Anambra-born model, actor, and fashion entrepreneur, Okenna Taylor Madu has described his journey into the modeling industry. The young model is making waves in the Nigerian entertainment and fashion industry.
On how his modeling career started, Okenna said: ”I would say modeling chose me because it wasn’t a thing back then a person from my background would envision. Our parents wanted us to succeed via formal education. If you were not a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer, they wouldn’t believe you could become successful.
I was sent on an errand at the age of 17 walking through Okeho Street, Isolo Lagos. When a very light-skinned man named Mr. Oscar stopped and asked me if I was a model and i said no. He encouraged me to be a model and invited me for an audition right there.
I didn’t know what an audition was at the time, but I picked an interest in his personality. I attended the audition and it was nothing like I had ever seen before. There was an enormous number of people who attended this audition. When it was my turn, I did my thing and waited.
So eventually, I was shortlisted for the MTN (shy guy commercial) as it was called at the time. We short the advert at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) back then. I played the role of an extra and my pay check was more money than I can even comprehend. The irony of it is who would have thought that moment at seventeen, I had come full circle. I am presently the face of MTN’S 5g Campaign.”
Okenna stated that Nigerian fashion designer, Lanre Dasilva is his mentor. “My biggest mentor and friend, Mrs. Lanre Dasilva Ajayi once told me that fashion is for the long run, one must have a long-term plan to see success. I have come to realize this is true in business. It has helped me in structuring my fashion business and other businesses I do,” he said.
On his advice to up and coming models, he said: “I would give the same advice my mentor gave me years ago, have a long-term plan for your career and business. What I have come to understand about that advice is that it enables one to move at one’s pace, knowing that patience is a virtue.
It allows one to understand the demographic of one’s business. You learn, unlearn, re-learn. You also learn to trust solely in God always. Just keep at it, it will yield at the end”.
Written By: Blessing Enechojo Abu