Leilani Momoisea

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By Thandi Ntshinga

Leilani Momoisea, also known as Lani, is one of those women you look at and think “boy has she got it!” If you are someone who either follows her on Instagram, a follower of her blog LaniSays, or someone who sees her model from time to time, she’s the type of girl you know want to get to know. In the way of fashion, Lani makes simplicity look extremely chic, immediately making her the go to person to ask about her views on women and of course, mens fashion.  Lani speaks about travelling, Instagram, and how women of Polynesian descent are holding it down in the fashion industry.

DS: Where does your inspiration to put a look or outfit together come from?

L: Most of the time I’m just trying to stay comfortable and warm, so whatever achieves that. I look at street style blogs from time to time to get ideas on different ways to wear things, but I don’t often buy new clothes so it’s just trying to find new ways to work old pieces – currently I’m just wearing the boyfriends oversized sweaters and skinny jeans with boots and a beanie because I’m lazy and cold.

DS: You’re the NZ brand ambassador for Boohoo, how did that come about?

L: It was through their NZ PR agency, Beat PR, who asked me to start taking street style pictures for the boohoo NZ Facebook page. I did that for a bit, and basically whenever an opportunity to do something for them came up, I’d just say yes. It worked out, because they asked me to be their official blogger for Fashion Week last year, and they asked me to be the NZ face for their Global Styler Campaign, so that was pretty cool getting that kind of exposure and seeing myself on their website. I’m not ‘officially’ their brand ambassador, but I guess it can seem like that because I do a lot of posts about their clothes. They were one of the first brands to support me, so I’m happy to do it.

DS: How long have you been modelling and how did you get into the industry?

L: I was pretty old in ‘model years’ when I joined up with an agency at 22. I was working at Real Groovy and the lady who did accounts for Real Groovy also did the accounts for my previous agency, 62 Models. She saw me and took in some pics of me to 62, and they put me on their books. I’d been approached by other agencies over the years, but as soon as they took my measurements, they’d tell me to lose weight/a few inches around my hips, etc. before they’d sign me, and I wasn’t keen on that. 62 never told me to do that, so that was cool. But it wasn’t really until I turned 25 that I started getting any real work and most of that wasn’t modelling, the majority of the work I got was TV commercials, which is all good because it pays well. I’m with N Model Management now,

DS: If you weren’t modelling and travelling the world what would you be doing? Like the ‘other’ route you could have gone career wise?

L: I’ve been a journalist for Radio New Zealand since 2007. I’m not full-time there any more, but that’s still how I make my living. Any modelling work just supplements that income, but I don’t make enough as a model to live off of it. Travelling is what I’d like to be doing instead of working haha.

DS: A lot of the time, the modelling industry has a certain look and type of people, especially overseas. How have you found the industry as a model of Polynesian decent?

L: To be honest, I haven’t gotten enough real modelling work to be able to say much about the industry. I’d like for there to be a whole lot more models of Polynesian descent but I feel like all my favourite models and the models that are really killing it and dominating it whenever they’re in the country, are Pacific Islanders/Maori – like Ngahuia Williams, Tia Woods, Yasmin Bidois. In terms of how I’ve found the industry, I’m glad that I started out older, because I’ve been to a lot of castings and obviously not gotten a lot of work from it, so it can be a bit demoralising at times, so I’m glad I had a career and a degree already in hand to remind me that my self-worth is not determined solely by the ability to look good in a magazine – don’t get me wrong though, I’d love to see myself in magazines all the time haha – but I was glad to have had a bit of life experience in hand, so that sort of thing didn’t sting as much as it would have if I was say, 15 or 16. Obviously you need to be a certain size, a size 6-8 in order to fit sample sizes. I’m a size 10, but I have never had any pressure from either agency to lose weight.

DS: You run a blog yourself called Lani Says. What drew you towards blogging?

L: I started it because I quit my full time job to live with my partner in New York for about 6 months. I knew I wasn’t legally allowed to work in the US, but I wanted to stay productive, so I thought a blog would be a good way to do that.

DS: Where’d the inspiration for InstaMay come from?

