How this Rising Star styled her TIFF red-carpet debut

Actress Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama is dressed to impress at her first fest.

Toronto may be known for its muted red carpets, but Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama has brought some Lagotian flair to this year’s fest. “Lagotians, they’re special people,” the 29-year-old actress from Lagos, Nigeria says with a smile.

“We don’t understand the concept of overdressing. We just dress. And it’s always a lot.”

With a trio of films at TIFF, Iyamah-Idhalama’s statement personal style has been on display at premieres for comedy The Wedding Party and medical thriller 93 Days. Her legal drama The Arbitration premieres on Tuesday.

Along with OC Ukeje, her co-star in The Arbitration, Somkele (pronounced Som-Kai-lai, which means “follow me to praise God”) was chosen by TIFF for its inaugural international Rising Star program, a crash-course in celebrity that includes meetings with casting directors and filmmakers, media training and a Hollywood glam-ification by Birks, The Bay and L’Oreal.

Before that boot camp, we caught up with her at designer Stephan Caras’s Maison Caras storefront on Queen St. E. where she was dressing for her first-ever TIFF red carpet: the TIFF Soirée cocktail party with Michael Fassbender. She’s browsing the racks, where she hopes to find a gown that fits her self-described “crazy” style.

“I always say, you come across exactly as you feel,” she says. “Especially with clothes. If I like it, you’ll see it.”

Iyamah-Idhalama shared her thoughts on three looks by the Canadian label before choosing the perfect gown for her festival debut.

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