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GRADUATING BEFORE HITTING THE RUNWAY REMAINS MUM’S BEST ADVICE TO ME

By NBF News
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Since the establishment of the one of Nigeria's glamorous modeling contest five years ago, Nigeria's Next Super Model competition initiated by Mrs. Joan Okorodudu, it is clearly evident that the platform has given many young girls a veritable spring board to a better life.

Ndifreke Idio, young and vivacious model on the stable of ISIS Models is undoubtably one of the beficiaries. Her decision to just tag along in a casting session for models in a fashion show during the commissioning of the TINAPA project in Calabar spurred her interest in modeling career. Today, Ndifreke Idio, an Accountancy graduate from the University of Calabar has grown to become one of the hot models literally burning the runways. She tells her story in this interview with Daily Sun.

Can you give me a sense of how it all began for you?

Without sounding immodest, I would say that my journey into the modeling industry took such a brief period. It all began in Calabar when the business resort, TINAPA was to be commissioned. To cut a long story short, a friend of mine told me about a casting for models. I got there and was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was shortlisted to take part in the fashion show segment.

In fact, there were so many models from South Africa and Lagos. And after that fashion show, I naturally, fell in love with the business of modelling. However, I didn't continue because my mother insisted I had to focus on my studies in the University. Again, while I was in my third year in the University, l got to know about a modelling contest, Nigeria's Next Super Model and I entered for it. Since then, the story of my life changed

How long have you been modelling?
I have been modelling now for about a year and half and I am just starting.

How did you get into your first modeling contest?
It was an encounter with Mrs Joan Okorodudu and which has become a memorable one. After reading about her modelling contest, I went on the internet and got her phone number, called her the next day and told her of my intention to participate. The next week, I landed in her office. And immediately, she saw me, she told me that she was impressed about my physique and that I would be a good model if I focus on it. I obtained the form and entered

What jobs have you done?
That is a long one, but there are few. At least, I have done the French Fashion Week, Daviva Fashion Show, Virgin Atlantic Fashion Show and other shows. I have modelled for House of Jola, Dani Attrache and so many others.

What would you say lured you into this world of fashion and glamour?

I got into modelling because I love it. Also, I have always loved fashion. I really love it when I am on the runway. I love the cameras and the camera loves me. It is a feeling of if you can't buy it, you should, at least, love it.

Most people would always adduce reason that young girls are attracted to modeling because of the glamour and glitz. What do you think?

To be candid, I won't say that they are totally wrong, neither would I say they are right because people work to earn money. I am just lucky that my own kind of job comes with fame and glamour and money too but the truth is that money brings the world to your feet and makes the world go round.

What is your take on doing charity shows?
Yes, I have done some charity fashion shows but it is just my own way of supporting people with what I do. It is a way of helping humanity in my little way

Give me a brief of your parents' reaction to your becoming a model

I am from a very strict and religious family but I grew up with my mother who plays both mother and father roles in my life. She supported my going into modelling for just one reason. The reason is that I must graduate so that if I want to follow that part of modelling, I can it to any level I like. So, she encouraged me. However, she insisted that I had to finish my degree course first to avoid being distracted. I took to her advice and in December 2010, I graduated with a Bsc in Accounting from the University of Calabar.

Has she ever raised any kind of fear for you in this pact you have chosen?

Not really but I think she had her small reservations. It is not as if she does not like what I do or that she has any fear that I might get into trouble, rather, I think her fear was that modelling might derail me from my studies or make me unserious about my education because as a model you travel quite a lot.

And for her, education is the basics to anything in life so she would never sit and watch me lose focus about my studies. She would always say to me, get your degree first and go for whatever your heart leads you. And that I did. I graduated before taking to this sphere of my life

So, how would you say that you got her convinced about the fact that you could combine modeling and schooling?

I have been able to prove to her that modelling won't distract my studies because I took to her advice and I am happy I did. I have been able to convince her that I know what I am doing by remaining focused and have graduated with a degree so there is no fear at all

I'd however like to be very fair here. I think my mother knows me more than I think I know myself. This might sound funny but it is the simple truth. She knows what I can do and what I cannot do and I have been able to convince her that my job as a model can never change my life style because I know who I am and I know what I want and my mother believes in me. I can't forget where I am coming from and my background.

