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I n this edition of our series we’ll be interviewing a brand model influencer, who specializes in modeling clothes, shoes and accessories. Bolu Akingbade or Big B as she is affectionately called is a final year software engineering Babcock University tech bae, who also models in her free time and has turned this into a lucrative hobby. Big B gives me the rundown on all the pros and cons of being a freelance model working with upcoming brands. During her time as a brand model Bolu has worked with clothing brands like Bfits, Dotbydot, Lusheey Signature Swimwear and Nyosi.
I had agreed a night-time FaceTime call with Big B where we spent close to an hour talking with no interruptions. Time flew by, as she gave articulate and impassioned responses to each question, explaining in detail how the brand model narrative came about. She revealed details I never knew about modelling despite being really good friends with her. Please enjoy our very enlightening discussions and feel free to share below in the comments section if you have your own brand model or influencer tales.
“Both of my sisters model and they had modeled for a friend of my older sister, subsequently my older sister wasn’t available and I filled in for her, that was how I started. I realized I was good at it and it was something I could continue doing without my siblings.” The Akingbade sisters are models by nature so it was only right for Bolu to follow in their footsteps. The connections her sisters made as brand models paved the way for Bolu to land modeling roles.
Bolu modelling DotbyDot sleepwear. Image Credit: ( @dot.by.dot_)
“There are a few things, but one of the main ones begins when you inform your client of your rate because they feel you’re not a professional model. The rate would seem expensive to them, or clients would ask for collaboration and would not give you enough details on the job until the last minute. This can’t really be worked around because I have to plan my schedule around other things seeing as I still go to school and I have to make time for family and friends, so telling me the details of the shoot on the morning of the shoot doesn’t really work for me” Bolu laments about the disorganized schedule of some brands which expect you to make yourself available at their beck and call. She values her time despite being a freelance model and refuses to work for free because as the saying goes time is money.
“There are also people that would like to pay you with exposure”, she states matter-of-factly. She continues “and when you let them know the other ways you could be compensated, depending on the kind of shoot you’re doing and they don’t want to.” For Bolu who values her time and effort she turns down clients who are unwilling to pay her what she is worth. As an empowered young woman, she believes that being rewarded equitably shows appreciation for models’ time and can only help nurture the industry. She is vehemently against the disrespectful practice of brands offering to pay models in “exposure”.
Bolu in nude colored dress from Bfits. Photo Credit: Everest Works( @mreverest_) for Bfits.
“I see myself doing this long term because I see it as a hobby and not something I do all the time, it’s something I only do when I have excess free time or a particular friend needs me to model for them. So yes long term but not as my main source of income.” Big B seems to enjoy the fast life of a freelance model and would like to continue doing so long term. Ever the savvy businesswoman, she is quick to concede that a combination of the tough marketplace and the reluctance of some brands to adequately reward models mean that this cannot be her only source of income. She shines brightly in front of the camera and has no immediate plans of leaving the spotlights any time soon.
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Big B on a shoot for Bfits. Video Credit: Ikepo Akingbade( @ikepo_aking) for Bfits.