Uche joined the cast of Are You The One? incredibly skeptical that she would find her perfect match. Instead, she met her husband, Clinton Moxam! “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that would happen,” she grins. “I was in a period of flux before I went on the show. I talked a little bit more about this on our podcast, but I definitely had a lot of trauma that I was recovering from. The last thing that I was really looking for was a relationship. I went on that show as an opportunity to put myself out there, to get outside my comfort zone, and potentially make a little bit of money. Falling for Clinton was not on the agenda, honestly.” In Uche’s moments of deep insecurity and doubt, Clinton expressed an adamant faith in their connection. “I remember the night that we found out we weren’t a match [according to the show’s algorithm] and I was like, ‘Okay, let’s just go our separate ways,’ probably out of fear, because I was watching everybody else jump from person to person. He was so confused and he said, ‘Uche, it’s literally just a show.’ And it’s silly because as an outsider watching the show, you only see a little sliver of the reality of things. But he was constantly pursuing me, reassuring me the entire time. So it made it clear to me that it was okay to stop fighting it. Even when I tried to run from it, he was patient and he was kind, which I appreciate endlessly, and it’s gotten us where we are today clearly.”
Clinton’s belief in them indeed allowed Cluche to blossom. With their first year of marriage now in the books, Uche is an unabashed realist about the occasional jagged edges of matrimony. “I mean, I definitely wouldn’t marry anyone else,” she laughs. “This year has been very eventful, but still great. You hear people romanticize marriage and say, ‘It’s like an endless sleepover with your best friend.’ And while that’s true, it’s definitely work as well. We started our podcast to talk about the experience of being newlyweds and how no two relationships look the same. We wanted to normalize that nothing magically changes as soon as you put the marriage title on a relationship. It’s okay to not have everything figured out, but honestly, our relationship keeps getting better. So I plan on sticking around for a while.” Marriage is a perpetual reaffirmation of conscious devotion. “I’ve heard it said somewhere that it’s continuing to choose the same person every day and continuing to choose, ‘I’m going to go through your struggle with you.’ It’s not just some match. It’s a lot of work, but if you find the right person, it can be very rewarding and worth it.”
As a partner, Clinton is everything Uche never knew she needed. “I hate to boost his ego too much, but there’s really no one I’ve ever met like Clinton. The way he cares for me is something that I could never have imagined somebody could care for me. He’s loving, he’s protective, he’s funny – not as funny as me, obviously. He’s fiercely loyal. He’s a caretaker by nature and that can be seen in his acts of service love language. I really wouldn’t have to lift a finger if I didn’t want to, and most times I don’t want to.” Their love truly has revived one another. “In his vows, he told me that I saved his life. When I heard that, I was so surprised it brought me to tears. I still can probably be brought to tears even just thinking about it, but to be quite honest, it’s the exact same for me. He really did save my life. He sees me for me and I’m honestly a better me when I’m with him.” His tenderness serves as a looking glass through which Uche can soften her harshest self-criticism. “I’ve always felt like I’ve known who I am and I also think that identity is ever-changing. It changes every year, every day. When I’m with him, I feel like he sees certain things that I thought were flaws in myself, and he sees them as good things. He makes me love myself in an entirely different way, through his eyes.”
Quarantine drew Uche to TikTok and soon, she launched her Cluche account. “I don’t know if I sound super old saying this, but I’d never heard of the app until the pandemic. At the start of 2020, everybody was getting on TikTok. There were a lot of little challenges because everybody was in the house. I downloaded it on a whim and I didn’t really know how it worked. I wasn’t putting out any content at first. I was just using it to watch different things. And then I remember we joined one challenge. You can probably find it if you scroll all the way down our page. It got a lot of traction and it was actually really fun to do. At first, we were just putting out videos once in a while and now, it’s just become something that we do a lot more frequently that’s been really fun, too.” Authenticity underlies everything that they choose to share with their audience. “We’re not looking to put on a show for anyone, like we’re some perfect couple or this perfect image or we never go through obstacles. But we love our love and we’ve always just been looking to connect with other people and share experiences in the hope that somebody else can be seen and relate. We just try to share our day-to-day life, the reality of our love and how much we love each other because it’s genuine and it’s real.”
Moving into content creation was a natural fit for the sociable, charismatic Uche. “I am a typical youngest child doing the opposite of my entire family,” she says. “I majored in sociology at Northwestern. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, period. Early on, I thought I wanted to act. I found myself doing different things in different avenues, but it’s always been in the entertainment or fashion sphere. I interned at Seventeen when I was 19 and I didn’t really love the fashion merchandising side, but I did love connecting with the different people that came in, whether that be the cover stars or the other associates or the photographers or (at that time) the bloggers. I wasn’t supposed to be mingling with them, but I just really enjoyed connecting with people. Right before the show, I spent a little bit of time in LA working for a stylist. I also enjoyed that same sense of connecting with different people in that sphere, but it just wasn’t sustainable because she wasn’t paying us.” Are You The One? boosted her online presence as she savored the network that was coalescing around her. “After I went on the show, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I wanted to be in LA. Ultimately, I feel like this route found me afterwards. I started to get inquiries to post different things and while at first I felt like it was kind of all over the place – I was just getting sent random stuff and seeing if I liked it and posting it – I started really enjoying connecting with certain brands, understanding their vision, aligning it with mine, producing creative, putting out content. I also really enjoyed cultivating a following, or more friends as I would call them, that really support me and understand me. It’s just become this community that I’m really proud of and it makes doing all of this stuff really rewarding.” She finally felt a sense of belonging after a lifetime of uneasy ostracism. “I’ve always felt like a black sheep in certain ways. I feel like I’ve finally found an outlet where I can be myself and I’m accepted for who I am. I’ve discovered more of myself through my platform and through my friends on it. I’m eternally grateful.”
