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Nigerians in Diaspora: Ola Dozie

Olamide Chiedoziem, known as Ola Dozie is one of the young Nigerians hands-on with his career. In this heartfelt and honest interview, Dozie is beyond sincere as he tells us his journey and serves true advice based on his experiences. This is an interview everyone in the African creative scene, especially the modeling business should read. Get in. 

Red Edit: How would you introduce yourself? 

Ola Dozie: My name is Olamide Chiedoziem. I am a 20-year-old fashion model. I am a student who is signed to MyBookerModels Nigeria. 

Red Edit: How did your journey into the world of modeling start? 

Ola Dozie: I wasn’t desperate going into modeling. I was scouted by a fashion designer who wanted me to work for his brand. The shoot never happened, but in my mind, I knew modeling was something that I could do. However, I didn’t put attention to it until I officially got scouted. Luckily a friend had sent my picture to a friend of theirs who was a model scout, and I was signed to her agency, Gemian model agency in Benin, Nigeria. 

Red Edit: So far what brands have you worked with? 

Ola Dozie:  My mother agency is MyBookerModels which is here in Nigeria. I am signed to IMG London, including Independence Milan and Select Paris. I have worked for Arise fashion week, GTB fashion week, Lagos Fashion Week, Jreason, Westminster, Chalayan, Mai Atafo, Orange Culture, Nobel Couture Paris, amongst others.

Red Edit: Asides from modeling what else are you passionate about? 

Ola Dozie: I am a student, I study Criminology and Security Studies at the National Open University. Psychology is something I am interested in. My mom is a psychologist, and the interest grew from there. I find psychology very interesting. If I wasn’t modeling, I would have been fully into the psychology world. 

Red Edit: What advice would you have for people seriously looking to be into the world of modeling? 

Ola Dozie: Don’t be too desperate about it. Once you have the look, and what the scouts are looking for, they would definitely find you. Just put yourself in positions to be found. Go for Castings, go for casting calls. When agencies arrange for scouting calls like that, make yourself available. Work on yourself because different types of modeling have different types of requirements. Know the type of modeling you are going into. If it is high fashion, know the body standard so work towards it.  Work on your skin. Basically, stay fit, work on your body, and just keep pushing. 

Red Edit: What advice would you have for those that are desperate, and want to do modeling without restrictions on what type of modeling they are allowed to do. People that are seriously passionate about modeling but don’t meet the extreme body standards of modeling, what is your advice for them?

Ola Dozie: As I said, don’t be desperate, there are different types of modeling. It is mostly high fashion that has these strict requirements where you can’t be below a certain height, and you have to be extremely skinny to a point. Regardless of all that, if your face is really good, people bring you into fashion without minding that you don’t fit the other standards, but it all depends on you. For people like that, they were still found, they weren’t desperate. You shouldn’t be desperate if you know you want to model. Just find the modeling you fit into, there’s fitness modeling, commercial modeling, amongst others. Look into the types of modeling, see what works for you,  push your way to start, and keep pushing from there. 

Red Edit: What is the work culture overseas like, compared to the work culture here in Nigeria?

Ola Dozie: To be Honest, Models are treated better abroad. They are respected more and are treated better in every way.  During shoots in Nigeria, people look at the designer but don’t regard the models, they act like the models are just objects.  In Nigeria, basic welfare plans for other production members during shoots are not allocated to models sometimes. Models are not paid well in Nigeria compared to model’s abroad. Working abroad is every model’s dream. The way Nigeria is set up, we are breaking past the norm because a lot of professions like modeling do not thrive here. However, we are getting better, and people are beginning to see that modeling is a serious profession.

Red Edit: The average Nigerian Parent would never take modeling as a career seriously. So how was the experience with your parents considering the fact you were still in school? 

Ola Dozie: When I first told my parents about modeling, they were not open-minded about it. They were concerned it would clash with my school. They felt like modeling is something someone should take as a hobby, not a full-time career. They failed to understand that modeling is a full-time job people live off from. So I would still get the be serious with your life talk. Meanwhile abroad, modeling is what people use to be serious with their lives. My parents only took me seriously when I won the dare to dream competition. When they saw the possibilities and results as I left Nigeria for the first time as part of the prizes of winning, they started being convinced. However, not everyone has that opportunity. A lot of people still see it as a hobby. Modeling is made fun of a lot when it comes to making your Parents understand how this means a lot to you. 