L: There is a website called Fat Mum Slim, and she does a photo a day challenge every month of the year. In 2012, I thought it would be cool to do my own version of this, but just for the month of May, and exclusively on instagram – believe it or not, there weren’t that many people using instagram a year ago. I thought it would be a cool way to connect with the people that read the blog, and get them to help come up with the photo subjects. It can get pretty personal for some of the subjects, so you really get to know the people you follow and they get a much better insight into you, as you go through the month.

DS: How does it feel seeing so many people joining in on InstaMay and InstaMarch, which you tried for the first time this year?

L: I’m always a little afraid to put myself out there so publicly in case it doesn’t take off, so it’s always a relief when it works out. Last year it was choice, because someone shared the list on pinterest, and the re-pins went nuts, and I had a tonne of people from America who had no idea who I was, doing the InstaMay challenge. This year was cooler because I noticed a way bigger local following – I think a few key, well known musicians taking part helped, and Johnson Raela from Flavainterviewed me about it on the radio as well, so that made a big difference too. It’s cool to see how far-reaching it’s become and it’s really nice to be associated with something as your own. InstaMarch was a bit of a brain explosion, I’d announced InstaMay in February, thinking May was the next month coming up…so yeah, that was a bit of a durrr moment, but there were a bunch of people who were keen to do it in March this year as well, so we just did it, I’m not sure yet if I’ll do it again next year.

DS: How would you describe hip hop and fashion at the moment, especially with it merging in with high fashion; and also with hip hop growing to the point where it’s actually influencing high fashion itself; with people A$AP Rocky and Kanye?

L: Not feeling Kanye’s fashion steeze, ASAP is cool when he’s doing the throwback 90s shit but the high fashion stuff I’m not much of a fan of. I’d rather dudes dressed simple and a lilthugged out, like the way Nas dresses in the ‘It Ain’t Hard to Tell’ vid, I’ve always loved the way Nas dresses, and how Mobb Deep look in ‘Survival of The Fittest’ (and pretty much all their vids).

DS: If drop crotch pants with the tapered bottoms are out for guys, what’s next for them do you reckon?

L: Guys can dress however they want haha, but if dudes wanted to take their fashion cues from about 3:15 of the ‘Survival of The Fittest’ vid, when Mobb Deep and Nas are standing together, they would become approximately 100 percent more attractive.

DS: Where are your top five places to travel and why?

L: New York

Hong Kong

Japan

Thailand

Sydney

I’d be here for a week if I were to list the reasons why you should visit these places, just go and find out for yourself !

DS: Where will you travel to next?

L: I want to go to places I haven’t been yet, France, Italy – but most likely the next place I’ll go to again is New York and Samoa.

DS: Who’s someone you’d love to see playing live?

L: Michael Jackson if he was still alive, Beyonce and Drake.

DS: For ladies on a budget, what staple, investment pieces do you recommend?

L: A good pair of dark denim high waisted skinny jeans, a pair of flat ankle boots and a camel or black trench coat and of course the LBD.

DS: When did you fall in love with hip hop?

L: For as long as I can remember I’ve been in love with Hip Hop. In 2003 I really discovered and fell in love with local Hip Hop.

Review: Good As Gold & Mazdef Productions Present Good Shit 2013

Gigs, Music, Review

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Saturday September 28th was one of the most remarkable party nights in Wellington this year. Good As Gold and Mazdef Productions hosted Good Shit 2013 at Meow in Wellington, bringing the last weekend of the month to a spectacular close.

Pre-show, this block party was one to be extremely excited about. With a range of DJ’s and musicians including Beat Mob, Disco Dam G, 3ch∆in$&a†∆•nga & band, Totems, Kev Fresh, Race Banyon & Yvnalesca, B-Lo, DJ Yesh, and Playdirt & Legal Money/4Chainz playing both inside the bar and the outside area; it felt so awesome walking in and being greeted by music and free beer. Not long after pizza from one of Wellington’s best places, Tommy Millions, was served. Note: All of this happened before 8PM, which made the event feel like a massive barbeque with lots of cool shit happening around you.

