ON Saturday, September 6, 2014, the dreams of Mayowa Nicholas and Victor Ndigwe of becoming models came true as they both won the 2014 Elite Model Look. Mayowa, 16, an undergraduate of Accounting of Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State won the Best Model in the female category, while Victor, 18 who is also an undergraduate of Mathematics at the University of Benin, Edo State won in the male category.
The two walked away from the event held at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos with a cash prize of $5,000 each. They are also to represent Nigeria in China later this year in the world finals. They went home with Thermocool refrigerator each and other prizes. We chatted with the two new Elite Model Look winners as they shared their stories with ENCOMIUM Weekly.
‘I never wanted to be a model’ -Mayowa Nicholas, winner (female category)
Since you emerged winner of Elite Model Look 2014 (Female), what are those things that have changed about you?
Nothing really has changed about me. I just noticed my confidence has improved in the last few days.
When the judges mentioned your name as the winner of the Elite Model Look, what first came to your mind?
I was shocked and surprised, when I saw my mother crying I was really stupefied. I am happy I actually won.
You broke down in tears when you were declared the winner, why?
Because I wasn’t expecting it. I never knew I could win. It’s the last thing I ever thought of. When I saw my mother crying, I couldn’t help but cry too, tears just rolled from my eyes.
Would that be an indication of a dream come true for you?
Yes, it is a dream come true for me. I have hoped and dreamt of getting here. I am happy I won. The first runner up came so close. In fact, I told her she would win. I congratulated her before the judges called our names. So, when my name came up, I was surprised.
What could you say gave you the edge over others?
I don’t know what the judges saw in me. I would say it’s all God’s doing.
While growing up, have you ever wanted to be a model?
Not really, as at last two years, I never saw modelling as interesting. It was when I started watching fashion programmes that I realized how exciting it can be. Then, I started checking the internet and read stories about modelling, then I decided to start modelling.
What were those physical attribute you are endowed with that made you think you could be a model?
My height, my legs, my face and I love taking pictures. I love all the pictures I have taken and I thought to myself I should go ahead and try modelling.
What did you do to prepare yourself for this level?
I practiced catwalk, I studied how to pose.
Will modelling be a short term vocation for you?
I am going to continue modelling for long. I am going to represent Nigeria in China for the world finals in December.
Who are your heroes in modelling world?
Naomi Campbell for her confidence. Even now that she has slowed down they still recognize her as one of the best in the world.
Are you in modelling just to make money or to make a name?
I just want to build my career around it and if money comes, I will receive with open hands.
You are still in school?
Yes, Crawford University. I am an Accounting undergraduate. I am just 16.
So, what will now happen to your Accounting certificate?
It will be there. I love education, I will still be modelling by the side.
Did your modelling ambition run contrary to what your parents outline for you?
Not at all. They actually encouraged me to do more. They believe modelling is another career apart from the degree, I still have another thing to fall back on.
How did you come about Elite Model Look?
One of their scouts brought me in last year. I wasn’t ready then. I saw it again on Facebook, I came for the casting.
How would you describe the experience during the casting till when you joined the rest in the boot camp?
It was interesting. I met other girls who were equally better. My aim was to get into the camp and it happened. We learnt so many things in the boot camp. We had catwalk coaching and others.
Tell us about your growing up.
I was born in Ifako, Ijaiye. I also grew up there. Growing up was fun and okay. I am from a family of three. I am the eldest. My mother works at Ikeja Pensions Board while my father has passed on. I wish he was still here to see all these, but my mother is also like my father.
Did your late father ever encourage you to do modelling?
I was very young when he died.
When was your first time on the runway?
It was at the Elite Model final.
What are your plans for your cash prize?
I have plans, but I want to collect it first.