‘I promise not to leave my husband; fame won’t get to my head’ –Jumoke
Olajumoke Orisaguna is about the most talked about person in Nigeria right now. Her story is an inspiring one. She went from a bread seller who hawked on the streets of Sabo, Yaba, Lagos, to a model who everyone wants to meet.
The 27 year old mother of two children had a major turnaround when she unknowingly walked into a photo shoot which society photographer, TY Bello was having with UK based music artiste, Tinnie Tempah for ThisDay Style.
TY Bello didn’t print much of the pictures until people started asking if the bread hawker was a model. She asked her assistants to go back to where the shoot was done and ask around for Jumoke.
Olajumoke was brought to her studio after someone showed Jumoke her photograph on Facebook and from then on she became a star.
From being on the cover of ThisDay Style magazine (as suggested by Azuka Ogujiuba) to being signed by modelling agency and now set to be the face of Payporte’s next campaign.
According to TY Bello, who discovered Olajumoke, she was a hairstylist from Ire in Osun state, but wasn’t making good money along with her husband, Sunday, who is a sliding door installer to take care of their two children. A distant relative, who knew someone operating a bakery invited her to Lagos to hawk bread.
Olajumoke relocated to Lagos with her 16 months old daughter to give bread hawking a try. She left behind her husband and five year old first child.
She lived in the bakery with other in-house workers and bread sellers and making between N300 and N700 profit daily.
Jumoke’s story has inspired a lot of people and many have been tapping into her kind of miracle, as it is a typical ‘miracle that sounds like a lie’. She has been offered internships at Make Me Salon and Sari Signatures (a popular Lebanese owned salon in Victoria Island, Lagos).
Sijibomi Ogundele of Sijimoto Construction Limited also hosted her at his office and gave her a luxury accommodation and training in proficiency in English Grammar and Communication and one-on-one total personality development course at Poise Nigeria, a training and consultancy organization.
Thank you very much.
I am very happy. I feel humbled. I am overwhelmed. It seems unbelievable. I am grateful.
Do you really like a career in modellng?
Yes, I am quite happy with it. I am also loving it too.
When you decided to come over to Lagos, did you envisage that things will turn around overnight?
No, I didn’t. I didn’t even expect it. All what I had in mind was a means of survival. That’s all. It is quite unbelievable. I said I should work for a while so that I could have things I would resell when I go back home. I didn’t expect this at all. I am very happy about the whole thing. I am really excited.
Why didn’t you work in a salon, why is it that it was bread you decided to sell?
I don’t know anybody in Lagos. I just came over to Lagos. Someone told me that I should come and sell bread in Lagos that I will make money from it. I decided to come because it wasn’t something that was morally wrong. I know I cannot steal or do anything that could tarnish my image or that of my family.
How did you know the person that brought you to Lagos?
The elder brother of one of my friends. He also took me to the bakery where I got bread. We all slept at the bakery in an open space. All hawkers slept when we’re back from hawking around 11pm daily. We don’t pay for the space. It was part of the good gesture of the owner.
How much worth of bread do you hawk daily?
I take N5,000 worth. Sometimes I sell everything. At times, I have N1,000 worth of bread left. I made a gain of N400 to N500 daily. I do contribution, we ate as well out of it. I came back in January 2016. I have not even made so much money. When I came in 2011, I took permission from my boss, I made a lot of money, I bought equipment and got a shop. Things became a bit tough much later when students (of the Polytechnic in Ire, Osun state) went on strike. I didn’t have much in the stores gain. So, I decided to come over, work and use the money to buy things I could put in the salon with the hope that students would resume school again. I didn’t just want to sit down doing nothing.
When did you stop school?
I stopped years back when there was no money to further my studies. I only went to primary school.
What position are you in your family?
I am now the first born. We lost my elder brother years back. I have siblings. They even went to school. At least, they finished secondary school. One is a tailor.
Now that things are better for you, how do you intend keeping your marriage?
I cannot leave my husband. He too cannot leave me because we love each other. My marriage will remain intact by God’s grace. And God will also help me to continue to be level-headed.
Do you have the intention of going back to school?
Yes, I really want to go back to school. I want to study Law. I like the profession. I believe I will be able to help people when I become a lawyer.
What went through your mind when you heard that TY Bello wanted to see you?
People were just talking. I was really afraid because I felt I had spoilt their work or something. I thought the picture was not okay. I was really afraid but I made up my mind to go and see her.
I said, whatever would happen should happen. It was later I saw people who told me that she wanted to help me. That encouraged me a bit. I went to see TY Bello. She treated me like her daughter and sister. She was so nice to me. She gave me food. She gave me things. I was really happy because it was a great relief to me.
What advice do you have for people like you out there?
I will tell them to get something doing. Once you are not into robbery or into prostitution. Whatever is good your hands find doing, please do it.
Tell us about the person that taught you hair dressing?
Her name is Temitope. She is in Osun state. I learnt hair dressing at her place in 2009.
How were you coping with a baby and still hawking bread?
I used to back her to wherever I was going. I know I cannot leave her at the bakery. Nobody will help me take care of her. At times, my boss also helped me out. He would make sure she ate and watched over her incase I left her at the bakery. But most times, we went together. The money I got from my business was what we fed on. I saved as well.