I’m no longer dating Ruggedman---Isio Wanogho
As a television presenter, artist, fashion designer and a model, Isio Wanogho, no doubt, is multi-talented. She speaks with ADA ONYEMA about her career and her relationship with music artiste, Ruggedman.
How did you become an artist? I was born an artist. I never learnt it. Art is the foundation of everything that I have achieved in my life. I am not yet a commercial artist because I don't joke with my art. It is the love of my life. All the money and fame I have achieved are secondary, even my job. But my art is number one.
Do you think painting is a means of livelihood?
Of course, I'm going to switch to commercial painting very soon. It is just that I got carried away with my modelling. Painters make a lot of money. My mentor is a professional artist and he makes quite a lot of money. Just like in any other industry, there are artists that make money, while others don't. The same wide gap exists among artists. It depends on who is collecting your work and the people you are selling your works to. Not all artists make it. But I'm not motivated by money. When it comes to my paintings, I'm motivated by the love I have for it.
How come you are also involved in modelling?
I started modelling in 2002 and that was the first time I stepped out to do anything that was related to entertainment. I always wanted to be a model. As a young woman I used to watch fashion shows on TV and I wanted to be like the models when I grew up. My life has been very funny. I have been many things in my life. So modelling for me was one of those steps that I wanted to conquer and I did it. Being mentally,physically and psychologically prepared is quite different. Although I was mentally prepared for it, there were things that I had to learn when I finally got the industry properly. So I learnt that models were admired in Nigeria and abroad. That boosted my confidence and that was it.
How much were you paid at the time?
The first fashion show that I participated in took place in 2002. That was the St Morritz show. I earned N40.000. And at that time it wasn't bad and today people are still paying N40,000, even less. It is ridiculous I don't know what is happening to the modelling industry.
How was modelling then?
I think I was just lucky as a model. I started modelling with so many people who never really made it that much. It is amazing that people have a lot of negative things to say about the Nigerian modelling industry; they condemn Nigerian models. But the industry has been very kind to me. I make quite a lot of money from modelling. It wasn't as if I was modelling full time. When I was in school, I concentrated on my studies and there was no distraction. When I'm not in school, I am a model.
How were you able to combine your studies with modelling?
It is discipline of the mind. I never got carried away with what I have or who Iam. When I am in school, I'm in school and when I'm on stage, I'm a model. It does not matter where I come from. When I'm at home, as the last child of my famiily, I fall into place.
How do you describe modelling today?
To be honest, I think modelling was more exciting in the past than it is today. Some models eran just N20,000, which is wrong. Anyway, the industry is stagnant now. Other countries have moved forward and we are stuck where we are. I don't know what the problem lies; whether it is the agencies, the designers, or the new generation models, who don't really undersstand that modelling is a career. I would like to see an industry as bouyant as the South African industry where things work properly.
What is happening to your modelling career?
I have grown older and my priorities have changed. I love modelling with all my heart, but I don't do as much modelling as before. I want to move on to something new, but I have not resigned from modelling.
What was the highest sum of money that you were paid as a model?
I can't say that.
But that was then?
Ok, I had a seven figure salary. That was the highest I got then and it fetched me my second car.
What is your reaction to the situation in the Nigerian modelling industry?
I don't know what happened. I have been modelling for a long time and I never had issues with my managers.
Did you experience exploitation in any way as a model?
I have been owed money before, but I have not been exploited in any way. I maintain a good relationship with the people I work with without getting too familiar with them. When you don't pay models well, how on earth do you expect them to look in a certain way? If you gather models from other countries with Nigerian models, you will see the difference and it really worries me.
If you were offered $10 billion, would you model nude?
Why would I model nude? As an artist, nudity is not new to me; so I don't see nudity as anything extraordinary. In the country it doesn't register in my head that I should model nude because we don't have the kind of clients that need that kind of service. We don't have that kind of industry. But the little I know about modelling suggests that any model has a chioce to do it or not. But, as an artist, it doesn't mean anything to me.