Since you hit the runway, have ever modeled nude?
Not at all, I have never even gone bare on the runway and I don't intend to do that for any reason. Although, I have modeled in swim suits but I don't see that as going bare or nude.

Some people, over the years, though have assumed that models are never-do-wells or some bunch of fish brains. What's your take on this?

I am glad that your questions started with the fact that some people merely assume. However, I do not know about that because modeling is a profession and what you make out of your life or how you live your life later is your personal choice and decision.

It depends largely on the individual in question
But again, from my own point of view, I don't think anyone can change the public perception about models and their lifestyles because there are thousands of models and from different backgrounds and cultures. ,The fact about them, therefore, is that they all have different beliefs on different things and as such, see life differently. I think that trying to change what people think about them and their lifestyles is like trying to change the entire to follow a particular module, which is practically possible.

Have ever thought of going awfully bare on the runway?

I don't think I will ever model nude for any amount of money in the world. But like the saying goes, one 'never says never'

What about negative influence as you climb the sweet but slippery ladder of success in this job like taking drugs or alcohol?

I don't think I can be influenced negatively. The truth is that all these things come the individual's background. From what I know about myself, at this age and level, I strongly doubt if I would take to any negative influence. Again, I do not need to drink or smoke to be able to go on the runway. My flow on the runway comes quite naturally.

In any case, I have never been tempted to drink or do anything that is and will never even consider doing anything like that will put me in bad light. I am very sure I don't need any such thing to do the job. Like I said before, it comes to me natural

Looking back now, can you recall the number of shows you have done?

That, I must say is indeed funny question because just as I can't remember how many shows I have done since I started modelling, so also, I don't know how much I have made but I guess I am comfortable with whatever comes

In your candid opinion, why do you think some models who constantly complain of being owed after shows are treated so?

Sincerely, I think one of the reasons for this is when the model does not belong to any agency, that being a freelance model, and when that happens, there is no one to intercede for them and it results to delay in payment of fees or non- payment at all, in some cases. And you have no one to hold onto

What do you think can be done to help address this anomaly in this sub-sector?

My take on this issue is simple. Models forming an association won't help the situation. The best thing is for every model to do is to belong to an agency. It is the only way that the model doesn't need to meet with the client directly for payment. All she has to do is her job and her agent will send her an invoice for payment to the client and with all things being equal, within a period of 72 hours or even less, they get paid and everyone walks home happy.

What is your take home pay after a show?
Like I said earlier, I can't and don't discuss my fee. It is strictly private, therefore, it is not a subject for publication or public consumption. However, I can't say that I am rich now but I get well paid in accordance with my output on the job and I am very comfortable with it.

What about your contemporaries. Do you know how well they are paid?

Really, I don't know about it because the amount a model is paid for a show depends on the class of the show and the designer in question as well as other factors.

Give me a sense of what you make of the future of the Nigerian modeling industry

The future of modeling profession in Nigeria is improving positively and quite on the upbeat. I am glad to note that people have come to realize that modelling is just like every other profession where you work and get paid for what you do. And this is quite encouraging unlike some years ago, where people saw models as lazy and unserious people. I am very happy for this positive change.

It is not unlikely that as a model, you might be afraid of something, naturally and your changes, as well.

Can you share that with me?
I can't really say that I have any fear in this job because I have carefully and systematically planned out my life as far as career and job is concerned. To start with, I am a graduate of Accounting, so automatically, I have another career and life aside from modelling. Invariably, I have no fear what so ever as to what next to do outside of the runway. I am not sure I have had any serious challenge except maybe, the seemingly difficulty of staying in shape and keeping the shape. I find it difficult sometimes, and a little hard hitting the gym. It is only that, I see as one major challenge because I think I am lazy when it comes to exercising. Apart from that, I don't have any other challenge.

What do you aspire to achieve in this path?
My aspiration as a model in future is to model in famous VICTORIA SECRET RUNWAY.

There have been insinuations from some quarters that some winners on the bill of Nigeria Next Super Model competition were defrauded.

Can you give me a sense of what you make of this allegation?

I am rather surprised to hear because I don't know where that is coming from. For me, personally, she has never defrauded me of any privilege, money or in anything concerning my modelling job. And from my observation and to the best of my knowledge, every diligent and humble winner of Nigeria's Next Super Model contest got their prizes according to the terms and regulations of the contract.