Our countdown of our top ten Nigerians in Fashion continues with Adeola Ariyo.

She was one of the Nigerian contestants and finalists at Nokia’s Face of Africa in 2005. She was only 19. Now 25 and living in South Africa, she is gracing the runways of accomplished designers. Not only is she a top African model, she’s also an actress. She made her acting debut in 2008 in the movie, DOOMSDAY.

Adeola is such a joy to be around and we at SBQ are more than happy to have her on our countdown.

SBQ: So, tell us a bit about Adeola Ariyo?

AA: Im 25, (yeah even I can’t believe it sometimes x_x). I’m currently studying Psychology at the University of South Africa and I have lived in South Africa for 5 and a half years. I’m a very friendly person, although I’ve been told times without number that I look mean just because of my facial features.  I entered the Face of Africa competition in 2005 and represented Nigeria alongside 2 other girls. We all made it to the top 5!

SBQ: That is amazing. You must be very proud of yourself. When did you decide to start modeling?

AA: I started modelling when I was 13. I got scouted in London by one of the top agencies, Models1. At the time, I didn’t really understand the industry, my dad was more or less my manager. He made sure I made my castings and took me to my jobs and everything. I did shoots for Sugar magazine, and also got the first Marks & Spencer Jewelry campaign. I stopped wen I was 16, moved back to Nigeria to finish high school and then started again at 19 (Face of Africa).

SBQ: Wow, you really have achieved a lot in the last few years, what would you say is your biggest achievement so far?

AA: My greatest achievement so far would have to be the role I got in the International movie, DOOMSDAY. It was a small role but I got to work with Bob Hoskins (He was in Maid in Manhattan, Fraiser, David Copperfield), Adrian Lester, the dark heartthrob from Hustle and the famous sitcom Girlfriends. I think being picked to act alongside these actors was a big deal.

SBQ: What’s your perception of the modeling industry in general?

AA: The modeling industry in general has grown immensely. I mean when did I ever think I’d see a lot more black models on the cover of BIG magazines, such as Vogue. Having said that, there is still a long way to go when it comes to using Black faces more often. Campaigns, magazine editorials, fashion shows, fashion weeks to be precise. I think the industry has to cater for ALL races. It’s also good to see fuller models being used as oppose to the extra skinny models we see on a regularly. I’m a size 0, but a healthy AND natural size 0. There is a difference between being a size 0 and being extremely thin.

SBQ: Living in South Africa, is there a difference in the way models are treated there and the way models are treated in Nigeria?

AA: I don’t think so, I mean a model is a model no matter where they are. We are nothing but a walking hanger, a living mannequin. Our job is to make an outfit look good, a product sell. So when I see models complaining back stage about the hair, or makeup i sometimes want to tell them to snap out of it.

The one thing I have noticed is that some of these models think it’s all about them when in fact its not. Modeling is a job, just like any other job, you leave your personal life out of it and do what’s expected of you.

SBQ: Who is your biggest inspiration?

AA: My biggest inspiration has got to be Oluchi. She has always been my favourite model, and having met and worked with her several times, I have learnt a lot from her. I remember the one fashion week we did together, (Cape Town Fashion week 2005) while we were backstage just before I was about to get on the runway, she told me to stick my chest out more and hold in my tummy, that way I’d look taller (I’m only 5 ft 9″). Ever since then I haven’t walked a different way and I always get booked for shows because of the way I walk despite my height. So I thank her.

SBQ: Where/who do you hope to be in the next ten years?

AA: Hmm. Who knows? One thing I know for sure, I would have a family of my own, a career I absolutely love and as for modeling we’d just have to wait and see! Oh and I pray I age well :-)

We hope you are enjoying our countdown so far; look out for the rest of it! It’s exciting stuff, we promise :).