Girls that Influence: Linda Iriza
Not everyone is lucky to have good people in their lives. We all need people who will motivate us to do our very best, who will continue inspiring us, not to do stupid things, but instead to work on becoming a better version of ourselves. I am pleased to say I have had such people in my life, and I am very grateful for that. I spent my developing years of teen-hood with a bunch of awesome girls. One of those girls, is Linda Iriza.
Linda is simply amazing. I think that’s the best word to describe her. In fact, words can’t even describe her. From the first day I saw her, I knew we’d end up linking up. It’s crazy how I could cross paths with such an awesome individual, and I want to share some of her black girl magic with you!
Fun Fact File
- Linda and I first met through the aviation program we both took in high school. We also subsequently dropped out of it, me first, followed by her.
- Linda is 3 days older than me. Yep, both April babies! This is one of the best facts ever, and will always have me shook.
- Linda is from Rwanda, in East Africa! (And yes, she has the body to show that. Major jealousy right there)
- Finally, Linda and I are the joint owners of Elci Threads, which has turned one this month, inspiring this post! Frankly, we all should show the world how awesome our friends are each day, but this is a special post indeed!
What to Love
There’s lots of things to love about Linda. She’s a kind person, generous, cares about women empowerment, sisterhood. She is such an alternative person, definitely a cool black girl. She also embraces her melanin, and wears things with confidence. My goodness, Linda has been the bomb from day 1. I’ve seen her evolve over the years, and she simply keeps getting better and better. From her snapbacks and skinny jeans phase in year 8, to her awesome afro-centric style now as a uni student!
Linda is someone who will inspire you to do stuff! She’s actually paved the way for a lot of things, and has had a great part in the way my character has been shaped. Linda was the first person I knew who used Tumblr, and she introduced me to the wild world of Tumblr. My life has never been the same. Check out her Tumblr here! She also has such a creative way of doing things, and her mind is brimming with ideas. She’s so brilliant, and I love the way she comes up with stuff, especially when it comes to photoshoot ideas for ELCI and even outfit ideas.
She’s definitely not the regular type of individual, and she loves to experiment. I love that she is fearless, and always willing to adventure and try new things. She listens to alternative music too, perusing the likes of Soundcloud. I honestly don’t know how she found her music taste! Currently, she’s undertaking a degree in marketing and economics at Curtin University. I can definitely tell you that she’s one to watch out for!
Need I say more? Linda is awesome, okay?
Now, I’d love to go on and on about her awesomeness, but I’ll let you see it for yourself! I am privileged to have not just anybody, but the co-owner of ELCI, step into the Mind of Amaka blog. I would like to thank her for coming in on such short notice, even with her busy schedule (pssht, Linda is a message away! See? I know some pretty cool people)
What would you say has shaped your personality and tastes across several areas e.g. music, clothing etc…
I’ve always been attracted to the success stories of women, or women who are inspiring or have inspired the world, or those around them. I think my mother has shaped my personality and taste the most. I’ve always wanted to be like her, so I’m always instantly drawn to people who have similar traits. Lastly, the fact that I’m Rwandese or African in general has influenced my music taste and fashion taste.
Why did you start ELCI?
I started ELCI as a way to stay connected with Amaka. In high school we had the same Aviation and English class. We literally saw on another almost everyday. When she moved back to Abuja, I felt as though I would fall back into my bad habit of never keeping in touch with people who meant something to me.
So essentially, ELCI was, in my eyes, a way we could stay in contact with each other. Secondly, I plan on moving back home to Rwanda in 2024, and before I move back I want to already have some sort of impact on the African fashion market and also the travel industry. ELCI was a way for me to gain concrete experience and build something I would be proud of. Lastly, I truly do believe in the fact that we have to build the future we want to live in, and that needs to start now. The African industries I would like to boost and be part of are the fashion, arts and travel industries.
How does it feel to run ELCI?
It feels great running ELCI. I’m currently in my second year of University and it’s draining. Literally, ELCI is the only thing I look forward to. It feels amazing when you have a bunch of jumbled up ideas, but they eventually turn into something you could’ve never imagined.
I think I’ve grown as a person or I am growing as a person because of ELCI. For example, I struggle a lot with having patience, and I’m always wanting things to happen instantly and for things to always go my way. ELCI has taught me to be patience and believe in what we’ve created and eventually the results you wanted to see will come.
Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
In five years, I see myself as a healthy and happy graduate, with a bachelors degree in marketing and economics and a masters in economics (with my research on ‘African unemployment’ published). Those are my academic and health goals. I see myself living in Kigali, Rwanda, in a home I’ve built which doubles as a working space that I share with other creatives.
I see myself owning several businesses again in the fashion (ELCI), arts (ELCI) and travel industries (IWACU TOURS). Family wise, in five years I hope that my family is healthy, prospering and that I’ve built a house for my mum! My friends are also family, I see myself with hopefully a few of them living back in Kigali with me and that we are successful together!
What impact do you hope to make in the lives of those around you, your community, and even the world as a whole?
On a personal level, I want my mum to be proud of what I’ve become. I want to be able to financially support my mum so she doesn’t have to work tirelessly. Instead, I would love to see her going back to school. I want to a positive impact in the lives of African youth in Africa and both in the diaspora. I wish to enable each one of them to start conversations, start businesses and build a better Africa for the future generations to come. I want to one day be able to give out grants to projects by the youth and support them grow so that they can continue to support those after them. I really want to have this impact in Rwanda, because that is my own way to help build my country.
Do you have any advice for young people who have ideas they want to bring to life but are holding back?
Let those who doubt you be your biggest motivation. There’s no time in human history where something great wasn’t met with scrutiny or doubt. If you truly believe in what you’re doing, know what you’re doing will do good to this world, and that its original/authentic, you should go for it.
Never wait for the future, because you’ll always be late. Start today, even if you think you don’t have enough knowledge or experience. That shouldn’t stop you. Never be satisfied with your work – dream big and bigger because that will keep you on your feet.
Don’t get too carried away with what the world has to offer for young people. The girls, the boys, the money, the drugs etc… those will always exist. You won’t always exist, so stay focused and create something that will impact you and generations after you!
Frankly, I love interviewing people. It gives me a chance to be a bootleg Oprah, and boy do I love questions! I hate answering them though, for some reason.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview, and felt the awesomeness of Linda seep through the screen! Until next time!