African Fashion Week Minnesota

Courtney Igbo-Ogbonna

more on Courtney Igbo-Ogbonna.

Tell us about yourself

I am a first generation Nigerian-American born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. My parents came stateside from Nigeria in the 1980’s to pursue higher education in Minnesota. I am the youngest of 3 siblings; 1 sister, and 2 brothers. I graduated from Minnesota State Mankato with a degree in Public Relations and currently work in corporate America in events and marketing. My sister and I started competing in pageants at a young age because my mom saw the opportunities for us to learn extremely useful skills such as public speaking, interview, personal development, and confidence building. I have been competing, judging, and mentoring for over 20 years and plan to continue my journey in pageantry for as long as the industry will have me! I currently reside in Minneapolis with my partner Zach and my wonderful Corgi pup, Sloane.

Tell us about your industry experience

I have been formally trained in acting and modeling since I was a teenager. I am a graduate of Faith Schways Modeling Academy, attended acting conventions, done commercial print, auditioned for tv shows and movies, and walked in Black Minnesota Fashion Week. 

What is your biggest dream

To start a pageant system with my sister! 

What does it mean to be your own kind of beautiful

I envision this as being confident in your skin, beliefs, and skills while treating others with kindness, warmth, and patience.

How would you describe your fashion style

I like to think my wardrobe is timeless and classic. I love neutrals just as much as I like bright colors, designs, and patterns. I enjoy keeping up with the latest fashion trends, but also getting inspiration from past decades pulling pieces that can easily grow with me as my style continues to evolve. I love a great pantsuit, asymmetrical lines, and gold accents. If I could have all of those things in one outfit, I’d be the most unstoppable force you came across that day! 

Who or what inspires you

I’m inspired by strong, resilient women who don’t allow barriers to stop them and continue to uplift women after them. 

What is your best piece of advice

Be your own biggest cheerleader! Don’t count on anyone to celebrate your accomplishments but do hold yourself accountable to notice and celebrate all that you’ve achieved.

Describe some obstacles you have overcome in your life and how that has changed or shaped you

I can’t think of one major event that has shaped or changed me but I do believe that all the adversity I have faced has been purposeful for my development. I am a strong believer in “everything happens for a reason” and I can clearly see the lessons learned from every obstacle I have faced. It has made me into the woman I am today, which is the woman I dreamed of being since I was a child.