Name: Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo

Age: 32 years, 360 days

Born and bred in: Istanbul, TURKEY. Patriotic? Moi?

Role at FAB: Editor-in-chief.

FAB part of your job: Can’t help but agree with Wale: Giving me the chance to do what I love best… Writing, editing, photography, generally leading a nocturnal life… Meeting fearfully, wonderfully talented, exciting, inspirational people every other day. Working from the comfort of my house with my husband, and a FABulous team of creative, passionate, dedicated colleagues. But most of all, building a brand, a dream, a vision and seeing it grow day by day.

Least liked but still FAB part of your job: Chasing writers, dealing with all sorts of people from don’t-have-a-clue-how-a-magazine-runs-but-I-will-still-patronise-you-know-it-alls to jack-of-all-trades-cum-so-called-writers; luckily for every incompetent self-claimed writer there are five other really amazing writers to make my life that much more pleasant.

Flat plans! I hate flat planning. And last minute muck-ups; whether it is a last minute no-show on a photo shoot to us going over page count in our zeal to bring our readers a FAB Magazine, I thank the Lord this job gives me the opportunity to learn how to deal with last-minute surprises life has in store.

Aspirations/goals: Making FAB not just one of the leading African magazines, but one of the leading magazines internationally and only one of the many magazines FAB Media will be producing in the next five years.

Personally? There are quite a few books and babies in me waiting to be created. Any quite a few journeys to take…

Inspirations: Inspirational people who use the talents God has bestowed on them and work towards achieving their dreams. New places, new cultures, new ways of living… And as odd as it may sound, the seaside.

Hero/Heroine: My mother-in-law, my ‘adopted’ mother. Her energy is infinite, her positivity infectious. She is the kind of woman who will hold your hand when you’re down, pull you up, dust you off and tell you all will be well. And when you are up and running, she will be the first cheering you on from the sidelines. She is exceptional, and if I end up being a quarter of the woman she is, I’d be one happy woman, I tell you.

FAB motto/saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Best piece of advice you can offer: You’ve got one life, one chance to get it right; so as cliché as it is, CARPE the hell out of the DIEM and go out there and make life happen. Also, in your personal and professional life, do bear in mind: The toes you step on on your way up may be connected to the ass you may have to kiss on your way down; be nice to people.

Your kind of music: From the Queen of Turkish Pop, Sezen Aksu, to my sexilicous girl crush Rihanna, from the amazing Kings of Leon to the super-talented Tinie Tempah, I enjoy all sort as long as it is easy on the ear and good for the soul. Oh, and, ain’t nothing like some late night/early morning jazz to type away to.

Your kind of book: Books that have a good story to peel off in layers and such strong characters that long after you finish reading, you still want to know how they are and what they are up to. Okay, okay… They’re not real people, I know. But imagine: What if somewhere in an alternate universe Mr Darcy was hanging out with Carrie Bradshaw? No? Alright, just me then. :)

Dream destination: I am made for tropical climes… so ideally, somewhere in the Caribbean. If you’d like to send me on a trip with Nics – Ms General Manager whom you met on Tuesday – I can specify… St Lucia perhaps? I had a magical week in Malaysia in 2007 and would love to go back soon. Also, Northern Lights – come on, what’s better than a fireworks display put on by Mother Nature?

Your style in a nutshell: Since I have the luxury of working from home, often my slacks and hooded tops. If I have to doll up, I can rock the LBD (little black dress), LWD (little white dress), L_D (little pick a colour you wish dress) and a pair of heels as well as the next girl. And of course, as the self-proclaimed Afroyinbo, I love me some Ankara print.

Kryptonite: Shoes… Haagen Dazs Cookies’n’Cream. In Istanbul, pistachio milk chocolate; in Lagos, Chocolat Royal coffee cake, chocolate cake, caramel cheesecake… Well, you get the idea… And oh, the Mr reminds me: Ikokore. Yes, I know… You can take the girl out of Ijebu, you can’t take Ijebu out of the girl! :)

Pet peeve: Fake people. Arrogance. Judgmental people.

USP: Unstoppable Super-determined Person J Joking aside, it has to be my drive to see through whatever I have taken on. Also grace under pressure.

Log on to my blog if you like: Random Musings of an Afroyinbo.

Rumour has it that Sinem is originally Turkish – evidence at hand is meager to detect the origins of the self-proclaimed Afroyinbo with a penchant for pounded yam and ogbono, Nigerian music and Nollywood movies.

Rumour also has it that Sinem is working on a bestseller. With a first degree in English Language and literature, an MA in Shakespeare and a PhD in English, coupled with a decade’s worth of journalism experience, she satisfies her penchant for writing at the helm of FAB Magazine.

Day-to-day life consists for Sinem of a dose of Pilates, chilling out with her other half, aka the Creative Director and her cat, and making sure that every quarter Team FAB can deliver an issue of FAB more fabulous than the last.


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  1. Suby says:

    Most amazing editor FAB Magazine has here, helps that she not only brains, but she also hot :)

    All that said, amazing product you putting together. Don't know how you do it but keep doing what you are doing cause you definitely redefining the magazine industry in Africa.

    Suby (A not so influenced husband) :)

  2. Toni Tones says:

    Yes, yes!. We absolutely love the super talented afro-oyinbo Sinem. We wish there were two of her :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I had the great pleasure of being Sinem's undergrad classmate. She was a brilliant student and an amazing inspiration to many as she seemed to have an ingredient none of us possessed, an imprinted creative talent in writing. Sinem, I am so proud of you and the amazing work you do at FAB Magazine. Cheers!
    Rabia A Boukalis

  4. Akin says:

    Great concept, thanks for bringing new energy into words and imagery… the best is yet to come, guys.
    Home to Nigerian music online

  5. Rere Young says:

    I love it!!

  6. Obi Somto says:

    We absolutely love your work Sinem… And how you manage to get it all done perfectly we are yet to understand, lol.

  7. Team FAB says:

    @Suby aaaaaawwwwww Hubby, you know what they say "Behind every successful woman…" thanks for giving me the love and faith that made me the woman I am today.

    @Toni dearest, on days like this where there is way too much to do and one wants to just chill and enjoy her birthday, I wish there were two of me too. :)

    @Aslicigim I am blushing here. Thank you so much dearest, I will make sure I never ever let you down.

    @Akin thank you so much, we will continue to bring you the best in words and imagery.

    @Rere thank you!

    @Obi you're too kind :) thank you so much.

  8. Anonymous says:

    keep up the great work and motivating others too
    Lucy London

  9. Team FAB says:

    @ Lucy London, thank you very much; fingers crossed we'll all continue to motivate each other and produce great work. Thanks, Sinem

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