Former Face of Africa finalist, Emma Too has swapped the catwalk for the garden path. She tells TOPE OLUKOLE how she moved from the world of fashion into the environment of landscaping and interior design. Emma Too is as much at home with mud on her boots and soil on her hands as she was on the catwalk. She says her appreciation of nature and her eye for beauty have helped her find her true calling.

What is your best attribute?
People say I am nothing without my eyes; and if you take a photo of my eyes alone, they will easily be recognised.

What do you look for in a man?

And in women?
Honesty. I expect it from both sexes.

What is your worst character trait?
I think I am stubborn. I also forgive ‘really big things,’ but not the small ones. That’s something I should change, as it ought to be the other way round.

What is your ideal job?
The one I’m doing right now! Landscaping and interior design. I had my first garden when I was nine and I have done every friend’s house that I have ever been in –while my friends were asleep! Funnily enough, no one has ever got upset about it.

Do you make a good living out of it?
I started by doing jobs voluntarily, but the clients insisted on paying. It was good money. I realised I could actually do this. Doing interiors can cause headaches, because it involves getting other people to do their part in order to realise your vision. It requires a lot of patience.

Describe your ideal world
Filled with people who don’t lie and men who mean what they say.

Do men hit you?
No. they hit my friendsn –not me. People say I have a ‘stay away face.’ When I was in South Africa, though, I was continually being chatted up by petrol station attendants, cleaners, guys on the street, construction workers; so by the time I got home, I had been hit by so many guys I didn’t want to go out with. Here I don’t get bothered.

Have you ever had ill luck?
This might sound strange, but I sometimes think if I was not female I would get more work-and not just in modelling. I think looking the way I do has created problems for me in terms of work. I would have achieved more had I not been considered a threat.

What supernatural power would you like to have?
The ability to read minds.

Are you adventurous with fashion?
I am not a trendy person. I’d say my style is classier. A friend once e-mailed me, saying ‘Emma, I love your sense, but you have no fashion sense’ I am a bit of a chicken and I will not leave the house with anything that makes me feel uncomfortable.

Who are your favourite designers?
I love the way Jean Paul Gaultier breaks the rules. Not because I would actually wear his designs right now, but maybe 10 years from now when I am older and have the money. I also like BCBG, Moo Cow, Oscar de la Renta and Armani. I once walked into Armani when they were having a 70% sale and I still could not afford even the smallest pair of shorts. I am a shoe and handbag freak. I love Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik.

If your house was burning down, what would you save?
My cellphone.

Who is your favorite author?
Iyanla Vanzant.

What is your idea of heaven?
I am in a shoe and handbag shop. Everything has been marked down by 70% and I have money in my bag.

If you could choose any three people, who would you like to have dinner with?
Denzel Washington, Vin Diesel and Terrace Howard…on a narrow couch!

What do you wear to bed?
It depends on who I am going to bed with and where I am. In Mombasa I’ll sleep naked, because it’s so hot there. But the best way to sleep is in men’s boxers. They should make something like that for women.

Would you want to be a man for a day?
Absolutely. I would wish for all men who have ever broken my hearth to come back as women. I would date them and then break their hearts-so they know how it feels!

What was it like growing up?
I grew up in church because my grandfather was a pastor. We grew up middle class. My mum was a teacher and my dad worked too. So we lived a comfortable life. I was a very playful, active kid. But I was also quiet, direct and honest. I was an A-student, which helped with getting into architecture, because the entry levels are high.

Where would you like to vacation?
I hear there’s this great hotel in Dubai; the only seven star-hotel in the world, where there’s an underwater restaurant and many other things.

Is heaven a place on earth?
I have no idea what heaven looks like. I just know that when we die, a lot depends on the good work we did on earth. Here on earth heaven is whatever you make it. I would want everything in excess. A 50-bedroom house that all my relatives can fit in.. stop