This story reminds me of a popular Indian movie titled “like stars on earth”. This past few days, the internet has been buzzing with the news of Olajumoke Orisaguna.
Popular media personality and top-notch photographer TY Bello, shares the life story of a bread seller in the street of Lagos whose life took a dramatic turn in a matter of 3 weeks.
“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) from same village to take care of 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 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 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 about 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. With curly extensions out , revealed a short natural Afro that beautifully hugged her face. @Bimpeonakoya (instagram) 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”