What makes your designs stand out from others?
I like making clothes that look as if they were bought. My clothes are very feminine, comfortable and easy to wear. I feel that a woman should be feminine, no matter how masculine you are in your way of life or thinking. You have a right to wear a beautiful dress, walk on a red carpet, and dazzle like a queen. I like that and that is the kind of designs I put on my clothes. I like making business styles that are different from the things that everybody wear.
Are there challenges?
The tailors are the greatest challenge any designer can have and they don't care.
What is the average Nigeria attitude to fashion?
We like fashion, but we are not investing in it. Yet we are the most fashionable people in the world. It is just that we are not producing enough to cater for our fashion hungry people.
How have you been able to cope with being a presenter, model, artist and fashion designer?
You have to be able to compartmentalise. When I was working for the Lagos carnival, I quit my job with Spice so that I could concentrate. You can't carry that kind of baggage or you will just die. All my manpower and clothing line was focused on the Lagos carnival for six months. I went back to my TV show. When I'm on set, I don't like people calling me or telling me any other thing. But you can bombard me after the show. When I am at home and I want to paint, I'm a painter and nothingelse matters. When I am in front of a camera as a model, that's who I am. Once I leave it, it's done.
How do you unwind?
The things I enjoy is not what the regular person at my age would enjoy maybe because I started working at a very young age. When I want to relax, I don't go to a club or noisy place; I just stay at home with my friends, watch movies or go somewhere quiet and have lunch or dinner. What others regard as relaxation is work for me.
How has it like growing up?
Growing up was fun, but my parents didn't indulge me. They gave me everything I needed, not everything I wanted. I learnt to take care of myself at a very young age. I was never indulged as a last child.
Did your parents disapprove of your work as a model?
My mother was worried because everybody has different impressions about modelling. They think it is a very decadent and indecent profession. My parents had to trust in the way they brought me up to be convinced that I would never put them to shame. It was not enough to know it, they had to let me live it and now everybody is happy. They trusted me and reminded me of who I was, where I came from and I never disappointed them.
How have you ben able to manage the glamour that comes along with your job?
I don't see that as anything. I disconnect mysef from things easily. When I see myself on billboards , it does not overwhelm me. In fact, at that stage I have moved on and looking for something else to do. I can't afford to be overwhelmed with the success that I have achieved because the things I want to do are far better than what I 've done so far. Life is too short to be obssessed with yourself. I acknowledge and appreciate them, but it ends there.
When are you going to get married?
I honestly do not know about that. When it happens, it happens. I'm not worried. I am more interested in being happy than being in a relationship. I will not be in a relationship if I'm not happy; I am not afraid of being alone. It is such an amazing gift to share love with someone. When you have that, hold on to it. But if you don't have it, that's okay. You will find it at the right time. I'm not worried. Who knows, I might get married tomorrow.
Does that mean you are single?
I'm not single.
You are not married and you're not single?
Yes. I'm not married and I'm not single
Meaning, you don't expect me to tell you..
Who is your ideal man?
Someone who understands me, who is humble, intelligent, and not lazy. I can't stand a lazy man who will always complain, sit down and do nothing. A good person with a good heart, considerate, and God fearing.
Have you found him?
I have no idea. I'm not going to talk about him.
Why won't you?
I don't want people to know about him. You know how it is now. People know and start following you around with cameras and start saying a lot of things.
Do you hope to walk the aisle with him?
You will kill me with questions. He is a good man and I'm happy.
How is your relationship with Ruggedman. Are you still on?
Am I still dating Micheal? What do you think?
I don't know. Micheal and I have broken our relationship.
So both of you have parted ways
I don't know. Micheal is such a great person, wonderful, and fantastic and he has a good heart.
If he is such a person, why did you break up with him?
I don't know. Things happen when they happen. Nobody knows why we broke up and we just like to keep it that way. We have gone our different ways. No hard feelings And we are still friends.