By Iyabo Aina
Popular Nigerian international model turned entrepreneur, Aisha Bello has expressed her displeasure over a casting director’s threat to slap a male model at the Nigerian Men’s Fashion Week.
A video made the rounds this week on social media showing the casting director whose identity could not be identified, fuming and threatening to slap a male model because be wasn’t satisfied with the model’s catwalking skill.
In a statement released on her instagram page @mizaishabello, Aisha Bello described the panelist’s act as unprofessional and ridiculous.
“This is totally unprofessional and unacceptable. How dare you say you would slap a model? It is only in Nigeria models are not regarded and respected.
This will never happen in the western world,modeling is at the tail end in the entertainment industry in Nigeria and this has to change, Models are a crucial part of a potential multi-billion naira fashion and culture industry. Models deserve the same respect that is accorded a movie star or comedians or singer. Without models in the fashion industry, designers will be left with mannequins, robots,celebrities and photos to interpret their products. That our modeling and fashion industry is not as big yet doesn’t mean models can’t be recognised,”Aisha wrote.
She continues, “For a casting director to say such to a model is totally ridiculous and that’s just a tiny fraction of the degradation Nigerian models face. Only in Nigeria models get paid peanuts. Only in Nigeria models get ignored and delayed without an apology during castings or refreshments during shows. Only in Nigeria designers would pay everyone else and tell the models there is no budget for them. Only in Nigeria are models touched in the butts and boobs by men who think models mean the same as a stripper or prostitute.
The founder of EleganteByAisha also lamented the fact that models are excluded from ambassadorial positions by Nigerian brands and corporate bodies;
“It’s Only in Nigeria you don’t see models as brand ambassadors; brands pick everyone from each of the entertainment arms and neglect the models. Only in Nigeria you hardly see models do movies or become a TV hosts. All this is because models are not regarded. In the western world models are well respected and celebrated,casting directors have a high degree of respect for models. A model abroad almost threw her heels at a casting director and got away with it. Yes, a model once did that! Although she was blacklisted later, but such incidents attest to the level of freedom every party has. Only in Nigeria models don’t get celebrated. A model at my level may have overcome these challenges, but behaviours like that make a lot of upcoming models shy away from this profession when they feel intimidated and abused. But all this will stop and it will stop pretty soon,” the multiple award-winning model stated.