Onyi is a self taught photographer based in Manchester, UK. Originally from Nigeria, she moved to the UK to advance her career as a chartered accountant. She later discovered her passion for photography that eventually led to the creation of her blog. We discovered Onyi years ago and instantly fell in love with her beautifully curated romantic feed. She has curated one of the most beautiful galleries on Instagram. Be warned, once you click through, you won’t be able to stop scrolling. You can also find her in our recently published hardcover book, Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure where you can find her featured!
Thank you so much for chatting with us today! Could you tell us a little about your story and what you do, for anyone who doesn’t know you yet?
Thanks for having me. My name is Onyi and I’m a self taught fashion, travel and lifestyle photographer and writer. I fell into photography by accident when I was unemployed and was trying to find a job as an accountant because that’s what I studied. While binge watching reality TV shows, I stumbled across one that really caught my eye called “Fashion Bloggers”. It featured a group of women who were all self taught photographers taking amazing self portraits and writing about their journey. It piqued my interest so much so that I ordered a camera with my rent money to begin teaching myself photography. Seven years later, photography remains a passion of mine and I can’t see my life without it.
What change would you like to see change or happen in the travel and photography industries? What advice would you like to give to brands?
I’d like to see a diverse range of people given the opportunity to take part in travel experiences and getting their unique perspective on it. My advice to brands would be to become more inclusive when it comes to representation as they’ll reach a wider range of real people who connect with their story.
What are some challenges or issues you have faced as a Black female traveler?
I’d say the key challenge I’ve faced is actually getting the opportunity to travel. Because I hold a Nigerian passport, it means I usually have to apply for visas to travel. This means more costs on my part and the potential of being rejected. Sometimes the visa requirements are too bureaucratic, I find myself abandoning it altogether.
Another challenge I’ve faced which doesn’t happen very often because I now do my research, is dealing with unreceptive people who don’t necessarily welcome tourists in their area.
What piece of advice would you give to new Black female travelers?
My advice would be to look for shared travel experiences from black travellers. Travel Noire is a good example of a place where you can find this community. I’d suggest travelling with a group of people you trust where possible.
Piece of advice to give non-black travelers?
It’d be to also do their research on the area they’re going to so they know what’s acceptable so as not to break any laws. Researching a place can lead to finding hidden spots and truly taking part in the experience.
What are some states or countries that have been kind to you?
St Lucia and Barbados, Lisbon.
What are some states or countries that haven’t been so kind?
Porto, but that was because of the treatment I received at the airport which separated me from my husband and I had to find my way back home alone. But the people in the city were kind.