GRASS TO GRACE: From hawking bread on the streets, the inspiring story of how Olajumoke became a model in 3 weeks
The story of Jumoke Orisaguna – Last week, a bread hawker had become a viral sensation after she appeared in a photo shoot with UK rapper, Tinie Tempah.
According to photographer TY Bello, who took the photos, the bread seller — whose name is Jumoke Orisaguna — had stumbled upon the shoot.
While it had seemed to be a one-off photo shoot, it has proven to be much more for the 27-year old bread seller, as she has now covered Sunday’s edition of This Day Style magazine.
TY Bello had shared the cover on her Instagram page, and told Jumoke’s story from the very beginning. She wrote:
“I only recently started thinking it was important to make ‘behind -the – scenes videos of my photography sessions . I hardly , however make time to go through the footages simply because I find it uncomfortable looking at my self on screen and for the obvious fact that I sound wierd and embarrassingly loud when I shoot. Yesterday how ever I sat with filmaaker @emaedosio as we combed through go-pro footages to see if we captured the very moment ..
“Olajumoke a bread hawker from the Sabo market bakery , walked entirely by coincidence unto our set of our Thisday style shoot for @tiniegram The moment didn’t look special at all. If anything she stood there a little confused .. Some people asking her to leave the set and others asking her to stay . I signaled if it was ok to take her photograph and she agreed and I pressed on my shutter so she could move ahead.
“My main subject of interest was the Okada driver that had slowed down just before she arrived .Okada riders have that cool lagos vibe and always happen to add a bit of swag to street portraits. I was wrong to have paid her such little attention. Ever frame with her in it was perfect .. I had found a second subject in the Tinnie’s story .. A young beautiful hawker who could have served as a love interest of some sort.
“Digitally I made the red in her dress match @tiniegram sleeves to create a connection between them . When the magazine came out last week and the images hit social media, I was proven right this girl split the limelight with the main subject effortlessly ..questions and comments started to fly : Was she a model ? How did we convince the model to balance all that bread on her head.
“The buzz about her multiplied when I clarified that she indeed wasn’t a model at all but simply stumbled on our set. I immediately begone my search for her .If so many felt she was beautiful enough to be a model.. Then maybe she was mean to be one .I was going to find a way to make it happen .I had assistants leave word with people in the area we shot her and to my delight the very next day , she showed up at my studio. “Aso kan na ni mo wo kiri Lana .”
“Jumoke the ‘model’ the Internet had been searching for speaks almost no English. She explained how she had worn the exact outfit in our photograph the day before and someone showed her her own photograph on his phone from face book. A mallam led her to my studio that morning. She narrated her journey to lagos …A hair stylist from Ire in Osun state but not making enough profit between she and her husband , a sliding door installer in from same village ,to care for their two young children .
“At the invitation of a distant relative who knew someone operating a bakery , she relocated lagos with her 14 month old daughter to give bread hawking a try , leaving her husband and older 5 year old behind . As I listened to her I wandered if the beauty I had seen on my screen as I edited my image was a fluke ..well until she smiled ., I realized that I was wrong ., I had in fact ,underestimated the beauty of this 27 year old woman.
“As always ., it was her eyes and of course her perfectly chiseled features that jumped out at you when she chuckled .This lady belonged in front of my camera .After a conversation with her husband telling him the story of our meeting I decided I was going to photograph her that very afternoon..Within an hour ..Bimpe Onakoya , one of Nigeria’s leading makeup artist and Zubby one of my favourite hairstylist were at my studio to work magic.
“They had both followed the story online and were more than happy to put in their very best for her. Olajumoke .., with curly extensions out ,revealed a short natural Afro that beautifully hugged her face.@Bimpeonakoya also had decided to keep the make up minimal… She stepped in front of my camera and I almost couldn’t recognize her . She moved different too.Jumoke looked straight into my lens emoting like she had done this all her life …. I knew we had found a star.”
How touching! Check her out below!