‘I’M A FREAK ABOUT SKIN, I GO CRAZY IF A SPOT APPEARS ON MY SKIN’
Rosbarbara Oschiter-Abang is an international photo model that is doing Nigeria proud. She hails from Ikom in Cross River state, the second of five children. She started modelling in 1996 during a vacation in France.
Rosbarbara is the combination of her given name and baptismal name-Rose and Barbara, she grew up in Calabar and her family is still there. She was once an undergraduate of Sociology at the University of Calabar but opted to go abroad for modelling. She will always says that the beginning was not easy as there were limited jobs for black models. A move to Italy was even tougher, as Nigerian girls' reputation was a hindrance. So because of this, she lost a few campaign, and the agencies said their clientele would not accept her nationality. ''It was killing me,'' she remembered.
Apart from that, her height of 5'9 was not impressive enough. All these culminated in her specializing as an editorial and photo model. Discrimination came to a peak during the 1998 World Cup when a company wanted to showcase jerseys of various countries; she had to wear Cameroon's as they refused showcasing Nigeria's jersey. "It was that bad,'' she said.
Married for four years to an Italian, Rosbarbara enthused that she is lucky to have a good husband. "My husband is fantastic, once you come closer to Italians, you will love them because they are a lot more like Nigerians," she said.
Rosbarbara said her travels have given her a global cultural orientation that she could not have learnt in a classroom. "I speak English, very good Italian and undiluted French and German. Also, I had the opportunity of traveling to various countries," she said.
Ever humble, Rosbarbara said her biggest campaign might be the smallest for some people. "They include Oil of Olay, Diesel jeans, L'Oreal, Editorial and an interview in New York Times, which I love so mush because it was written that I was from Nigeria," she said.
According to her, beauty is all about uniqueness."Beauty is from the heart, it has to come from inside," she said.
Rosbarbara believes that Nigeria is full of talent and blessed with an array of stars. "The Nigeria fashion industry is wonderful. In fact, the entertainment industry in Nigeria is growing so fast. It is gladdening to see us using our fabrics more," she said.
She advised upcoming models to be smart and to use "their brain first before the body and be ready to work hard". She said she was against models shedding weight excessively because it could lead to anorexia.
Rosbarbara plans to be more visible in Nigeria. She said her clothing line, PPY, had been enjoying huge publicity in Italy and some parts of Europe. She has plans to break into the Nigeria market and do shows at home soon.
As for the home front, she said it was not easy being a wife and an entrepreneur. But that having a good and understanding husband like hers, makes a lot of difference.
"My husband is a marketing manager, so he travels a lot too. It works for both of us. I have been so lucky, though our cultures differ but we can handle it. I have a fantastic partner and I have an understanding family right from the outset".
The international model who says she would have prefered to be an actress, if she wasn't in the modeling world, said she has always being in love with the camera!
''I still see that little girl, cat walking in front of the mirror, wow what a success. I am healthy and with a fantastic partner. What more could I ask for, I am fulfilled and happy".
On her personality, she said she has a strong personality. "I do things because I want to do it. I don't ever regret, though I make lots of mistakes but I forge on. I am a freak about skin. I go crazy. if a tiny spot appears on my skin so I drink water a lot".