Nigerian model Nanfe Jemimah Oyeleke; also the wife of a renowned celebrity photographer, Emmanuel Oyeleke, was told she wouldn’t succeed in the modeling business, look where she’s Now. The two times face of zaron Cosmetic winner/model has an impressive list of runway credits, and fashion campaigns under her belt. Jemimah Oyeleke Who has been seen on several billboards for Zaron cosmetic, GTBank fashion week, Darling Nigeria hair campaign etc. Putting in a lot of work as a model. She shines on as a Fashion designer, her brand (KNANFE) is known as one of the top upcoming fashionable and minimalist designs seen on celebrities like Chimamanda Adichie, Fatima El-rufai, Temi Mo’abdu, Lala ogubem, Zainab Balogun, Big Brother’s Cee Cee and Adesua Etomi Wellington…
Jemimah spoke to us about her life as a model, her brand and her personal casting tips. Here is our conversation with Nanfe Jemimah Oyeleke.
My Name is Nanfe Jemimah Oyeleke. I am a model, a fashion designer, and a wife. I love cooking, watching movies, painting, and travelling. I am an alumna of Abuja Fashion Academy. I am from Plateau State (Langtang South). I have been modelling professionally for about 6 to 7 years now. It all started by taking pictures in school (Plateau State Polytechnic). People liked it and used it for their photo booths and I was motivated to push further. I would use my student allowances to pay for studio shoots and I would style myself too. I was so proud of myself. The pictures trended everywhere in Jos and people literally looked at these pictures in admiration unknowing to them that I hadn’t booked my first job yet. Looking back at those pictures, they look so funny but my friends were so proud of me and what I did then.
How did you meet your husband?
I met my husband in Lagos (May 27th, 2016). I was on a shoot for grey velvet and he was the photographer on set.
What’s the weirdest word in the English language?
I think the word “Mosque” is. My husband says I call it “mocs,” I can’t seem to get it right as simple as it is, but whatever! I don’t bother anymore.
How has modeling changed you as a person?
I would say everything that I am today is as a result of my experience as a model. Modelling has given me the right amount of exposure. Putting myself out there, I got to discover a lot about myself, especially for someone who started from scratch to where I am today, without any sort of experience on how the fashion world works. Modelling has changed me beyond my imagination.
When should a model do free jobs and when not to?
As a new model, free jobs help you build content that would put your face out there. The right people need to know you exist. Starting out as a model, I was more concerned about my passion for modelling, the business of modelling and people getting to know me. The moment you master your craft, you’re ready for business. In conclusion, it’s not always about the money.
Which supermodels did you look up to when you started your modeling
Apart from Naomi Campbell, I really didn’t look up to anyone, I just wanted to be a bad ass model.
Do you have any casting tips you’d like to share?
Presentation matters. Appearance, good skin care, and confidence go a long way. Always follow the rules, these things are very important for both male and female models. For female models, go for castings makeup free and with your heels. If you’re confused on what to wear, check the models you look up to and how they appear for castings. You don’t necessarily have to wear anything expensive. Personally, I wear black pants and a black or white top or camisole. For my skin, I make sure I stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water before casting. I have had serious breakout and hair fall out due to applying too much makeup on set. Hence, I stopped using too many products on my skin. I wouldn’t advise you also not to. I do a very simple skin routine with an organic facial scrub and wash off with Arami Essentials Onyx Polish Black Soap.
What is the biggest difference between “being married and not being married?
The difference for me is decision making. although I can do whatever I want my husband is super supportive.
What is your take on nude photography?
I’d say don’t shoot nude with everyone. Some models are comfortable with the art of nude photography. However, if you must, shoot with professionals and make sure it’s tasteful.
Favorite photo of yourself?
oh! definitely my Face.
Best job you’ve ever booked?
So far, Zaron cosmetic. It was a much-needed break and I am indeed grateful for the platform, not only for the money but the value added.
Is there an accomplishment you are proud of?
I have accomplished so much within a few years. I’m proud of how far i have come as a model, A fashion designer and a Wife.
You launched your own clothing line “knanfe”, what’s the inspiration behind her?
I had always known how to sew before I fell in love with modelling. Sewing was the first skill I acquired. My mom used to be a tailor and my dad was a photographer before he joined the force. I can remember him taking pictures of me as a child; he loved fashion and photography. I’m living the dream my parents always wanted for me. They’re my inspiration.
How would you describe your style and where do you pull your inspiration from?
I’m a minimalist. I love clean, fine lines, and shapes, and proportions. I love seeing a well-tailored outfit. All these things inspire me. I guess it’s safe to say I am my own inspiration.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
My passion for modeling took me this far. Someone once told me I wouldn’t make it as a model, but that only pushed me to do better. After I lost my dad, I was sad. I had to channel all that energy into something I love, modelling. Instead of sitting around and being sad, I kept shooting from one location to another, I worked on myself until I was noticed. My first professional shoot was taken by Romeo Shagba. I travelled back and forth from Jos to Abuja to cast for a free shoot and I was selected. In a nutshell, I would say I invested in myself. I didn’t give up.
Anything Else You Would Like to Add?
Most definitely. In the fashion and modelling industry, models are seen as and treated as the least on the creative chain. Clients mistreat models, and it is so disheartening and upsetting. A model’s pay is very low compared to every other creative or to the service he or she is rendering, which should not be so. Clients do not think a model is worth more than ten per cent of every other creative’s fee. Meanwhile, on set, the model goes through the makeup artist, the hair stylist, the nail technician if there is any, and finally to the photographer for final production. After going through all these parts of pre-production, models somehow end up with the lowest payment. If models are that redundant, they could as well wear clothes on a mannequin or have products modelled themselves. Models need to be valued and respected. They also need to start speaking up for themselves.