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By Zainab Ashadu
Backstage at the 39th ICAN conference fashion show, Sheraton Abuja, I have noticed a few things about our Fashion Models. These days it seems everyone want to be a model and there is nothing wrong with that:

It’s high time we came out of the mentality that to be successful, one must be a Doctor or a Lawyer. However, to be a successful model, there are some ‘rules’ that must be adhered to.

To truly excel in your chosen career, any career, you must be the best, whether it comes naturally or whether you have to work at it. Clearly not everyone can be a model; you have to fit a certain criteria physically, and if you don’t, don’t waste your time, move on to something else. Besides that you must be thick skinned, professional and hardworking, extremely hardworking.

The problem with our Models is that they are working in an industry that is neither respected nor properly regulated in Nigeria. Modelling agencies and clients play dirty and it is the models that end up suffering. For example name one Nigerian model that is big in Nigeria alone… chances are there is a face that pops up in your head, which you will remember seeing in all the magazines but do you know her name? No. Yet I have seen some of the most beautiful models in Nigeria.
If you are an aspiring model, bear these pointers in mind.

Time keeping
Being on time may not be seen as very glamorous but if you are smart, and want to earn money, you will quickly realize that the early bird really does catch the worm. It is very unprofessional to turn up late, time is money for clients and no matter how beautiful looking you may be, there is always someone else to replace you. If you are booked for a job, your aim is to make a good impression so that your name is always on everyone’s lips to ensure you will secure many other jobs

Some of the models at this show seemed to think that it was all about them. I heard things like “This hair doesn’t fit me” or “Can I wear that other dress”. Realise one thing, the show is not about you, not yet and unless you make it really big, it will never be about you. You are a model; used to illustrate something. You are a hanger, a clotheshorse. Be humble, kind and open minded and you will succeed. Bitchiness or diva behaviour makes a good story but doesn’t endear you to clients or earn you money.

Your body
I have to restrain myself in this section because I have seen such horrors that I could veer off point but I won’t, I won’t.   Your body is your moneymaker – take care of it. Take care of your skin by using good quality products and investing in regular facials by professionals.

At home make sure you cleanse, tone and moisturize every morning at night- trust me, it will benefit you in years to come. A lot of problems with immature aging to the skin comes as a result of insufficient hydration, therefore, make it a habit to drink at least two litres of liquid a day, however do not count your tea, coffee or fizzy drink (minerals) intake amongst these as caffeine actually depletes your water supply.

Regularly exfoliate your skin concentrating on the rough parts to create an even smooth texture and moisturize as often as you can to promote softness. Body hair is a no-no, shave, wax or cream off your underarm hair, legs, facial hair and pubic hair. As a model, you must be very confident in your own skin, as you will get critisiced a LOT, especially if you turn up to the client hairy. If you don’t have confidence, the criticism will tear you down, so learn to love yourself and improve the things you can.

Exercise is very important, not just to keep you in good shape, but for your mind and for discipline – ensure you build up a good exercise routine, so that you can eat healthily also.Your nails and feet should always be manicured and clean, make this a routine so that you don’t get caught out.


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