My name is Yinka Olowokere Wilson. I am a 300 level student of the University of Ibadan studying Music. Originally from Ondo town, Ondo state but currently based in Ibadan. I am a model, An Ex beauty queen and The CEO of Willdivahs Ushering Agency.
*How and when I was discovered?
I started Modeling in The Polytechnic Ibadan 2014. The same year I got an admission. I will not say I was particularly discovered. It was more like ‘she beautiful, she is confident and can influence her fellow students. Let her be awarded The Miss Ajumose of Ibadan crown’ The brand was owned by the then Special Adviser on Youth and sport in Ibadan. That was my first crown.
From there, to Miss Olori of the polytechnic which of course was where the competition started for me.
I was originally a tomboy. I use to dance in a crew then Called kingdom dancers. I was not particularly girly but Miss olori pageant showed me how all that cannot help me and I can’t be that person anymore. So I needed to learn how walk like a queen.
I never had an official tutor beside all I check online and The then Miss Polytechnic Ibadan by the name Elizabeth Okpene. Who took me on some catwalk classes informally. I am grateful to her till this day. She was and still is a catwalk queen.
She encouraged me to go for pageant and challenge myself.
That was where the journey started.
8 pageant down the line (3 wins, 2 second runner ups), 5 runways exhibitions, photo shoots and we are still counting.
* Going by your portfolio, You are not afraid to take daring photos considering our conservative society. What inspired this boldness?
I like to think that I am naturally bold. Our society frowns at bald head which before Modeling I have always spotted. So it just a matter of putting all that boldness and fierceness on set for shoots or stage. Although I got to learn how to express myself better in photos and know my strong point and explore them over time. I can’t tell you that it’s was inspired by any particular reason. I have always been different of which I am not afraid to admitting
Different has always been the new sexy.
* What are the greatest challenges you currently face as a model?
One of the major challenges I face as a model is body shaming.
I get expressions like ‘Omg, your cheeks are fat, what have you been eating? Do you want to be a plus size? You should go to the gym, you need to be slimmer, get that extra fat off, it does not suit you’
It’s crazy when I go for pageant and I am the biggest girl competing. I have always been a struggling size 8 and imagine my surprise when I hit a 10. There is anything that can be worse. Although that phase is over now, and the Modeling industry allows more curvy model of which I am glad. When I thing of those times it’s still make me feel a tad bit bad.
Another challenge is not getting paid.
I always say ‘make sure you have another hustle besides Modeling’ Modeling hardly put food on your table Beside a little bit of fame. You hardly get anything else. It’s in this line of job that you contest for a pageant after winning you get nothing else but the crown, which you are supposed to use to get sponsorships for your pet projects and the next pageant for the same brand.
Some Photographer make it look like they are doing you a favor instead of we both helping each other. It so sad that when a photographer call you for job they tell you they can’t pay you but if it’s the other way round even after you have done a free job they charge you. Or you are sometimes ask to pay for a shoot through some other despicable means. It’s sad.
* Did your people supported u to be a model ?
My mum has always been the major sponsor.
We literally do everything together. She has always been the one to support my dream even when the odds are against me. The encouragement, the time and energy? I cannot thank her enough.
Thanks to her open mindedness.
My dad does not mind and these are the most important people.
I have had some other sponsors in between Like General Otiki, Alhagi Kunle, Mr Jide Olasiyan, Mrs Elizabeth Okpene, Lady Hilda of Hilda’s Angels modeling agency And so many others that I will continue to say thank you to.
* What do you do when you’re not busy Modeling?
When I am not working I am usually reading, sleeping, sight seeing or cooking.
* What’s your dream modeling job?
My dream Modeling job is to be the international brand Face of MTN.
* Who is your favourite African designer?
I can’t tell you that I have a favorite African designer. And this is because there are so many Amazing African designers some of which I so much love their designs. I can mention a few that I admire, amongst them are Lola Faturoti, Frank Oshodi, Ade Bakare and Folake Folarin Coker.
* Speaking of food, what is your favourite African food?
I do not have a favorite food at all. I am too much of a foodie to have a favorite.
* How do you define a brilliant model?
A brilliant model knows what she wants and go for it.
She makes mistake although costly sometimes and learn from it. She’s quiet when she needs to be, assertive when required and is ready to learn.
* What about a brilliant woman?
A brilliant woman re-energize herself by taking moments to reflect on what they’re doing, what they’ve done and where they want to go. They’re humble enough to look within. They take the time to learn right from wrong, and grow from mistakes and humility. The take correction and refuse to be put down whether emotional or physically.
* Your advice to young models?
The only advice I would give is for them to appreciate their differences.
Be the best version of yourself or a caricature of someone else. Your choice.