"My Family Was A Photograph Lover Type" - OAU Beauty Model, Temiloluwa Akinsola Revealed Her Modelling Career Was Inspired By Her Family

Photo: Instagram/@temiloluwaakinsola

Temiloluwa Akinsola is a young Nigerian Beauty Model, Visual Artist, Creative Director and Student of Law. In this exclusive interview with IfeCityBlog CampusCelebs, She revealed how her journey into modelling was inspired by her family and some other things.

Can we meet you and get to know little about your journey into modelling? 

My name is Temiloluwa Akinsola, I'm a model, a visual artist, creative director and law student. The truth is I have always loved being in front of the camera, my family was the "photograph lover" type, my mum precisely, she made sure you had a picture to show for your birthdays, every millstone in your life is very important to her. So every time I heard the photographer's voice; I would quickly dress and do all the "makeup" I could and lobby around till I eventually got a modelling career. Then as I was growing up and my father got cable(my TV Africa), Fashion TV became my channel, I would just watch model strutting all day, I got hooked with all the glamour; people doing your makeup, dressing you, transforming your hair and all you have to do is stylishly walked down a runway, I wanted that! I saw myself doing that as a career because I felt really happy just watching those models and I knew I would be happier doing the actual job. I also stumbled on America's Next Top Model, I was just amazed at the different shoots they did for their tasks and it was all just fascinating and used to tell my sister, one day I will go for that show, then she told me that I have to be an American before I can apply there and at a point I really wanted to get the American citizenship but that ambition just died along the line. 

The point where I knew that I wanted to be a model was when I travelled to Lagos for my Christmas Holiday, I was about age 11/12 and there was this giant Coca-Cola billboard and there was this girl on it holding a Coca-Cola bottle and she was laughing, I looked at that billboard with dreamy eyes and I just said to myself I want to get up there, how do I get up there? And that question is still what I work towards everyday. At these points I did not even know people got paid to do modelling, I just thought it was all about the fulfillment, the joy I see on those models faces.

So from an ordinary family shoots to a commercial model, what motivated you to start modelling on a professional scale?

I decided to start modelling professionally after my secondary school in 2014; because I realised I could make money from it and I have this dream of using a certain percentage of my earnings as a model to develop my immediate community, so that children who don't have the privileges I have will be raised to a certain point of advantage; I wanted every child to have at least a primary education. The rest of my earning as a model is supposed to be for my own self development. I remember that I would put in for any competition for models and honestly, I didn't have a clear idea of how to hit the spotlight. I stopped at a point, I wasn't taking any pictures because I was frustrated that every time I put in for something I would always lose. Like why me! There was no growth! No progress! I was even more frustrated when I realised that my height doesn't even cut runway modelling, I didn't know what to do because I didn't just understand what my height had to do with my catwalk and showcasing clothes; I mean is it only tall people that will like to see how a design would look on them? it didn't make sense to me and it still doesn't. I can't remember how I got out that loop and I just remember that I didn't go into modelling to win, I'm into it because it makes me happy and if I start winning then it will be a plus for me. This is my happy place and I shouldn't let myself be tied that with the shackles of disappointments. 

Now I'm more strategic, I learnt to discover my niche and how I to be a professional in it. I still have fall backs where I overthinking where I am and where I feel I am supposed to be but I have definitely grown from that person that jumps on every competition or every type of shoot. I have set an expectation for myself and if I look at a picture and it doesn't meet it, I look for what I did wrong there and I do better. I have also learnt to be more creative and most times I direct my own shoots. Now my own pictures inspire me that this modelling thing is meant for me and although I might get anxious about it but it's my thing and I will keep working to make it better, with or without job validations. And I know that someday at almost every billboard you turn to there would either be my warm smile, or stunning laughter or my beautiful/piercing eyes looking at you and that will bring some sort of joy to you too and also inspire someone too like I was inspired. 
I will keep creating new ideas and putting myself out there. I won't be chasing the spotlight anymore, I will work hard for my own spotlight to put own it's own light and shine on me for the world to see me. 

Apart from modelling, what are your other hobbies?

I draw but not very often anymore. I also make art out of scrap like CDs and carton; art and craft is my thing. I also enjoy dance but that's in private though. 

What are your expectations from this job , where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I expect that I no longer let self doubt hold me to the point of thinking about quitting. I definitely want my name to be mentioned anywhere and the word model follows. I also expect that I would have grown to the point where I work with multinational brands so that I can actually fulfil my purpose for modelling professionally. I see myself being more creative and being a brand of my own as a freelance model, I should be able to have worked with certain brands I have always wanted to work with(Nivea tops the list). I want to be seen in the modelling industry and be able to look back and be proud of how much growth I have experienced and I pray modelling still gives me the peace and joy that it gives me now, very important.

Do you think the Nigerian models are not doing something right and you look out to correct. Are you trying to shape the entire African modelling in a way?

Nigerian Modelling is a different line of Modelling. Honestly, it's not about the models it is about the industry itself and that's what needs to be corrected. You can't single handedly fight against a system that has adapted to existing the way it exists, you will only frustrate yourself and your career, just do your thing and hope to inspire a movement that will create a significant shift. For girls like me that our skintone is in between dark skin and light skin, it can be hard finding your place because when there is a call for models; it's either "a dark skinned model is needed or a light skinned model is needed" rarely would you see a specified call for girls in between that skin tone. And for a skintone many people have in Africa, there isn't much inclusion because the industry now gravitates towards deep dark skin tone leaving mid skintone displaced. I hope to shape the view that we can gravitate towards every skintone through inclusion. And I hope my journey gives more girls who have the CHOCOLATE CRÈME CARAMEL skintone the strength to keep going and for them to also feel included.

Studying and modelling, how has the combination being, the challenges if any and how have you been managing?

Balance is everything. Being a law student that always has a lot to read can be a lot of work with being a model that has to keep her creative mind awake and be able to show up when there is a call for models. Truthfully, I have lost opportunities to work with certain brands I have in mind to work with because of school because there is the challenge of distance of my location and the hotspot for jobs. Sometimes when I catch myself slipping up by searching for shoot inspiration to add to my mood board till very late in the night when I'm meant to be resting so I can go to school, I immediately caution myself. That self discipline is a also key. I also take breaks when school work load starts to weight more. Honestly, if one can plan well, it's not too challenging to balance.

Your words for the upcoming models out there.

This is specially for petite models; there will be times when people will tell you No because of your height, in fact you will get it a lot but don't doubt your future in the career because of that word, keep  pushing further, develop your skills and confidence. See your rejections as you basically writing your own story and eventually when you are telling it, it will carry all the inspiration it needs to inspire more upcoming models. And Generally, for upcoming models; Be creative, increase your value by learning about your profession, collaborate meaningful to build your  portfolio, know your niche and step out of your comfort zone. Don't be discouraged, you will get there.

Thanks so much for having you.

Thank you too. It's my pleasure.

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