Working Girl: Metasebia Yoseph, Creative Director

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A curator of Ethiopian culture, creative director Metasebia Yoseph discusses her project “Design Week Addis Ababa” and how she’s aiming to grow the arts infrastructure in a developing country.


Name: Metasebia Yoseph

Age: 32

Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Profession: Creative Director & Founder of Design Week Addis Ababa


How did you get started?

I started out managing a small art gallery in DC and then moved into curating. After working on the team that brought DC its first all night arts festival called Nuit Blanche/Art All Night: DC, it expanded my career focus towards arts and cultural engagement/diplomacy and events that supported this.

What’s an average day like?  

I get up, get ready, set the tone of the day through my fashion and music choices, grab coffee, and begin tackling emails, developing project proposals, and meeting with sponsors. This takes up most of the morning. After lunch I’m on the move, exploring new talent, artists, creators, boutiques… making sure I stay up to date on the latest.

Why do you do it?

I think amazing things happen when opportunities are provided for cultural and creative exchange.

Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:

It can be difficult to compromise on your vision sometimes, but ultimately it has to be about the end result; about making that vision a reality.

Your greatest achievement so far?

Design Week has yet to take place, but I’m really encouraged by the response from the public and supporters around the world. Aside from that, I think my greatest achievement so far is publishing my book “A Culture of Coffee,” an introduction to the traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony.

It can be difficult to compromise on your vision sometimes, but ultimately it has to be about the end result.

What might be next for you?

I’m working on developing a hybrid gallery/showroom/event space concept here in Addis Ababa, which will feature a curated selection of the best art and designed works in Ethiopia, as well as an in house collection of products. This brick-and- mortar space will also serve as the home base for my creative consulting work.


What are your top 5 go-to hair tips?  

I’m sure your readers will find these tips pretty basic knowledge:

1) For me, a healthy scalp is a clean scalp. I wash it regularly with a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner.

2) I try my best to do an oil treatment (Olive Oil and Jojoba or Grape seed blend) before washes, especially important during my color treated phases. (Oil the scalp and hair thoroughly the night before, wash and style the next morning.)


3) Use a great Deep Conditioner. I use the Shea Moisture and Aveda brand conditioners and leave them on for about 5 minutes as a hair mask.

4) I’m obsessed with healthy ends so I get a trim pretty regularly.  I don’t have a time-table; I let the hair speak for itself. When I see some split ends, it’s time.

5) When I feel like my hair is “blah” and want to “refresh” my hair, I do an at home natural treatment of 1 avocado, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 1 tablespoon of honey. Blend that together and apply to my hair the night before, wash and style the next morning.  It’s always noticeably shinier and bouncier after doing this.

Fun Fact: It probably sounds like I’m super regimented with my hair, but Ethiopia has a solid and fairly priced salon/spa industry, so I leave most of this work to my hairstylist. I had locs for over five years, back in the day, and one of my low maintenance holdovers from that time is I still don’t own a comb. (If I must, I use my fingers to separate major tangles).

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Ellen Haile
Ellen Haile

My hair falls between the 4A to 4C category, so I’m always looking for the best manageable styles. I live for big, stretched hair, so I often keep it blow dried and call it a day.

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