Posted by Jemi Ekunkunbor on
When 19-year-old Doyin Haastrup, left Nigeria to participate at the 2005 Nokia Face of Africa, many Nigerians had great hopes that she will become the next super model from Africa like Oluchi Onweagba who won the first edition in 1998.
When 19-year-old Doyin Haastrup, left Nigeria to participate at the 2005 Nokia Face of Africa, many Nigerians had great hopes that she will become the next super model from Africa like Oluchi Onweagba who won the first edition in 1998. Those who have followed her works would recall how in 2003 and 2004, the willowy model took Mya and Modela to first position at the Nigeria Fashion Show. Although she lost the competition to Botswanaís Kaone Kario, with an impressive height of six feet, Doyin has since pitched her tent in South Africa where she now works with Storm, an international modeling agency based in South Africa. Currently on vacation in Nigeria, the model with a gazel-like movement, strutted into Sheraton Hotel last weekend, venue of the Catwalk Studio award decked in a flowing ankara skirt and top. In company of her uncle, Bayo Haastrup, the make-up artist, and Opeyemi Awoyemi, they made no few heads turn. She confessed that even in South Africa where she is not well known, through her works, she has become a celebrity of some sort.
In this brief chat with her, Doyin took us down memory lane from when she went into camp and adds that she has no regrets not winning the Nokia Face of Africa competition as she did everything humanly possible to make Nigerians proud of her.
WHEN we went for the competition, we were kept in camp for about two weeks. In camp, I learnt a lot about life, what you are supposed to do and what you are not supposed to do. We learnt about faith and that what you do is all up to you. Nobody can force you to do what you donít want to do. Let me just say that I learnt so much during camp.
Take this for example, we were given a test of some sort to test our courage. We were to either snap pictures with a snake, a crocodile or to jump from a cliff. I thought that the crocodile may eat me or the snake may harm me. I had to choose jumping. But the jumping wasnít an easy one. There was risk involved. What I found out was that they were trying to see whether one was strong enough and whether you are a confident person because youíll need all these qualities when you eventually win. So, camp was fun and I learnt so much.
Itís true that a lot of people thought that I was going to win because of my height. I was the tallest amongst the contestants. I have the looks and what it takes but the judges knew what they were looking for. I really canít tell you that there was something that I didnít do right. Everything I did was perfect. Face of Africa is not about speech-making or Miss Nigeria that theyíll be asking people questions on stage. So the question of whether I didnít speak well shouldnít arise. But if thatís what people are saying, I donít care. I did what I was capable of doing. I leave the rest to God. Since I moved to Cape Town, Iíve done so many jobs. I donít know about the winner. She is supposed to be in New York. Right now, she is still in South Africa.
Competition and you
Well, the competition has opened so many doors for me. I now know so many people. For some time, I tried getting signed on by some modeling agencies in South Africa but I couldnít. But through Nokia Face of Africa, Iíve had the opportunity of being with Storm Models. My name is everywhere. Iíve become like a celebrity. Iím happy and Iím working. Since moving to Cape Town, Iíve done so many jobs. Iím well known. Iíve done TV Commercial like J&B Whiskey campaign, I did Hip Hop Magazine, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and before I left, I did Fushin Campaign. I also did a job with Elle Magazine. Iíve done so many jobs. South Africans may not have known me before now, but my name is everywhere right now.
Since coming to live in Cape Town, a lot has changed about me. The way I associate with people, my appearance, everything is different now. People look at me as someone big and which I accept because I worked towards it. I know I did so many shows here like the Nigeria Fashion Show, St Moritz Style Selection etc. They say it is the way you make your bed that you lie on it. So I think my bed has been well made. So, I have to lie on it. Iím reaping what I sowed. Iíve settled in but I still live in the apartment provided by my agency. Life in South Africa is good. Iím well paid and Iím okay. When I go back after my vacation, I plan to get my own place.
There is nothing to fear about security in Cape Town. We sometimes finish shows at 11pm, sometimes 12 midnight and we go home and nothing happens but people tell me that in Johannesburg, even in a parked car, you can be robbed.
One good thing about Cape Town is that they have jobs every month not like Nigeria where you do a show once in three or four months. Here, thereís always something to do, a TV commercial, a campaign, a special magazine or a fashion show. All those things you make money from.
After the Nokia Face of Africa, we couldnít do the Joíburg Fashion week. But we did the Cape Town Fashion week. Somebody like Opeyemi, she did 19 shows in the fashion week while I did 17 shows. It was nice. Some of our designers like Dakova was there. Talking of the designers, I think Nigerian designers are creative, much more than the South African designers. Most of the designs by the South African designers were similar to some of the designs I had seen in Nigeria before going to Cape Town.
In terms of organisation, their shows are better and they keep to time. If they say a show will start at 6p.m, by 6p.m, the show will start whether there are people there or not; nothing like African time. They donít wait for the hall to be full. They start at the exact time. This is something I would like our people to copy.
Their shows are more professionally done. Models donít come out to rehearse several times on stage like we do here. They employ professional models. They donít use upcoming models. Most of the models come from different places - Milan, Paris, Senegal, etc. So, theyíve been practising for long. They donít use people who are just starting because they donít want models who would go on stage and mess up. They deal with professionals and they expect you as a professional model to know what to do on the runway not that someone will start telling you what to do or how to turn. If you ask me, I think I prefer how they organise their shows there but Nigerian designers remain the best.
Itís nice to be home. The weather there has been cold but the environment is very clean. Not withstanding, I still prefer my country. Since coming back, Iíve done one show. This is actually a break for me because back in South Africa, itís been a busy time from one casting to the other and from one client to the other.
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