Shalom Obi is a gorgeous fashion model. She has walked the runway with supermodels e.g Millen Magese,Oluchi Onweagba, Ajumah, Agbani Darego and lots more. Shalom has also walked the runway for African designers Tiffany Amber, Jewel by Lisa, Mataano, Anita Quansah, and Tojuh Foyeh (who showcased her collections in the recent New York fashion week). In this short interview, Shalom talks to FAB about what she thinks needs to be corrected in the modelling industry in Nigeria and her hope for the future.

FAB: What’s your everyday schedule like?
SHALOM: Sometimes my life can be very easy like a Sunday morning and most times extremely busy. Fashion has its season. For instance, as of March till August I’ve been really occupied from Music meets Runway to Arise Fashion Week and asides modelling I’m trying to do one charity work or the other plus schooling which I don’t like to talk about.


FAB: What would you say is the highlight of your life so far and does it compare to your overall goals?
SHALOM: I would say my life has been blessed. I started from the scratch and God has blessed me in getting to the top. I started from nothing because I didn’t even have an idea that I was going to be a fashion model. There was a time I wanted to do lots of things but they were not forth coming. I started from ushering and then one day I got tired and I said ‘MBGN here I come!’ Then I did MBGN and came out as top 15, then top 5 and one of the queens. After MBGN, I knew I was done with the highest pageant in Nigeria and wanted to be on the runway. Arise Fashion Week came into place at the right time for me. I worked with designers in and out of the country. Walked the runway with supermodels that I use to hear their names or read about them in Magazines. E.g Oluchi, Agbani Darego, Millen Magese and lots more.


FAB: It’s funny how it usually works, we grow up wanting to be Doctors, Pilots, Lawyers and Engineers, then due to the glory of the media we always end up being ourselves…good or bad…so far what’s your story? Have you always wanted to be a model?
SHALOM: I had that thing for fashion when growing up. I wanted to be a model but not in the real sense because I was always watching fashion shows, how they Catwalk and it just became me. Sometimes I walk on the streets and people say stuffs like ‘this one dey do shakara too much o’. I didn’t know I was going to be a supermodel but I just knew I was going to make it in life despite all the challenges. I wanted to study Law but my mom said ‘hell no’! I thought I was too short to be a model but Kate Moss is only 5’6 and I’m 5’8.

FAB: What kind of challenges do you face as a model?

My no. 1 challenge is my height!

The modelling industry is a very competitive but in Nigeria it’s not that competitive unlike New York and L.A. The challenge so far is just a tip of an ice-berg compared to what I’ll be facing in L.A. The industry here needs more work, so far I can say Beth modelling agency is the best right now. You can’t expect a model to do a fashionable editorial for you and you throw crap in her face.


FAB: Is there one thing you would like to do that you haven’t done that you’ll still like to do?
SHALOM: YAH!!! There are so many things that I still want to do. I’m not just a model because I love the runway or want to be the face of Vogue. I’ll like to use modelling as a platform to bring up other girls because there are so many girls in Nigeria that have the potential to be a supermodel but they don’t have that opportunity By next year I’ll be in all the fashion week in L.A, New York London, Milan, and Tokyo. When I get there, I can then take a break.


FAB: One of the negative aspects of your job that you think everyone should runaway from? Do not say there are none!!!
SHALOM: OMG! There are so many shows I’ve gone for and the shoes were too big or the hair or the make-up or the designer is screaming or when you have break-outs after the show.


FAB: What is the craziest thing you have experienced so far in your job?
SHALOM: Hmmmmm. Craziest thing? The part you go naked and guys see what God has created! Lmao! As a model, you are a walking mannequin. Mannequins go naked all the time so you have to get used to it.


FAB: What’s the fuss about people thinking models are prostitutes? Do you think our culture is model-friendly? Lol
SHALOM: Nigerians are too disciplined and too conservative. If you address me as a prostitute, its either I give you a slap or I re-orientate your mindset about models. Models are not prostitutes and they can never be prostitutes. There are few that don’t know their worth. What a model earns is far better than what a prostitute earn. You can earn as high as $1,000 per hour, not met a prostitute who gets that in an hour.


FAB: What do you do for fun?
SHALOM: It’s either I’m reading inspirational books, swimming, at the beach or watching movies.


FAB: What’s fashion to you?
SHALOM: SIMPLICITY! If you want to colour-block, do it nicely. If you don’t like the way I dress or look, you can hug a transformer.


FAB: Did we forget anything?
SHALOM: Not at all! I’ll just tell people, be who you want to become! You have to make a move not just being yourself. When you stay low, you end low! Thank you!

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