal life, which she says isn’t good. She states, “I really love working because I love what I do, but I’m trying so hard to stop and smell the roses.”
Because time goes quickly, Fancy doesn’t want to lose out on her personal bond with her friends and family simply because she’s an entrepreneur or is into influencer modeling. She says balancing these roles isn’t easy and is still learning to this day.
What inspired you to create your fragrances, and what makes them different from other fragrances in the market?
Fancy started her fragrance line, Simply Fancy, when she was going through a really dark time in her life. Instead of drinking and taking drugs as most would, Fancy decided not to take that route and instead embraced nature.
She started to smell flowers a lot more and realized that these scents uplifted her mood. She decided to sign up for perfume school to learn what type of natural ingredients or fragrances she could use to improve her mood and make her feel great while keeping her smell good.
She started taking perfume classes privately for years and focused on learning for herself. At first, she didn’t know if she was going to make perfumes, but eventually, she did. Making perfumes made her happy, and she felt that creating them brought her from a very dark place to a happy place.
Can you walk us through the process of developing fragrances from their initial concept to the final concept?
Before Fancy took the classes, she realized the process wasn’t as easy. It involved a lot of smelling different fragrances, around 150 fragrances in a day.
The process of developing fragrances begins by finding which notes mix well together and create a scent that Fancy wants to have. She was learning how to layer it from the top notes, middle notes, and then base notes. Fancy finds this scientific process very tricky but later realizes there’s no science behind the right or wrong way.
She explains, “I was learning how to layer it [the different notes], how much alcohol to put in it that it doesn’t take away the scent of the natural ingredients, and then thinking of the ball and the box.” This process was very detailed but interesting, and Fancy enjoyed every single bit of it.
Tell us a bit more about it — how does it smell? What notes does it have?
Fancy described the smell as a powerful flower. It’s a floral but relaxing scent with Moroccan orange blossom in the top notes, lavender in the middle notes, and vanilla in the base notes.
Tell us about the name, Simply Fancy.
Simply Fancy was a nickname given to Fancy for a long time, and she shared the story behind it. Because of her name, people expect her to be a very fancy girl. But according to Fancy, “I’m the simplest person ever. I don’t even have a lot of material things; I’m someone who finds the fancy part in life experience.”
Fancy came up with the name to show that anyone can be Simply Fancy, meaning someone who enjoys the simplicity of life but can also have their fancy moments. She also wants to use her line to show people that with everything happening in social media, they don’t have to be too caught up in showing their fancy side as much better, simpler things happen behind the scenes.
How do you plan to expand the Simply Fancy product line in the future? And what can we expect to see next?
Fancy’s next goal is to go into as many retail stores as possible, so people can physically go in and smell the perfumes. She already has plans and conversations going on behind the scenes. She also wants to participate in events where people can come in and smell her perfumes.
Basically, Fancy’s next step is all about getting out there and getting as many reviews and feedback from people as possible. She believes this strategy will bring trust in people and encourage them to purchase.
How important is it for you to use your platform to promote social courses and raise awareness about issues that matter to you?
Fancy sees social media as a very powerful platform as it can be used for either good or bad. She has been using it as a platform to share her personal and professional life with her followers.
She shares, “My followers know a lot about my journey from where I started. I tend to be very quiet when it comes to my feelings, but I recently become more vulnerable, so my followers are getting more connected with me and my vulnerabilities.”
It is also through social media that Fancy has become more comfortable in sharing her thoughts about women’s empowerment. For her, women empowerment is being independent and strong but also having that femininity.
How do you stay up to date with the latest fashion and beauty trends, and how do you incorporate them into your personal style?
Fancy follows pages that she wants to be influenced by. She also engages with like-minded people online. Conversely, if pages or personalities don’t align with her personal brand, she chooses not to follow them as this will only distract her from paying attention to the trends happening in the fashion and beauty industry.
What advice would you give someone who wants to follow in your footstep and build a career in the modeling and influencer industry?
Fancy’s biggest advice is to stay consistent. It’s important not to stop when anyone doesn’t see any results from your effort. As long as they love what they’re doing, they won’t have any problems staying consistent. And once people see how consistent they are, it wouldn’t be long before they become loyal followers.
Are there any projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about in the future?
Fancy’s perfume line will soon get into a store where she’ll be given free rein to put together an event solely for her fragrances. This is Fancy’s immediate project, and he hopes that it will also bring attention from other stores and give them a reason to carry Simply Fancy.
Can you share your top three beauty secrets for looking and feeling fabulous every day?
First, Fancy drinks a lot of water and considers this as her number one formula. Second, she wears sunscreen all the time and advises everyone to do the same regardless of their skin color. This simple trick protects the skin and lessens the risk of cancer. The third is to spray a really nice perfume, as it can help anyone feel confident.