Adrienne doesn’t just express her creativity as a public education advocate or one-time singer - she even has fashion blogger on her CV. She described her blog - “The Curve and The Line,” now discontinued - as a place where she could explore fashion and document her own journey of thrift shopping and repairing fabrications to make them her own. I realized that no matter what her chosen avenue, she channeled her incredible passion and point of view into it. She is the definition of Spotlight material.
Adrienne Nyamsi Makes Her Voice Heard
One classically trained vocalist turns her voice to public education advocacy. After graduating with degrees in political science and performing arts, Adrienne Nyamsi has been passionate about using her big voice for social justice work. Now she gets the message out - about access to education and better equity in education policy - through her words and her looks.
Adrienne has a lot to say. She’s always been this way, she reminisces, and using her voice to make space for others to speak has been the key to her success. It’s what’s given her a stage to press education issues for a network of charter schools, what got her on the stage as a child, teenager and undergrad performing artist and what she channels through her fashion each day. “I want you to have a sense of who I am before I start talking - whether I’m meeting with parents advocates over coffee in Harlem or leading a workshop to teach would-be, first-time, grassroots canidates the brass tacks of running for office,” she says.
Clearly, Adrienne is accustomed to days that vary.
This works out for her, she explains. “I’m not a person who does well doing the same thing day after day after day,” explains the social justice champion. Some days she’s visiting schools in Las Vegas, San Antonio or Baton Rouge, LA. Often she just trains up to Harlem, which still gives her ample commute time to tune in to her favorite tunes like Anderson Paak albums or that morning’s podcasts. (See which ones in the ELQ&A below.) “Sometimes I think it would be faster to swim across the water [East River] instead. Give me a kayak. I’ll figure it out!” she smiles.
Charting her own path isn’t a new idea to Adrienne.
Her voice and her passion have drawn her toward everything from teacher-training programs and social-sector incubators to tutoring advocates. It all comes down to access and equity in education. “As far as I know, no one else has gone on this career trajectory,” she reflects. “But, my career is not about title-chasing. It’s about being committed to a specific passion and finding new ways to do that - to build systems for that. How will I continue to do it? We’ll see. There’s not a model. I’m following my heart.”
Being true to herself and her voice is something Adrienne learned at a young age.
When she was a child, she sang often and boisterously. One day, her mom looked at her with a smile and said, “You are so loud for a small person.” The girl responded, “Mommy, I want to hear my voice.” Even then, her mom knew she was a person who understood her purpose very clearly. One avenue opened up immediately: singing. She became part of an award-winning children’s choir, attended a performing arts high school and graduated college as a classically trained vocalist. Then: advocacy work. Another avenue didn’t reveal itself until later: fashion.
“Fashion is not beside the point - it’s yet another way to communicate,” she declares.
“I think, ‘What will I do today at work? What story can I tell based on what shirt I put on?’” Adrienne seems to have inherited some this thinking from her mom - a woman who wanted to tell the world something through what she wore. “She was not someone who opened a closet and just grabbed something out,” says her admiring daughter who admits to also inheriting her mom’s shoe habit. “I’m obsessed with cigarette pants to show off my shoe,” she laughs. Without hesitation, Adrienne also recalls her mom’s bright lipsticks and the red leather shorts she wore when she turned 60. “Her style was saucy and celebratory of who she was … it was big and bright and luxurious… come to think of it, maybe I should take a page from her,” says Adrienne. My style is more controlled and edited,” she explains. As a pedestrian in a walking town, she hinges her personal style on functionality and quality first. However, when we asked for her on-set favorites she revealed her color-loving genes are still in tact - choosing looks in sky blue, lavender and bright pink.
What won her over was the combination of a strong cut and a color that brightens things up.
Take the suit, for instance. Its blazer and wraparound waist tie in the sunny-day hue perked up everyone on set, not just our model. “I loved that,” agreed Adrienne. “I thought that was so pretty.” The same goes for the punchy trench with double front pockets. “That was very fun and also paid homage to my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Incorporated” shared the proud member who champions the organization’s tenets, from the importance of historically black colleges and universities to the arts, economics, women’s healthcare and global impact.
This is another avenue for Adrienne’s powerful voice. She reinforces, “My career is about helping people identify that power in themselves and access experiences - to make their voices strong.”
What was your first ELOQUII purchase?
Cream tuxedo jacket with black lapels. I wore that to death.
Who are your style icons?
1) My mom: She was my very first icon.
2) Thelma Golden: The Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, the world’s leading institution devoted to visual art by artists of African descent. She uses pattern in smart, witty and luxurious ways and always dresses with courage.
3) Aidy Bryant!
4) Molly from “Insecure:” She’s incredibly polished and professional and celebrates femininity.
5) Dorothy from “The Golden Girls:” She was deeply committed to her looks and I love her originality.
6) Cher from “Clueless:” Same reason as Dorothy.
What palette are you obsessed with right now?
Lavender and hunter green. Or lavender and fire red.
I’m a podcast connoisseur. No Man’s Land by The Wing for their focus on interesting female characters from history and Unraveled: A True Crime Podcast for their storytelling,
What trends are you rocking this season?
Wide-leg cropped pants
Love Adrienne’s story? Want to see more? Check out our new arrivals and shop her favorite looks!