Red Edit: How would you advise anyone going through the troubles of making their parents see modeling as a career to handle their parents?

Ola Dozie: I have a model manager who does this for a lot of people he scouts. He goes to the Parents, explains, and shows them the opportunity at hand. A lot of parents don’t understand this. There are so many stereotypes about models being irresponsible, amongst others. You have to show them models are beyond this stereotype. At the end of the day, it is still up to the model. I know models that wouldn’t even let their parents know that they are in this profession until there’s evidence that something tangible would come out of it. They would sneak out for shows until they get to the point they are making waves, then they tell their parents. By then, the models are on billboards, and big screens so it is easier to convince the parents with results.  If you let your parents know and they still decide to say no, it is up to the model to follow their parent’s principles or do it behind their backs.

Red Edit: What would you like to implement in the modeling industry when it comes to the working culture in Nigeria?

Ola Dozie: First off, models should be respected. They should start seeing models as a bonafide members of the creative team, not just sidelines. We are growing bigger, people need to have open minds and understand us more.

Red Edit: As a young person trying to balance school, a modeling career, amongst others, what are the challenges you face, and how do you overcome them?

Ola Dozie: Joggling school and modeling when I first started were very hard. The Dare to Dream competition happened to collide with my exams. I was first in FUTA, Nigeria, and being a model messed up my schedule. I missed some exams, I traveled out around the time I had to write another semester exam so it messed my grades up pretty bad, so I had to drop out. It was really challenging because dropping out of school isn’t something that your parents would welcome with open arms. However, I fixed that immediately because I enrolled in the National Open University. As a model, you have to keep pushing to be the next big thing. That is hard because it is actually constant work. The same way an athlete would keep training to keep winning races is the same way a model has to keep working. Work on your body to be the perfect requirement. Work on your skin, you are basically working on a lot of things at once. You need to know how to be composed, know your camera angles, and all of that. Recently, my need to know is acting because you can get thrown into any commercial  and you need to act. I wasn’t prepared for that but now I am basically learning acting too. Another challenge for a lot of models is location. A lot of models are limited because of where they are, no big action happening there. So you need to always travel and be at where everything is happening. 

Red Edit: Right now, the End SARS protests is very active, you have been on the streets actively joining the protest, what motivated you to be a part of the protest journey?

Ola Dozie: This SARS issue is something that affects everyone. I have been stopped in Akure when I was in school twice. I have witnessed SARS first hand: someone pointing, and cocking a gun at you threatening to shoot when it is obvious that you did nothing wrong. It is not just me, but my friends. A lot of my friends have been arrested by SARS, and being stopped by SARS is like a daily meal. So when I saw a lot of my friends were going to be on the streets protesting, it didn’t make sense that I stayed at home. The internet has also been a big help but we need to move. I  hope our unity for this protest continues and we continue till 2023 and get a better government.

Red Edit: What should people look forward to with time, when it comes to Ola Dozie?

Ola Dozie: I  have a lot of things I want to do but I prefer to live life as it comes. I am going to push forward for more jobs and campaigns but just watch out for me, I would like to cruise life as it comes. 

Red Edit: So we have a quick Game Time for you. You have to choose one of each option presented then tell us why you chose that.

Ola Dozie (smiles) Okay.

Red Edit: Would you rather do a Keeks or Nike AD?

Ola Dozie: I have modeled for Keeks before, so I would do a Nike AD

Red Edit: Mai Atafo or Adidas?

Ola Dozie: Mai Atafo because Adidas is going to give me a casual look but Mai Atafo would definitely give me a classic.

Red Edit: Text or Calls?

Ola Dozie: None. I could manage texts but I don’t like calls, it gives me anxiety.

Red Edit: Nigeria or London?

Ola Dozie: London. While we’re fighting for our country to get better, let’s go there.

Red Edit: Would you rather have love or money?

Ola Dozie: Hmm, that tough. That is really tough. (after thinking for a long time) Hmm… love or money? I would go for Money. I don’t know… I actually really value love. I think I would go for love. 

Red Edit: Is Love the final answer?

Ola Dozie: Wait… (laughs) But, you would be in love and then poor again. Omo money o! I would go for money. Money can’t buy love but love is already there. Money is not always there when you want it. (laughs)

Red Edit: Thank you Ola Dozie for talking to us.

Ola Dozie: I had joy talking to you. It was such a cool interview, thank you. 

Ola Dozie/ AFP
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