2009 winner of the Nigerian Next Super Model, Aisha Bello is one of the most sought after young Nigerian model around the world modelling on one of the biggest run ways in places like New York, London, Paris and many other fashion hotspots of the earth. Aisha was a one-time winner of the Future Awards in Fashion and Style. MORAKINYO OLUGBIJI had a chat with the Edo born talented model at the just concluded Nigerian Fashion Week in Lagos
What is Aisha Bello working on at the moment?
Hmm,a lot of things,I’m working on my profile,working on my school because I’m graduating this year, and my NGO and I’m going to launch it soon; a couple of things! I have been busy,and also working on my portfolio as a model as well,because I want to take my modelling to even a greater height.
How did modeling start for you?
It was what I had always wanted ,so when it started coming I was excited I was not tired or nervous,because it was what I have always prayed for and I was very hardworking even till now am still very hardworking. And I have just been nominated for for the African Model of the Year, Nigerian Model Awards.
What’s your activities with Isis models like?
Ohh, it’s been wonderful,its been marvelous,I love my job. My boss, Joan Okorodudu is such a wonderful woman and I’m having fun with her and she is very welcoming. She is like a mom. I’m very comfortable with her. She is like my best friend, yea we do everything together; we laugh together,we eat together,we do everything together, I think she is just like a family,even if I retire from modeling today I can help her run ISIS Models without hiccups. That’s how much I’ve come to know her.
Looking back to when you first won the Nigerian Next Top Model, could you recall the experience?
It’s been a long time. It’s like you are given me an assignment ,but it was great,it was like a platform. After that,the good life I experienced and bigger things came after that.
How do you keep in shape?
I’m a professional model and an international one at that, you have to keep being in shape because yoU don’t know when the job is coming in,and when they call you for a job abroad you have to start working out, sometimes because of my exams I always study. I travel out a lot as well,so I’m doing stuffs and shuffling different countries and Nigeria. You just have to be trimmed. It is kind of hectic,and I think that is why my shape is like this because I eat everything, and I think am just lucky to have this figure because I don’t work out often.
What are your challenges being a model?
It’s a huge challenge. Being a model is very competitive, because modeling is a very difficult profession where nobody cares about what you do,how you feel or what you are going through. You must remain at your best otherwise, you are out.
Growing up and wanting to be a model, what was your parents reaction?
If my father was still alive I would probably not be a model because I’m from a core muslim home, but when my mom discovered that it was what l liked, she just told me “do one thing for me and I will not disturb you again,be a graduate for me and you can do whatever you want as a model.”
Models are skinny and very tall, a lot of people bash models because of this, what is your take on it?
First of all when I go out people say,oh, you are very skinny and tall and I smile and tell them thank you. I like my height and I’m comfortable with it,as long as being skinny pays my bills. I’m happy being skinny; if I can’t work into any place and be scared or shy, then I think nobody else opinion matters. When people say negative things about me on blogs or papers, I don’t feel bad because people will always say whether you are slim,fat,short,handsome,tall,so its better you be confident in yourself. As long as my family and siblings love me, I’m ok.
Tell me more about your background and siblings?
Well, I am from a polygamous home and my siblings are very special to me because we have gone through a lot together. I have two younger brothers and yea,its been very tough for us,but we are doing well,great and wonderful.
What are the challenges you faced growing up from a polygamous home?
It’s a serious challenge when you come from a polygamous home because you have to be prayerful,you have to be God fearing and careful,you just have to love everyone.
Is Aisha Bello in a relationship?
Ok, that is my private life I don’t want to talk about it here.
Still on polygamy,there’s a belief that African men are polygamous in nature,what is your opinion about it?
well, having a lot of wives,I think it’s for them,but I think now a lot of men want to have mistresses they don’t want to have more than one wife,but I would advice any man not to have more than one wife because it’s dangerous. If you are not careful you might end up not living long. And I think it’s not just african men,men around the world. A man is a man,like some of my friends they will tell me, “Aisha, my boyfriend is cheating on me and I will just tell them men don’t have species, it’s better you stick with this one and try to work things out and start doing things that will make him stay,because if you walk away to the next man,he’s a man he’s still goiing to cheat
What does style mean to you?
Style to me is what is in vogue. It’s what makes you feel comfortable and have confidence and beautiiful.
What are some of the runways you have participated in?
Some of the run ways which I have strutted include; New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Washington D.C Fashion Week, Gambian Fashion Week, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Malta, Cape Town Fashion Week, BET’s Rip The Runway, and I’ve represented Nigeria in the Best Model of the Year contest in Bulgaria. They are just too numerous to mention.
Finally,what is your take on the development in the fashion industry now?
My take on the fashion industry is that we have the money to spend,when it comes to fashion,Nigerians like to throw money around but then we need to do it right,we have to use the right models, best places and professional runways. Also, bringing in great designers that have good finishing,and I think we reallly need to work on our organization in Nigeria, because we just need one or two things to make it right. When we talk about the stage or the lighting they are there; we just need proper planning and how to coordinate people. So we have a couple of things to readjust but we are growing,am proud.