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As the night went on numbers grew rapidly, and the party really started to pick up; which brings me closer to the main event. Canadian Hip Hop/Jazz trio BadBadNotGood took the stage; the crowd was good and warmed up thanks to Totems. All I can say from here on is that if you like madness at gigs, you would’ve died for this one. And if you’re someone who doesn’t like ruckus, you should learn to embrace such madness, because for me it was frightening BUT amazing. The crowd fed off BBNG’s amazing stage presence. These guys didn’t have to do much except be the exceptional musicians they are; playing keyboards, bass guitar and drums; they provided the emotion and excitement that ignited the crowd. There was a bit, well, A LOT of falling, spilling of drinks and pushing…But what is a party without a little ruckus?

If there’s a Good Shit 2014 and you missed this one, then you my friend should be the one copping early bird tickets next year. DO NOT twiddle your thumbs around themselves, umming and arring over whether you should go. To be the person hunting for tickets three hours after the party’s started, hoping the universe will make an exception for you when the show is sold out, is not the buzz… Meanwhile your mates are all inside getting turnt as fuck. Anyway, there aren’t really any other words to express how cool this was. As someone who isn’t really keen on huge crowds at gigs and concerts, I learned one very important thing — if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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Check out our Facebook photo album of the gig HERE. All photos have been shot courtesy of JAM Photography (By Anna Jamieson)

Review: Drake – Nothing Was The Same

Music, Newness, Review

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Drake‘s third studio album Nothing Was The Same is out, and it’s had quite a backing from fellow muso’s. Jhené Aiko‘s done a little bit of promo since she’s on the album, and Tyler, The Creator’s taken a series of photos of his Drake album ‘eating a sandwich’ and ‘riding a skateboard’ as would be expected in Tyler’s typically quirky fashion. There are a lot of others backing the album, but it all really comes down to what we hear when we play it, and if we actually like it or not.

It seems as though the album’s really getting the ladies, which is no surprise when it comes to Drake; some of the gents I’ve come across feel as though the album has ‘too much singing’ and not enough bangers. I suppose you could count ‘Started From The Bottom’ as a banger of sorts, but I understand what they mean. There was the anticipation that there would be an unreleased banger to really set off the album. Drake’s really about his sentimental take on his own music as we know, so there aren’t really any surprises. The album is easy to listen to without a doubt, but it does leave us hanging a little bit. This doesn’t discredit the album though, because there are songs that are prevalent:

‘Too Much’ featuring British artist Sampha is a gripping track; where Drake’s focus on family, friends, promoting positivity and the success of his loved ones speaks volumes. The whole song has so much heart and admissions about the ones close to him. He raps – “My uncle used to have all these things on his bucket list/ And now he’s acting like, oh, well, this is life, I guess, “Nah, fuck that shit/ Listen man, you can still do what you wanna do, you gotta trust that shit”. Drake takes us into a world that a lot of us can truly relate to. Sometimes when you’re knocked down and you’ve had many plans that eventually end up in smoke, it not only gets you down, but those around you as well. On Nothing Was The Same, Drake is that friend, sibling, child or partner we might have — that one who tries to pry you out the pit of your biggest fears and convinces you it’ll be okay. Each song on the album would likely have a feeling that certain listeners can relate to. Drake’s features were also a nice addition, having Jay-Z join him on ‘Pound Cake’, Jhené Aiko on ‘From Time’ and Detail on ‘305 To My City’. 

While it feels as though this isn’t Drake’s best project, it’s still an album that people can chill to. There was so much build up towards the record that we may have expected more surprises than what we got. Perhaps the fourth studio album will fill the void? We’ll see.

Interview: Munashe — “Global by 21”

Feature, Interview, Music

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Auckland rapper/producer Munashe is new to the NZ music scene. ‘It hasn’t even been a year but I think I’ve made a fair amount of progress’, he says. 
The 17-year-old, originally from Zimbabwe, has such a passion for what he’s doing; school has taken a backseat to recording music and doing shows. Having been noticed by Raiza Biza and subsequently adopted into the AmmoNation collective, Munashe says, it feels good to rep a team and be kept in check, quality wise. Seeing him perform live at the Back To Basics gig in Wellington, hosted by YP Productions and Ill Magik, it’s clear this kid is not one to underestimate or sleep on. Whendidyoufallinlovewithhiphop caught up with him before the show to talk about what keeps him motivated, his upcoming mixtape and how he plans to be a global name by 21.  

