FRIENDS: Onisha “Oni” Román

Okay, let’s just get one thing straight, Oni is adorable. Oni and I met for the first time in Atlanta this week. Until now, we have only been Facebook friends because I am also friends with her beau, Tunde from Fresh.i.am (as well as numerous other “friends in common”). I admire her style, drive and the impeccable craftsmanship of all of her garments from her very own line, Body Politik.

JJV: Who are you?

OR: I’m Oni.

JJV: What is your ultimate passion?

OR: Make a living making things that make other people happy. But ultimately, as an older adult, I would love to go into politics– something social. I want to be more involved in civil service. Because really, if we don’t do something, who will? Those crotchety old men, I mean– come on!

JJV: An older adult? (Laughs)

OR: Yes. (Laughs)

JJV: What is your driving force?

OR: To do good on my family. To do something positive for the family name and culture.

Onisha Roman

Fun Fact: Onisha is often mistaken for being Indian/Sri Lankan, Black and “something else” or North African. Oni is actually 100% Puerto Rican.

JJV: What did you eat today?

OR: Bacon, egg and cheese croissant from Jazzman’s. Shredded beef with yellow rice with fried plantain’s and a small salad from Papi’s (it was the Friday special). I usually eat more, but today I decided to stick to two meals.

JJV: Why are you doing what you’re doing?

I wanted to be an artist and I realized it would be easier to make money doing fashion. I consider fashion, art, and it was the only thing that had some kind of commerce to it. Everyone buys clothes– hardly anyone buys art.

JJV: If you aren’t doing design, then what else would you be doing?

OR: A teacher in politics. I’ll probably still do that “as an older adult” (Laughs). I’d be an activist.

JJV: When do you get your best ideas?

OR: When I least expect it; when I’m sitting there not doing anything– but it doesn’t mean I sit around waiting for ideas either. I do a lot of research, and when I stop it’s like, “hey! Here’s an idea!”

JJV: Are you proactive or reactive?

OR: It depends on the situation. When I’m working on a project, a photo shoot or moving, I think of all the nooks and crannies. Sometimes shit happens, you know? I’m getting better at making schedules. I’m learning as I go along.

JJV: What is the one thing you find yourself wearing the most?

OR: My bangles. My necklaces and my accessories. This necklace I made doesn’t go with everything, because it’s so bright, but I try. I try.

JJV: If you were to choose the year you were born, what year would it be? Why?

OR: Honestly, I like the this era. Because of women’s rights. But it depends on if I was born as a woman or a man. But 1800’s or Ancient Egypt– that was awesome but the times were tough. Maybe ’80 or ’85…I think I would– nah. I’m good where I am because we have the internet.

JJV: What is your version of breakfast of champions?

OR: Hashbrowns, bacon, grits and coffee.

JJV: What is Body Politik’s shop theory/mission statement?

OR: We make accessories and garments made from sustainable materials that are locally sourced. For instance, all my fabric is sourced within The States. I have been making sustainable clothes in The States before the economy tanked… I don’t make size one samples; my models are regular girls of all backgrounds and ethnicities. The body is what dictates the designs– no Lady Gaga shit. It is not just for runways and photo shoots. It is not unattainable. I make clothes that transcend seasons.

Oni has also adopted a new little one. Say hello to Gangster Cat.

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