By Rita Chima

The best way to build a brand is to be fastidious and diligently represent yourself by being the best at what you do.

That is the cardinal rule followed by Otitoju Joseph Babalola, an acknowledged fast-rising model in America who is in the limelight under the band name of Joseph Walters.

“I represent myself as a brand. I am my brand,” says Joseph Walters, recognised as a fashion-forward model who takes pride in his unique features and diversity in culture.

“I desire my colleagues in the fashion industry to know me as someone professional with clean lines who takes his work and his profession seriously.”

The 26-year-old Nigerian from Ikare Akoko, Ondo State, who was educated at UT Arlington, North Texas, discloses why he preferred a career in fashion modelling: “My inspiration to go into the fashion industry was first and foremost my creativity and love for the art. Then I am inspired by models who started from the bottom and advanced with humility and passion.”

Joseph Walters is especially inspired by ageless models such as Naomi Campbell who he refers to as “my Idol”.

He says of the ebony supermodel: “In my opinion, she is extremely talented. Since I was a young boy I have always admired her because her style is so creative. She can never do any wrong in my eyes, whether in a print shoot or on the runway. She is a fashion icon and has won many awards along with having worked with top brands in the fashion industry all over the world. After more than 30 years in the industry, she is still going strong and has redefined what it means to be a supermodel.”

As far as Walters is concerned, America is the right place for his career to bloom: “In America, the modelling industry is favourable because many of the top agencies are here. I feel that in the US, you can be exposed to the industry and if you are passionate along with hard work, you can make it.”

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For his past pains, he is now reaping the gains. “I had to sacrifice a lot to be where I am now. Modelling takes a lot of time and dedication so my social life definitely was affected as a young man in my twenties. When I look back, it was not easy but well worth it,” he avers.

And for aspiring models dreaming of fame and fortune, Joseph Walters offers nuggets of advice: “My advice to young people who desire to be where I am is that you just have to know what you want first. I don’t believe in Plan B. Know what you want and go for it, plain and simple. It won’t be easy, but if you make sacrifices and believe in yourself, it can definitely be achieved. Also, don’t miss any auditions because that could be the one audition that could change your life!”

Vanguard

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