About three weeks ago, 27-year old Olajumoke Orisaguna was a complete unknown on the streets of Lagos, hawking bread.
A loaf of bread is about N100, and even with a full tray such as she carried in her first public embrace of fame, her whole ware for a day may not be more than N3,000, with daily profit between N300-N700.
She had trained as a hair stylist, got married but had to leave her husband and a daughter back home in Ire, Osun state, to “hustle” as it were in Lagos.
The life of a bread seller in Lagos is easily imaginable: exposure to the elements, to sundry abuse, including the possibility of being raped by unruly artisans and bachelors, who will offer to buy bread and something else along with it, if the hawker is willing. T
his was Olajumoke Orisaguna’s reality until she ran into TY Bello and Tinie Tempah and her life changed. Today, she has been enrolled as a model. Her story has appeared in all newspapers, on CNN, Huffington Post, and virtually everywhere online.
Two companies: StanbicIBTC and PayPorte have made her their brand ambassador. The former even awarded her two daughters scholarships up to university level.
Her face has appeared on the cover of magazines. She is now a student at Poise Finishing School, an intern with two beauty salons, and a motivational speaker, even if she reportedly can’t speak English.
When she went to the office of the National Identity Management Commission to get an identity card, NIMC also cashed in on her new found fame to use her to promote the agency:“Olajumoke knows she needs to NIMC. She walked into a NIMC centre yesterday unsolicited. Olajumoke is smart. Be like her.”
This must be the most saccharine endorsement of Olajumoke so far.
To crown it all, a construction company has given her a luxury apartment in Lagos. From hawking bread in Agege, she is now within weeks, the darling of corporate Nigeria, the poster girl for corporate social responsibility, a landlady, and a role model.
She had probably never seen the inside of an aircraft, but a few days ago, she was on a flight to Abuja to give a speech!
Mrs Orisaguna is Nigeria’s Cinderella. Hers is a sudden, unplanned, unexpected, unprepared for grass to grace, rags to riches story, a kind of I–just-dey-waka-my-own-jeje-luck-come-jam-me-tale.
It doesn’t happen everyday. It is the kind of accident that many Nigerians seek: accidental fame and fortune. It is perhaps the magical, miraculous, I-don’t believe-it-but-it-is-true quality of this story that has captured the public imagination.
Olajumoke was hawking her bread innocently in Sabo, when she stumbled upon a photo session by that gifted mother of twins, artist and photographer, TY Bello, working on a series of shots for the international hip hop star, Tinie Tempah.
We have been told that Olajumoke Orisaguna “photobombed” herself into the activity. I guess she just happened to walk by trying to sell bread, and TY Bello who is a spirit in action when she is at work, had a brain wave and took her picture. Enormously creative, T Y Bello thinks on her feet. When she has that her big camera in her hands, she is an agile, inventive artist.
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