Sunday, 14 February 2016
My Fear for Agege Bread Seller Turned Super Model - Ayo Shonaiya
At the risk of sounding like a hater, I am genuinely nervous as I read and watch this amazing story of a bread seller, who unknowingly strolls into a Tinie Tempah photoshoot, caught the eye of photographer TY Bello, and almost overnight becomes a global talking point. I must say also, that I absolutely love it. This type of story gladdens everyone's heart and serves as inspiration to millions of people that despite your current situation, your good fortune is just round the corner and never lose hope in life.
But, I can't help but look beyond the fairytale and feel a sense of apprehension at the same time. In my line of work, my job is to look where no one else is looking when it comes to negotiating contracts, maximising earning potential for talent, and pretty much protect such talent, and I pray to God there's someone doing that for this girl. I have discovered and developed raw talent in my time, some from unknown status to superstardom. I have met others half way in their progression and developed together, but one thing I've never done is base anything on sentiment or "eeeyah", or "Na only Baba God o..." etc, I am sometimes the one to bring up the unpleasant reality, the reality no one understands until years later. But I always feel it's best to understand the whole picture and be prepared for whatever happens next.
When I saw that this Olajumoke girl couldn't even speak or read English, my first concern was she's going to be bewildered by a lot of things, especially in the fashion and modelling world in Nigeria. Then the sudden fame and spotlight, which often times can confuse 'experienced' talent. There's also the clamour for her time, makeovers, interviews, and of course the good stuff, endorsements, jobs, goodwill offers and donations (I hear she has 2 kids already).
I've seen her take pictures, holding up a Contract (which I hope has been explained to her well as she can't read it), then the makeovers with heavy make up and lipstick (she looks nothing like the sweet girl we all fell in love with). Forgive me I'm not a designer o, seeing her dressed in some shine shine outfits, I start to wonder, firstly I hope she's getting paid well at least, and secondly, most people are only absorbing her story, as most of us don't really know much about characteristics that suggest a great modelling career.
I really do hope and pray that, whatever happens to Olajumoke from now on, she is well protected. The fashion and modelling industry (in Nigeria or anywhere in the world) can be the worst place you wanna be when "they" decide you're no longer happening or trending, or worse, not useful anymore. You wanna bet that some other models are already beefing her already? And another thing, when the same people who are "tapping into her anointing" now, start to write really disgusting and hurtful comments about her (anonymously of course) on blogs because her own is now getting too much, I hope she has a strong support system in the people that really love and care for her. But for now, Olajumoke ride on and God bless you.
Anyway, that's my own. Me too I need to go and sell my proverbial bread in the market.