HH: When did you start making beats?

M: I started making beats when I was 10 on FL Studio. My older cousin hooked me up with it and that’s when I started.

HH: You produce a lot of your own music…

M: Yeah, most of it.

HH: How do you feel about collaborating with other artists, be it production or features? Do you like to do that or are you more confident doing things by yourself? 

M: That’s a tough question because at the same time, I’ve collaborated and worked with other people but I also like crafting my own music. So, it really depends.

HH: With crafting your own music, do you feel like it’s beneficial because you have complete control of your vision within your own reach?

M: Yeah exactly. I mean, if you want something right you’ve gotta do it yourself.

“I was getting into an argument with my cousin. I was trying to tell him that Lil Wayne was the best rapper ever, then he played me some Nas.”  

HH: So, you’re performing at Back To Basics, to basically a new crowd. What kind of stuff do you have in store to introduce yourself to everybody?

M: I’m gonna do a lot of unreleased stuff from my mixtape that I’ve been working on, so yeah, I’m really stoked to perform those because I’ve never done it before.

HH: When’s your mixtape coming out?

M: The end of October.

HH: How much do you still have to do?

M: It’s almost done. I’ve got stuff written but I just need to record because I’ve got school, it’s noisy, the people I live with, so I can’t really record all the time.

HH: What’s it like juggling school and music? Because I find that some of us don’t really find a clear balance but rather choose one to focus on the most and neglect the other.

M: (laughs) Yeah , I’ve sort of done that.

HH: Has that had any affect on your parents? Because they’re supportive, but when they see your grades going down, how do they take that?

M: I got into a little something with them last week because one of my teachers said something in one of my classes. So yeah, they’re not too happy about that.

HH: At times people are quite stunned when there are young musicians doing really well. What do you think about people putting somewhat of a label on young artists like “only 16” or “only 17”? 

M:  I think being young is sort of an advantage because, when people look at you, they see potential. When people see someone older, they’ve kind of reached their prime. But when they’re young you see the potential and there’s hope.

HH: Raiza Biza has also taken notice and got you into AmmoNation. How does it feel being part of a collective?

M: It’s pretty cool being part of a collective because you have a team to rep. It’s not just your name on the line, but you’ve got a collective behind you which makes you stay up to par with the other members of your team.

HH: Some aspiring musicians, and anyone for that matter, tend to have a slump in their motivation. What goals do you set for yourself, or what rule do you live by to continue making music without wanting to say “Uh, yeah I quit”? 

M: I always write down what I want to do. Everyday when I wake up in the morning, I write something like  “Make a beat. Record.” Because I feel more motivated when something’s on paper. I don’t know why, it’s just a mental thing.

HH: When did you know that Hip Hop was something you wanted to do as a career, all day, everyday?

M: The first time I heard Nas. Yeah, that’s when I knew. I was getting into an argument with my cousin. I was trying to tell him that Lil Wayne was the best rapper ever, then he played me some Nas. I was like, eleven or something, and I just fell in love from then on.

HH: What long-term goals do you have for your career? 

M: I plan to be global by 21, so that’s what I’m working towards.

HH: What’s it like having the support of your family, because sometimes, especially coming from an African background where parents want you to do a set criteria of things like being a doctor or accountant…

M: Or a lawyer…

HH: Yeah, exactly! What does it feel like to know you’ve got parents who actually support something really artsy?

M: I wouldn’t say my parents support me, and if they do, they’ve only started recently. Back in the day they didn’t really want anything about music.

HH: I suppose as you progress they’ll start to see that it’s something worth doing.

M: Yeah, definitely with time.

HH: When did you fall in love with Hip Hop?

M: I don’t really know, I can’t put a date on it. It’s just always been something I’ve been into from when I was a little kid. My sister used to just put on MTV, Juice and I’d just listen to what’s playing all day, but it’s always been a part of my life.