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ModelSpotlight with Tolu Omoyele

Last update - Friday, February 8, 2013, 12:44 By Tolu Omoyele

'Keep setting little goals’

Born in Poland to Nigerian parents, Osi Ugonoh relocated to Ireland at the age of 11 with her family. Now aged 18, she saw the last 12 months cement the foundations for an extraordinary future ahead: participating at the international beauty pageant Miss Supranational in Poland, beginning her studies at the Athlone Institute of Technology, and to cap it all off being crowned Miss Africa Ireland for 2012.


What is your greatest achievement to date?

I am not sure what my greatest achievement is, to be honest, but winning Miss Africa Ireland is definitely in my top-five list. I am also a first-year student studying health science and nutrition at the Athlone Institute of Technology. I feel that maybe the fact I am studying it makes me more aware of how to take care of my body, which helped in the competition to maintain a healthy weight.


How did you get started as a model?

I got into fashion modelling because of my mum who helped organise my first photo shoot in Poland. After that, thanks to my friend Anita, when I came back from my holidays in Poland I began working with Runway Models Academy where I learned professional catwalk and became a fashion model at 15.

I think initially it was curiosity that got me interested in fashion. Since I started watching America’s Next Top Model, I began wondering how it actually felt to be part of it in real life, and now I know it’s an amazing feeling.


What do you enjoy most about fashion?

What I most enjoy about fashion is the fact that it is a way of expressing yourself and showing people your creative side.


What's been your most remarkable photo shoot?

My most exciting photo shoot was at Miss Supranational pageant when the photographer took motion pictures of us. The pictures involved us holding a scarf and dancing with it only using our hands and showing a variation in facial expressions. The shoot was so unusual, which made me love it all the more.


Are you an agency-signed model?

I'm not signed with any Irish agency at the moment. However, I work with Runway Model Academy at fashion shows and photo shoots. I think the most challenging thing about modelling in Ireland is trying to get signed with an agency.

In your opinion, what makes a model?

I think what people do not realise about modelling is that doing a few photo shoots does not really make you a model. I think many people have done a bit of modelling in the past and because of that they do not realise that getting into the modern modelling world is not as easy, and it takes a while to get recognised in the industry – unless you happen to get lucky like Naomi Campbell and get scouted on the street.


From your experience, what advice would you give to newbie models?

My advice to a new model would be to be very determined and keep setting little goals for yourself and keep trying to achieve them. Achieving a little goal always helps keep a person motivated and will help show that they're on the right track. Skills such as being punctual and being able to present yourself are very important in the fashion industry


What influence have your parents had on your ambitions?

I think the biggest lesson my parents taught me is on the importance of being hard-working, and that brains and beauty should always go hand in hand. I have always been interested in nutrition and keeping fit. It has been something that I grew up with because of my mum's nutritional interests.


What's your opinion of the Irish fashion scene?

With creative designers such as Claire Garvey, I think Ireland shows a lot of potential for greatness in the world of fashion. I think the challenges in Ireland could lie in the fact that this is a small country in which sometimes there aren’t many opportunities for people when trying to make it big in their field.

How would you describe your style?

I think my style can be unusual while my outfits usually reflect my mood. I am a big fan of knee-high socks complimented with a skirt or shorts. My advice for women would be not to be afraid of experimenting with their style. Fashion can be fun if you allow yourself show people the fun side of it.

My closing thoughts would be that people should never fail to raise their standards. There is a famous saying: it’s not that your goal was too high and you missed it, but that it's low and you reached it. 

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