By Britt Burritt
Voted one of "Canada's Best-Dressed" by the Globe and Mail in 2018, Mirian Njoh has made a name for herself by being herself and embracing her albinism. Born in Liberia, Njoh immigrated to North America with her family as a child. But it was when Njoh moved to Toronto that she found acceptance both for her albinism and her creative outlets, such as her blog, Love Mirian, on which she models and photographs fashion.
We spoke with the multitalented Njoh about her craft and her style icons.
You're a photographer and do some self-portraiture. What attracted you to that medium?
I always had an interest in modeling. But I didn't really know any photographers that I could work with and I've always been a DIY person—if I want something, I'll figure it out. That's kind of where it came from, and it helped me to explore photography and then also modeling at the same time. I just kind of dream up my own ideas.
And you've done some styling for some high-profile music videos?
I still do styling now, but I used to do editorial and then some music videos, as well. I was on the wardrobe team for Rihanna's "Work" video when she shot it here in Toronto with Drake and Director X. It was definitely one of the highlights of my styling career. I mean, everyone loves Rihanna. It was amazing just being in that energy. The song was so infectious, and the wardrobe was cool. I got to work with the dancers. The dancers really embodied the energy of the video. Everyone was just so happy to be there, like everyone was at peak excitement level.
How would you describe your personal style?
I would say it's pretty versatile. I don’t have a specific look. It can range the whole spectrum, whether it's something feminine and frilly and pretty or sometimes I like to kind of be more tomboyish and wear more streetwear style. I'm really exploratory and I don't really feel rooted to any style.
How do you put together an outfit?
I never like to be too much of one thing, if that makes sense. I like to mix masculine and feminine elements. If I have a top that's kind of girlie I might pair it with sneakers. If I'm wearing a baggie outfit and it's really the opposite of bodycon—so if it's almost like body hiding—then I'll wear really nice makeup. I think for me, it's just the idea of balance between different elements.
Whose style do you admire?
Two people, Rihanna and Beyoncé. I say that because first, I love music. I love to look at musicians and their style theme for cues. But what I like about them, too, is throughout the course of their careers they've changed—they've changed styles infinite times. So, it kind of speaks to my own, I guess, evolution of style. I love that they're not afraid to try stuff. For me, I like anyone who isn't afraid to try something, people who are going to wear something a little different than maybe other people. There's a phrase, I think it goes, "It's ugly until Rihanna decides it's not." It really sums up her ability to take something that looks like a potato sack and put it on and then all of a sudden it's like couture. That's goal; that's the level to get to, to where you are beyond fashion.