A woman smiling in an armchair. Behind her are shelves filled with books
Davina Efetie will spend a month in London for Condé Nast and Vogue’s summer intensive course. (Tom Kojcsich, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

Class of 2023: Davina Efetie steps outside of her major in style

With a summer internship linked to Vogue magazine, criminal justice major has designs on following her passion for fashion.

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Graduating with a degree in criminal justice from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, Davina Efetie is ready to start her career.

In fashion publishing.

The shift in focus isn’t as far out of left field as you might think — Efetie always envisioned a career in fashion. But her parents wanted her to pursue a more “financially stable” field, and at Virginia Commonwealth University, she managed to design a path that covered both bases.

Efetie was born in the United States, then returned to Nigeria with her parents. She lived there until age 17. Thinking of a college degree, she landed on forensic science as a course of study, with VCU having a nationally renowned program.

But fashion never left her mind, even if she figured it would be too late to explore that path. Her adviser, though, reminded Efetie that she was barely in her 20s and has her whole life ahead of her.

“I don't want to wake up in five years and feel like I have wasted time,” she says now.

With guidance from her adviser, Efetie pursued a minor in media studies, which framed a promising direction. She wrote for The Commonwealth Times and later became the co-social media chair for River City Fashion, VCU’s student fashion publication. Through the Student Media Center, Efetie traveled to New York for the College Media Association conference, where she met peers who also weren’t mass communication majors but were pursuing their passions.

This summer, Efetie will spend a month in London for Condé Nast and Vogue’s summer intensive course. She will be immersed in everything fashion, from styling and creative ideation to public relations. At the end of the program, participants will present their own mock publication cover.

“So I pretend to be Anna Wintour for like a month, and I cannot wait for that,” Efetie said, citing the iconic magazine editor.

Efetie sees the summer course as an ideal opportunity to gain experience and contacts, and she hopes to then work in a fashion house or agency doing PR, marketing or advertising, ultimately working up to be a creative director. She noted that fashion industry veterans have told her that her background in criminal justice gives her a unique quality.

Another benefit of her VCU experience? Efetie was a resident assistant in the honors dorm, which forced her to be more outgoing and improved her public speaking skills.

“I know going into the fashion media and PR job, I would have to emulate confidence a lot of the time and just be a peer leader,” she said. “So this job has really, really helped me.”

Like fashion itself, Efetie she doesn’t want to put herself in one box. “Just being undoubtedly myself — not following trends and just being original” is how she describes style.

“So I'm just taking it slow,” she said as her career begins. “I just want to learn and grow and hopefully do the right thing as I graduate from VCU.”