Have you ever thought that miracles no longer existed? Or have you always thought fairytales with happy endings are for movies alone? Well, you are about to read one! Dubbed the modern Cinderella, Olajumoke Orisaguna or Olajumoke Sunday is a Nigerian bread seller turned supermodel who went from the streets to the stars.
Olajumoke Orisaguna: the beginning
Olajumoke Orisaguna’s upbringing was no different from that of an average Nigerian. Born in 1989 in Ire, Osun State, Nigeria, the bread seller turned supermodel couldn’t speak English at all; as she was taught only Yoruba language right from her childhood.
She trained as a hairdresser where she met an artisan named Sunday Orisaguna. The pair married in 2010 and is blessed with two daughters. According to Jumoke, the family couldn’t make ends meet from her sales as a hairdresser and that of her husband’s who was a handyman who installed sliding doors in people’s houses. Put simply, the family struggled to buy food and other basic necessities.
When it was apparent that things weren’t going to change financially for the family, the 27-year old Jumoke decided to relocate from Osun to Lagos in hopes of making ends meet. She quit her hairdressing job; and her sojourn to Lagos; the land of her breakthrough began. Since the family was financially poor, she had to leave her husband and 5-year old daughter behind after a relative invited her to Lagos.
However, she brought her baby along with her. When she arrived in Lagos, she began to work at Sabo Market Bakery; where she worked very hard for fourteen months to support her family. According to her, she would work from 2:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. hawing bread around the streets. She made nothing less than N7000 daily; however, she would earn a pittance of N350 for herself.
Olajumoke the breadseller: her miracle story
As luck would have it, Olajumoke was hawking bread on a day which she thought nothing extraordinary of; when she was caught in the background of a picture taken by the photographer TY Bello during a photo shoot for British rapper, Tinie Tempah. While later reviewing and editing the pictures, Bello realised the modelling potential of this young lady and photo-bombed her shot.
As a person with an extraordinary knack for discovering talents, TY Bello knew she had to meet her. At that point, the story began to spin like the Disney-Animated classic “Cinderella”. Interestingly, Tinie Tempah looked at Jumoke’s photos too; and agreed with TY Bello that Jumoke had the potential to become a top model. TY Bello posted the pictures on Instagram, located Orisaguna, and offered to launch her career.
She organized a photo shoot for Orisaguna and the pictures were so stunning that they appeared on the cover of the Style Magazine. Bello also planned to create a short documentary about her which was created by Ema Edosio, a professional Nigerian videographer.
While Jumoke had no fairy godmother to make a carriage out of a pumpkin, or transform her into the most beautiful lady fit for the prince by adorning her with the most beautiful ball gown and glass slippers; TY Bello served as a godmother for Jumoke. A contract with Few Models made Jumoke’s face a popular sight on billboards, social media, newspapers, and other media platforms throughout the country.
In Jumoke’s words, “I never expected this would ever happen to me. My friends have told me they saw me on TV, and they are really happy. My parents cannot believe their own child can become such a success. They are all so happy”, she said.
TY Bello further explained about the beauty of the story:
“Everybody connected with this story because everybody has dreams. This is a very tough time in my country…Everyone is looking for that magic break…I think this is definitely divine because the way people have connected with it is just phenomenal. It’s a phenomenal story”.
As a result of Orisaguna’s big break, her husband and other daughter were reunited with her and her other baby. The whole family was reunited.
After Jumoke became a star model, Bello had some memories about her first shooting with Jumoke to share.
“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…” “She stepped in front of my camera and I almost couldn’t recognize her. She moved differently too. Jumoke looked straight into my lens posing like she’s done this all her life…I knew we had found a star”, she said.
According to a top media house, CNN; Jumoke Orisaguna was offered a joint scholarship initiated by Sujimoto Group and Poise Nigeria despite not speaking English. In Nigeria, Jumoke Orisaguna was praised in the media as a role model She was also given an apartment (paid in advance for five years) and received fully covered tuition for her children to study at a school by a bank. She was to study at the prestigious Poise Nigeria Etiquette School (The first and most prestigious finishing school in Nigeria) and learnt more about Etiquette, Soft Skills, Social Graces, and Communication for a year. This was initiated by Sujimoto Group to ensure that Olajumoke was fully equipped for life after the buzz had died down.
The famous Olajumoke now boasts of a following of over 243k on Instagram. Her hashtags (#celebratingOlajumoke and #Olajumokebreadseller) on Twitter and Facebook had and stills garner support for her. Asides her endorsement contract with companies like Payporte and Few Models, Olajumoke is an intern at Make Me Salon and Sari Signature Salon in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Not one to forget her humble beginnings in Lagos after achieving fame, Olajumoke visited her former place of work and doled out cash gifts (in sums of N10,000 each) to her former co-workers.
While people might be cynical about magic, magic truly exists. Olajumoke’s big break happened in Lagos and took her from the streets to stardom. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when churches, mosques and individuals called on God during prayers to transform their lives the way he did Olajumoke’s.