Sahel Standard Personality of the Week: Olajumoke Orisaguna

In the bustling streets of Lagos, Nigeria, it’s common to see hawkers balancing their goods on their heads, weaving through the chaotic traffic and throngs of people. In February 2016, one such hawker unknowingly stepped into the spotlight, transforming her life in a way that seemed almost magical. This is the story of Olajumoke Orisaguna, the bread seller who became a supermodel.

Olajumoke Orisaguna was a 27-year-old woman who trained as a hairdresser, was married with two children, and was living a modest life in Osun State. Jumoke as she’s fondly called, traveled to Lagos with one of her children where she hoped to make more money selling bread. Every day, she would carry a tray of bread on her head, selling it to support her family. It was a life of hardship and perseverance, typical of many Nigerian women trying to make ends meet.

One day, as she was going about her business, fate intervened. Olajumoke walked into a photoshoot by Nigerian-British rapper Tinie Tempah, conducted by celebrity photographer TY Bello for ThisDay Style. TY Bello was immediately struck by Olajumoke’s poise and beauty, even though she was just a passerby carrying her tray of bread. The photograph of Tinie Tempah with Olajumoke in the background went viral, capturing the imagination of people worldwide.
Recognizing the uniqueness of the moment, TY Bello decided to track down Olajumoke. She posted on social media, asking for help to find the mysterious bread seller. When Olajumoke was eventually found, TY Bello arranged a professional photoshoot for her. The resulting images were nothing short of extraordinary. Olajumoke’s natural beauty and elegance shone through, leading to an outpouring of support and offers from various quarters.

Olajumoke’s life changed almost overnight. She was signed by Few Models, a prestigious modeling agency, and began receiving numerous endorsement deals and job offers. She became the face of brands like PayPorte, Shirley’s Confectionery, and Stanbic IBTC. Her story was a beacon of hope and inspiration, showing that dreams can come true in the most unexpected ways.

In addition to her modeling career, Olajumoke also took steps to secure a better future for herself and her family. She was awarded a scholarship by Sujimoto Group to attend Poise Academy, where she learned etiquette, communication, and grooming skills. This education was crucial in helping her navigate her new life in the spotlight.
Despite the fairy-tale nature of her discovery, Olajumoke’s journey was not without challenges. The rapid transition from a bread seller to a supermodel came with its own set of pressures. Critics argued that her story was being sensationalized and that her sudden fame might not be sustainable in the long term. There were also concerns about the exploitation and unrealistic expectations placed upon her. However, Olajumoke remained focused and resilient. She used her platform to advocate for education and empowerment, particularly for underprivileged women. Her story inspired many to believe in the power of hope and hard work.

 Olajumoke Orisaguna’s story is more than just a tale of rags to riches. It is a testament to the unpredictable nature of life and the importance of seizing opportunities. Her transformation from a bread seller to an international model is a powerful reminder of the hidden potential within ordinary people.

Today, Olajumoke continues to work in the modeling industry while also exploring other ventures, including acting and entrepreneurship.

Her journey has been a source of inspiration for many, illustrating that no dream is too big and no background too humble to achieve greatness.
The incredible journey of Olajumoke Orisaguna from a bread seller to a supermodel is a story of hope, resilience, and transformation. It highlights the unexpected twists of fate that can alter lives in unimaginable ways. Olajumoke’s rise to fame serves as a powerful reminder that with the right opportunity and support, anyone can achieve their dreams, no matter where they start from.

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