On the first of February 2016, TY Bello, a Nigerian artist most popularly known for her 2007 song “Green Land” posted a series of photos on her instagram page. The singer/photographer dragged Tinietempah into the streets of Lagos in an attempt to catch some of the Lagos spirit, which she did. Unknown to TY Bello was a whole different story waiting to be told of a young Nigerian who patrolled the streets of Lagos selling the popular Agege bread to passersby who yearned for the goodness of this food.
Like all great stories, this has a similar beginning.
The beautiful bread seller in the red dress in one of my edits for instance..You know her Abi?.. That one that everyone on the street wants to marry.. She's fine and she knows it. its all over how she walks and I know you've seen her before” TY Bello
During the shoot, TY Bello like every A-List photographer took advantage of her surrounding by taking note of everything happening at that present moment, which was when young Olajumoke Orisaguna made her appearance, one which unknown to her was going to be a career changing and life defining one.
As images of the shoot surfaced last week, it hit every social media platform with people asking questions like “Who is that?” “Was this planned or totally coincidental?” After which it became clear what to do.
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 meant 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” TY Bello
'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 facebook. 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 chiselled 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. Bimpe onakoya also had decided to keep the makeup minimal... She stepped in front of my camera and I almost couldn't recognize he. 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” TY Bello
Like all great stories, this one does come with a handful of hateful comments from... you guessed right..Twitter. Reading this heart-warming story of fate and destiny and all you can think about is how a young woman who has lived over three quarters of her life in Osun State speaks poor English. Who English don epp?