2015 saw the rise and rise of models based and working in Nigeria. This year we saw more magazine editorials, look books and print and media campaigns include models than any year before. We also saw models rise from the horde and distinguish themselves, earning themselves respect and recognition.
We present the our top five models of 2015.
UJU MARSHALL NWOBODOH
Uju Marshall is the David Gandy of Nigerian fashion; a model so universally accepted she is able to work with several brands simultaneously with no conflict of interest.
With six years of experience and the Lagos Fashion and Design Week’s prestigious Model of the Year award for 2013, Uju has worked her way to the apex of Nigerian modelling with humility, professionalism and a face and body that literally can sell anything. Marshall walked a staggering 29 shows at the recently concluded Lagos Fashion and Design Week, opening or closing for several labels including the coveted Maki Oh closing. She has also fronted the Muse Factory’s Resort 2015 collection editorial campaign, The Nuraniya Studios Resort 15 collection and two consecutive collections for Gozel Green. She also walked at the Music Meets Runway’s fashion show’s fifth anniversary and modelled for several editorials for ThisDay Style and StyleMania. Her biggest achievement this year was landing the face of the Union Bank Rebrand campaign, arguably the biggest editorial of the year in Nigeria.
JOANNE NIKKI ANYASI
Known for her distinctive ‘fro, Nick Anyasi has expanded the boundaries for what is acceptable for a Nigerian model. She had a stellar start to 2015, closing the year as the face of Music Meets Runway 2014, chosen from several hundred hopefuls. She then went on work with LFDW 2015 Emerging Designer of the Year Ejiro Amos Tafiri on her Rustic Fairytale collection. She did campaigns for Elan Red alongside musician Solid Star, walked thirteen shows at LFDW 2015 and did editorial work for online retailers Konga.
She closed the year out strong, with an editorial for Today’s Woman magazine with photographer and curator Yagazie Emezi, and a column for lifestyle e-zine Style Vitae.
VICTOR KWEN AKOMAYE
There are few male models as in demand as Victor Akomaye. The model, part of the 2014 model boycott started 2015 strong signing with South African agency 2O Models, walked at nine shows at the Cape Town Fashion Week in South Africa as well as the Lagos Fashion and Design Week. He did editorials for everyone from Taryor Gabriels, Timbrel, Josh Amor and Shirts with CYNIM. He also continues to pursue other channels, as a muse for stylist Tosin Ogundadegbe and menswear designer Emmy Kasbit. 2016 seems a year to watch out for Kwen.
Many might argue that Toyin didn’t work a lot in Nigeria this year so he shouldn’t be on this list. But here’s the thing, Toyin didn’t work a lot in Nigeria in 2015 because he was temporarily relocated to South Africa after signing a representation contract with renowned South African modelling agency Ice Models.
As far as homegrown models go, Toyin Oyeneye has had a stellar year, landing the cover of GQ Style South Africa as a virtual unknown and working on editorials for Gaschette Magazine, fronting campaigns for Adidas SA, Stranger Lagos and Tosin Ogundadegbe of the Style Infidel.
Home for the holidays, Toyin is already back to work, walking for Tzar at Copa Lagos, David Tlale at Music Meets Runway 2015 and fronting a campaign for Elan Red. Is there anything that can stop Toyin?
This list would be incomplete without mentioning Kelvin Godson, who won the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2015 model of the year award, a surprise to many as Kelvin is predominantly a runway model. But his work ethic and impeccable strut has kept in high demand after six years in the industry.
2016 seems the perfect springboard for these models to surprise us, and we cannot wait to see what they do.