Over time, she learned the value of synergizing her brand deals to better reflect her personal passions.”I started saying no to things that did not really feel authentic to me or that didn’t feel like a brand or a product that I would authentically use. Then the right brands started to just fall into place. Some of those brands would be DSW – I absolutely love shoes. I’m a shoe lover. I wear kitten heels around my house. I don’t have slippers. I have little kitten heels that I wear around. So, I’ve loved partnering with them. I’ve gone on several trips with them. I honestly love connecting in the trip setting too, because it’s a way to meet other women, other creators, other people from around the world. And it’s just really fun to share a common love for a product or in this case, shoes, and get to connect with each other and come up with our audience and a fun setting. It’s been really great to work with them. I’ve been working with Intimissimi. I love intimate brands. I love skincare, so it’s been fun to work with Caudalie. I just really love fashion. I love beauty, I love shoes. Having the opportunity to work with brands that I already love and wear on a regular basis has been a privilege.” Each partnership validates the strength of her genuine energy. It’s a much needed balm for her perceived shortcomings during her youth. “I feel like this year has been a big turning point for me, working with these brands that I’ve always admired. I feel like I’ve been able to, again, be my authentic self and go work on these trips. I think I cry at the end of all of them because I just feel the experience is honestly surreal and I feel like I am putting out nothing but my authentic self. I’m putting out nothing but what I genuinely like. I’m not trying to be somebody else and to be accepted and celebrated for that, for what I authentically love and what I authentically am, is such a great feeling. Every brand partner that I work with now, like Victoria’s Secret Pink and every single brand partner that I’ve admired, they allow me to create in my own way, create in an authentic way, an organic way and share what I love in a way that I feel resonates with me and resonates with my audience. It’s been great. I just feel like I can be my utmost self and it’s helped me grow a lot. I really feel like I’ve grown as a person.” Her thriving success represents a full-circle moment for her inner child, who feared she’d never measure up. “My parents immigrated from Nigeria, and the only option for my sisters and I was to be a doctor or a lawyer. It didn’t come from a negative space. It came from that mindset of wanting the best for their kids. Luckily, my sisters fit the bill for that one, but I’ve felt insecure in a way because I never felt like there was something for me. I didn’t grow up saying, ‘I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. I’ve always wanted to be an engineer. I’ve always wanted to be a hairstylist.’ I’ve never felt that. And I used to feel inadequate because I’m like, ‘What am I good at? Is there something for me? I’m not exceptional at anything.’ That’s what I used to feel. So now being able to feel like my authentic self and who I am is enough has healed a lot of questions that I used to have about myself. It’s definitely been very rewarding.”
Looking back on her resilience brings a smile to her face. “My content creation has helped me to believe in myself again. Growing up, I’d always been a very confident person. I think I had to be because I grew up in a place where there were little to no other people that looked like me. My options were to sink or swim. And by the way, I’m a very good swimmer,” she smiles. “So I chose to swim. I feel like that confidence at first was a defense mechanism. It was an armor, it was a survival tactic. The past few years, I’ve been really trying to develop that confidence in an organic way and in a way that comes from me just really believing in myself. I feel like getting to work with these brands and just really coming into a new era as a content creator through this new and obscure avenue, I’ve been able to rebuild that confidence in myself in a way that’s a rock solid foundation. I feel like it’ll be really hard to waver from that and I think that’s the best type of confidence to have.” Uche’s visibility is making a profound impact. “I got a really sweet DM the other day from a 12 or 13-year-old girl, which is kind of crazy, but she was like, ‘You’re my role model. I really look up to you. Thank you for pointing out that Black girls can take up space.’ And it hit me in a crazy way because, growing up in the early 2000s, it was very hard to see somebody that looked like you in the media, in TV and entertainment. So if somebody can see themselves in me and I can be that inspiration that I was desperately searching for when I was younger, that’s it. That’s enough for me, connecting with people, to make people feel seen. Because there’s so many times in my life where I didn’t feel seen. That’s enough. That’s literally enough. This community and connection with people is my most important priority and it’s honestly been the thing that has made this all worth it to me.” Uche will continue to empower, one post at a time.
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Uche is the Protagonist We’ve Been Waiting For. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Uche Moxam.