From a humble beginning, hawking bread on the streets of Agege, Lagos, fate smiled on Olajumoke Orisanuga and today, she is a celebrity model. Jumoke’s grass to grace story was not unconnected to life-changing photos of ace photographer and R&B singer, TY Bello. Speaking with Entertainer, Olajumoke opens up on her childhood years, her struggles and how TY Bello’s shots shot her into the world of glitz and glamour.
Did you ever believe that u could end up a world class model who will be rubbing shoulders with top models across the world?
I never expected it. I had a dream to live a quiet life with my family. So, what happened was a total transformation from fiction to reality. Meanwhile, I had secretly loved acting.
What was your first reaction when TY Bello wanted to photograph you and launch you into modeling?
I was yet to understand what was going on really but I knew whatever was going on had to be good. I was excited though I didn’t know who a model was or what models do but I was willing to do whatever was demanded of me as long as it was not negative.
It’s been a while since you hit stardom. How are you coping with the glitz and glamour?
At first, I was overwhelmed and basked in the euphoria for a long time. But now, under Qtaby Events, my new management company, I’ve come to realize you need hard work to maintain the glitz and glamour and that I can be anything I want to be if there is consistency and determination on my part.
What has changed about Olajumoke Orisaguna?
Hmmm… big question. Nothing really, except that I’m more focused and determined because I have a greater purpose. I have fans whom I must not let down and my family to take care of. It’s still the same humble, respectful me that was selling bread. Nothing has changed about me.
What has fame and stardom denied you off and how are your old friends coping with your new status?
Well, freedom and easy access to certain things. Before, I could walk freely to buy vegetable by the roadside, eat in a roadside food joint or even use public transport but I can’t do any of those now. Now I can’t get into the street without getting attention from fans. I still check on my friends and they still check on me. They’re all excited about my transformation.
From hawking bread, you are a model of world repute, when you look back, did u ever see yourself going this far in life?
I had ambitions to be great in life but not in this way. All I wanted and the picture I had was a quiet life with my family until God stepped in and assigned me to a greater purpose.
Could you recount growing up in Osun State and your struggles?
It was tough growing up in a family with not so much resources. There were times we slept hungry or had just little to eat. It was a difficult period but all that is past now.
What kind of a child were you and how many kids were you in the family?
What kind of child was I? I was a good child. Being the first of 6 children, I was saddled with the responsibility of supporting the family and providing for them. I had to stop school so they could further their education.
Do you still have any plan of getting education up to the university level? If so, what course do you wish to study?
I have plans and furthering my education is important to me.
What is your advice for young ladies out there who are gifted and talented but haven’t had the chance to be heard?
They should keep doing what they are doing. They should believe in God and heaven will smile on them shortly.
What message do you have for TY Bello who discovered you?
No amount of words can quantify how grateful I am to TY Bello. She is my God-sent angel. If not for her, I won’t be where I am now. She could have decided to kill the search for me or not bothered to use my picture but her kind heart made it possible. I’m forever indebted to her and I love her so much.
The day you photo-bombed her shoot, did you have a premonition that something good was coming your way? If so, can you share it with us?
I always have a premonition that something good will happen every day I go out and that day was not different. I prayed every day that God should order my steps and He heard my prayers.
What are your dreams?
I have a dream to be a helper to the helpless; a beacon of hope to the hopeless even as TY Bello was my helper.
How do you feel being reunited with your husband and child after all these years?
I have always been with my children and I am happy that the family is together
Which of your parents did you take your good looks from?
Both of them.