- Christopher Smith, Publisher
King Onlii is Ready to Arrive
You’ve heard of a Triple Threat? Meet King Onlii: designer, model, and cannabis influencer who helps savvy weed brands reach into the millennial zone where fashion, tech, entertainment, food and fun blend together in a 24/7 explosion.
And if you’re concerned there was no mention of “work” on that list, be patient: King works hard enough for all of us. I spoke to him via Zoom from his soon-to-be-former apartment in Seattle – he’s planning to blow town for Las Vegas where the possibilities for this creator are as diverse and unlimited as his talents.
Getting a hold of King is harder than it looks. One might find him on TikTok, (@iamkingonlii) where he has 257,000 followers. Skip over to Facebook where he manages his clothing line International Sad Boy Committee, or to his YouTube Channel where he’s building a new series called Let’s Go Get Some Weed. Or drop into his modeling agency, The FState (FState™ Mother Agency on Instagram).
And while all this activity may look like King Onlii has arrived, the path was by no means easy.
A clue: the other day King posed a question on TikTok: "How many people's parents told them, the first time they smoke weed, “It's going to be laced with something … you're going to be strung out and that is the end of your life. That's the end! You might as well give up now. Your brain is going to be fried. It's going to be fried!"
What’s a young creative soul to do with all that repressive noise? “I moved out when I was 19. Everything I didn't get to do as a teenager, things that normal people experience… when I finally got out, I was out. I just ran free.” Same with smoking weed. “I smoked weed for the first time when I was 23, my best friend’s mom made me try it” But once he caught on, his life started opening up like a lotus flower.
From that stifling beginning, King is a now influencer with major cannabis brands like Journeyman, Have a Heart, Hyperbole, The Reef, and Stilzy. MFused, a minority-owned brand that seems to understand the complicated package that King and his peers represent, saying, "You are tapped into a lot of different audiences. You're part of the LGBT community. You would be the perfect type of person that we would want to represent the brand." (@MFused had better scoop King up or another brand will come calling in a heartbeat.)
Or will the fashion world grab him first? “Since I've been a little kid and been into fashion, I've wanted to have my own clothing brand. I've always edited my clothes and cut things and cropped things and put my own logo on it.”
International Sad Boy Committee has two distinct lines: collectibles and ready to wear. “I would wear everything that I design. My own closet is very diverse… Sometimes I'm very dressed up, I have on the foot wide fedora and a two-piece crop top. Before this call, I was like, Should I do orange hair and orange eyebrows?... My bread and butter is really coming from the more basic things: crop tops and things like that and sweatshirts. Distinguishing those two things is important.”
“The fashion industry harder than it looks, but my retail and fashion merchandising experience and store opening experience has really helped me just understand the game. I feel like once I get the right exposure, an investor will come along.”
If he seems confident, it may come from his years promoting clubs in Seattle. “I'd plan parties, I had my own nights at certain clubs. Because of the way that I looked and how I styled myself, and just my vibe at the club... That helped me get my own club nights, like “Hot Sauce.” I'm standing on tables and they’d have my name on the wall and post my picture of me in a crop top and all my chains, holding the mic … The clubs, yeah… Then about 29-ish, I realized, man, I just realized I should be doing something else.”
Which brings us to modeling, for which words are insufficient to describe this unique spirit, so just LOOK FOR YOURSELF.
Ezra Jones and the FState have been revelations for King. “I think they liked a picture, and I instantly messaged him and said, "Hey, I'm looking for representation. I'm a model and a creator and a stylist. They signed me as a stylist, helped me build my press kits, my portfolio. The Fstate has literally, directly has affected my growth as an influencer, as an entertainer, creator, 100%.”
“Ezra has a whole range of Black, male models. And to dedicate the brand just to that is an uphill battle and I have respect for it, because people are not doing that. The way that he's doing it, I think, is working and it's getting people together. It's a lot of, as a Black man too, it is the range of people, the range of beauty on a whole scale, it opens your mind to what is considered beautiful by some people and the range of all of these different people. These people do not look alike at all, and seeing that in any aspect is mind blowing.
"It's really cool to be in that same category with those guys, but I'm not going to lie, I've seen a lot of my friends get really big gigs recently and it has been crushing! But I just translate that into" the closer the people that are to me that are getting big gigs, mine has to be coming very, very soon. I do a lot of things. I can wait and I have been trying to be patient. I'm just trying to be patient. I'll say that.”
"That's just how I am. It's how it has to be. I have to get to this place, and I don't want to be callus towards people, but if you can't grow... I don't want people around me that don't want to grow. It's not that you have to change your whole mindset, but you have to want to learn. Even that small step of wanting to learn is a huge thing to me. I don't like lazy, and I don't like lazy when it comes to personal growth."