Fashion model, Babalola Otitoju Joseph fondly known as Joseph Water, has revealed what he misses most about Nigeria since leaving Africa’s biggest nation for the United States of America.
In a media parley with newsmen, the much-sought-after model, who was formerly called by the nickname Joseph Walter, but has now changed his stage name to Joseph Water, came short of saying that home has no substitute in the real sense of it as she went on to recall her growing up years in Nigeria.
“When I was little I would go to the beach in Nigeria because it was very close to my house but here, it’s not close. Growing up in Nigeria and having to eat African cuisines was very easy because the food was everywhere but over here, you will have to drive some miles to get African delicacies.
” I miss my family members too particularly my cousins. Having to wake up and not having them close to me is a different feeling entirely. One thing I have missed and embraced over the years is my African heritage. Many don’t appreciate it. It is embellished with great values such as sense of hospitality, good relations, sacred and religion, sanctity of life, respect for elders and authority, morality, language, proverbs and time, and so on. It is not perfect but it is colourful and beautiful,” Joseph Water said.
As fame and fortune smile on celebrities, there is often a tendency to forget how it all started, the inspiration and all that. But for Joseph Water, his mother would always have a special place in her heart for the role she played in getting her to where she is today.
“The one person that really influenced me is my mom. I grew up with her and she always told me education is the first thing and where ever I find myself, I should always remember who I am. She always wanted education first, so I’m still in school working to get my degree and at same time moving towards my dream of being a fashion model,” Joseph Water reflects.
Babalola Otitoju Joseph called on those nursing the ambition of venturing into modeling to be themselves and to be original at all times, noting that, “the most important thing you can do to become a model is to be yourself. Never change who you are on the inside or outside to make someone else happy. Modeling can be a great way to gain self-confidence and can help you make money on the side of a regular day job. Never sacrifice yourself, your values or your self-esteem to do so. These steps will lead you to being a successful and happy model.”
Apart from heeding the advice from her mother, Joseph Water looks upto Karl Lagerfeld as a role model in the dynamic world of fashion modeling.
In his words, “Karl Lagerfeld becomes master in fashion and an excellent in sketches with master at blending fashion and pop culture. Karl Lagerfeld says, “Don’t use expensive clothes as a screen for your personal doubts. Be proud of yourself and not only because you wear expensive designer clothes. They are great, but lots of people are happy without them.
“My job is to bring out in people what they wouldn’t dare do themselves. Don’t dress to kill, dress to survive. Like poetry, fashion does not state anything. It merely suggests”. That’s my role model. I always dreamed about working with him some days but unfortunately for me, he passed away. So, I never got to work for him.”
On life in the diaspora, Joseph Water says, “life in America is not as easy as people think, due to culture change and diversity. You have to know the kind of person you are, where you coming from’ understand the system of how things work. There are a lot of differences between my country and here and I just have to learn to be stable”.
Speaking on what he didn’t leave behind, Joseph Water stated: “The culture and heritage and the never giving up spirit that anywhere we find ourselves, we tend to adapt and do better no matter the conditions.” While modeling pays her bills, Joseph Water is still in school in pursuit of knowledge to earn a degree.
Modeling, he says, has afforded him a rare opportunity of transversing the globe, a big achievement considering the important persons he has come into contact with.
“I have been able to travel all over the world and met some icons, top fashion designer, and photographers,” he says why highlighting the mileage modeling has fetched him in the past few years. He has also worked with Walkfashionshow, Johncasablanca, Bndhouse, Afrimma, Krave Magazine, & Slay Magazine amongst others.
Joseph Water participated in the EndSARS campaign which almost brought Nigeria to her knees as she formed a group gathering of Nigerian Diasporas “and we formed a mini protest with the movement and then we raised awareness also on social media using the EndSARS hashtag.”