Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Ruth Joan Waziri, the last of 5 children and I’m 20 years old. I’m of the Bajju tribe from Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria, and currently studying human Anatomy at Bingham University Karu, Nassarawa State.
I’ve always loved modelling, even as a child, starting from the traditional fashion parades that held in my primary school, in which I always participated, to actually growing up and developing much love for wearing clothes and being able to make those clothes look good because of my physique.
The first time I officially modelled was in Kaduna in 2015, where a friend of mine who is a fashion designer, was graduating from her fashion school and needed someone to walk the runway with some of her pieces. She called me and we made magic that day. From the compliments and everything said to me that day, it really encouraged me. But being that where I stay you hardly get to see modelling jobs. Fast forward to Bingham university where I met Grace Alex, who is a very creative stylist and fashion forward lady who called me her muse and usually takes pictures of me. She was a lecturer in Bingham . From grace Alex I got to meet Wanger Ayu with whom I had my first look book shoot last year. Working with Wanger Ayu opened more doors for me and recognition amongst photographers and designers.
How do you manage between your life on set and reality?
It really isn’t so easy modelling and schooling. Basically I don’t usually get jobs all the time because I am freelance (not under any agency) but there are times where I might get a job and it might be clashing with a lecture of mine or I might be having a test on that day.
So usually I try to be in school during the week and when I have jobs, I try to see how the jobs can be moved to weekends so it can be convenient for me.
Tell us about your favourite work so far.
This is a hard one because I love all the jobs I’ve done and all are favourites of mine. But I’ll pick Wanger Ayu because it was my first. I had so much fun shooting with Somto Maduka, who was the photographer and also Wanger Ayu herself.
They were really patient with me being that it was my first job, the clothes were really lovely, if you know Wanger Ayu then you would know she has a really chic taste. The shoes were pretty and and the setup for the shoot, the yellow colour on the wall, the colours on the pieces, the blonde hair I had on, were lit.
Did you experience any form of discrimination/racism while growing up?
Growing up, sometimes I cried because people called me black and sometimes when even people in your school make jest of you for being really black and having a short hair with bad hairline. Well that was it.
What is or has been your challenge/frustration growing as a model?
My challenge is that I don’t get picked for runway jobs when I go for castings because my hip size is 39/40. That’s my biggest challenge, would love to walk for LFDW and GTBank fashion weekend, and other international fashion weeks.
Secondly, sometimes when designers in Nigeria want to patronize you it’s either they are trying to reduce the price you charge for a shoot to a ridiculous amount because they don’t have money or when you have agreed on a certain amount of clothes and you start shooting and you see like 3 or more pieces come for you to shoot and they start to beg you, and it’s like you agreed on something but don’t want to probably be rude and say you can’t shoot with the clothes and you don’t know what that person may tell some other designer and that’s how you’ve lost another job that you may have gotten because you were trying to stick to the original plan of number of clothes.
Who do you look up to in the modelling industry locally and internationally?
I look up to a lot of people – Mayowa Nicholas , Maria Borges, Amina Estevao, Angela Philips, Duckie Thot, Ajak Deng, Alek Wek, Tyra Banks, Oluchi Orlandi, Ibukun, Nyarach, Naomi Campbell and lots more.
What can you say to aspiring models?
My advice to aspiring models, trust in God and most importantly in yourself. You have to put in work mahn… You have to know people, start making friends with people in the industry that can help you, and on your own part, push yourself, don’t let anyone tell you ‘if you go they won’t pick you’. Even if they don’t pick you, you can meet people there who will help you get the next job. Whenever you hear of a casting or audition or anything, try by all means to go, you don’t know where your big break is.
thanks for taking us through your ongoing journey to a successful career.
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have you experienced discrimination of any form? how did you overcome it. let us know via the comment section below.