MYKITA Tumi Clip Official
Tumi wears MISTY in Glossy Gold/MIlky Indigo with Raw Black Gradient lenses from the MYKITA ACETATE collection.

Tumi on chasing her dreams while keeping the sense of confidence and freedom from her childhood. We take a moment to go beyond the surface with one of the standout faces from our latest campaign: Open, expressive, and with charisma to spare, London-based Tumi is destined to make an impact wherever she goes.
How did you imagine your life to be when you were still a child?
I grew up in Nigeria, so it's completely different. At a very young age, I watched TV and I wanted to be on there. I watched Bugsy Malone, and I was obsessed with the fact that these children seemed to be doing such grand things. I wanted to be a child star, but I also wanted to be a bus conductor. Because in Nigeria they have these ratchet rickety buses, and it's just loads of chaos. These ‘area boys’ who are the gangsters of the streets of Lagos. They would hang out of the cars – usually topless – and they would shout, being tough and super strong. They were the gladiators of our streets. I was simply obsessed. I wanted to be one of them. So as a kid, I saw my life as either being an area boy or on TV.
Do you still relate to the child that you were – is there anything you think you have brought with you into adulthood?
I would ironically say confidence and a sense of freedom, not judging myself. I really work on not judging myself even when I'm doing things that I find annoying. As a kid you do not judge yourself. There’s not much of a concept of shame. That’s what I probably try and carry. I'm still chasing my dreams. I still want to be a TV star. I'm still very much on that path and trajectory. I want to carry a lot of strength where I can be strong for the people around me. But overall, I would say being non-judgmental to myself and towards other people.

MYKITA Tumi Clip Official
Behind the scenes of the campaign shoot at Großer Garten in the Berlin countryside.

Can you describe the biggest turning point in your life?
I've had a few as a gay Black woman from Nigeria. I think coming out of the closet and accepting my queerness; exploring what that looks like lived as opposed to dreamed. I'm going to go and actualize that. I'm going to go and find a partner, find a community. And I must be okay with knowing that the people who I've known and loved forever may not be able to be comfortable with that. I then came to find that the people that loved me, loved me regardless. People do all these things to cover and appease the world, but really, you're wasting your time. Because if the world doesn't love you as yourself, you're going to break one day. You're going to realize you’ve just been playing and pretending. The people that love you and the people that want to be around you will stay.
Can you talk a bit more about community and what it means to you?
Community for me is very important because I think I am a part of many marginalized groups, so it's incredibly important for all my communities, the queer community, black community, more specifically Nigerian community, Nigerian, alternative community, even just being a woman. There must be solidarity because, unfortunately a lot of us are still just persecuted for existing. So, community for me sometimes is protest and it sometimes is freedom. It is feeling accepted, feeling seen and feeling like you can contribute. I'm holding and supporting one another for a cause that's greater than any of us. I think community is family, essentially. The people that have your back and the people that you have their back first. We defend each other, we curtail each other. I believe even us now making this together, is also a community: a community of free thinkers, a community of people who want to produce beautiful moments, a community of people who think bigger than just the capitalist structures of the world.

MYKITA Tumi Clip Official
Tumi wears CAVEN in Dark Brown/Santiago Gradient from the MYKITA ACETATE collection.

What does a life less ordinary mean to you?
A life less ordinary is just about not subscribing to the system or the trajectory that's set out for the average human being. I think anything unconventional is people who don't live like the masses. Essentially go to school, finish, get good grades, go to university, get good grades. Maybe take a gap year, finish, join the corporate world, do corporate 9 to 5 life. Get married. If you're a woman, get married to a man, have kids and then your kids do the exact same thing. Anything that's not that, I would say is not living, quote unquote, ordinary … Actually, I take all that back. I'm going to say for me personally, not living a life less ordinary is just thinking for yourself and acting accordingly. That's it.

Thank you, Tumi, for sharing your story and infectious energy with us.

This conversation is a part of our interview series that goes beyond the surface with the multihyphenate talents of our Eyes Wide Open campaign, celebrating self-expression and the many individual paths in life.