It’s no secret that choosing a career in anything that doesn’t include STEM leaves African parents disappointed. They can’t fathom that there are other ways to make money and be happy besides being a doctor or engineer. Asiyami Gold chose the road less travelled, in an interview with Cosmopolitan she talked about her journey from quitting nursing school to now having over 200,000 followers on Instagram and partnering with brands like J.crew. Catch her interview with Cosmo below:
“‘How could you leave that and go and paint and think painting is going to bring you money’?” Asiyami Gold is recalling her parents’ reactions when she told them she was quitting nursing school at age 22 to pursue an undefined artistic endeavor.
“They didn’t understand. It’s very foreign.”Following years of hard work and financial uncertainty, the 26-year-old is now a full-time Instagrammer, model, designer, and photographer with more than 160,000 followers. Gold spoke about the biggest misconceptions people have about being an influencer and why she ultimately wants to give back to Nigerian children who — like her — weren’t able to nurture creative instincts while young.
But at first, you thought you wanted to become a nurse. What made you change your mind?
I had tricked myself into believing that’s what I wanted to do with my life. I had a Tumblr, and on Tumblr, you get to reblog beautiful images of people, and I was just fascinated by the fact that people could create such beautiful imagery and I wanted to replicate that. When I got on Instagram [when I was 21] I saw more of it but I didn’t see anyone who looked like me. So I began to wonder, “This aesthetically pleasing and beautiful lifestyle I’m drawn to — is it only attainable by people who don’t look like me?”
So I decided I wanted to give different perspective to women of color. I decided to quit nursing school.
What’s it like to tell your family, “Uh, hey, I’m quitting nursing school?”
My older brother had always told me to do what I wanted to do instead of trying to please mom and dad. He said they’d figure out how they can fit into [my] life plans. So he was excited. My mother was not.
And your dad?
My dad and I actually didn’t speak until this year. I’m from Nigeria, and those with Nigerian backgrounds know that to our parents, education is the most important and most valuable thing you could ever achieve in your life.
So when you work that hard and then you have this daughter who wants to now be an artist, to them it’s like saying you want to be an astronaut. They don’t understand.