I went into modelling because I thought there was a lot of money in it - Cynthia Omorodion, winner, Next Super Model 2008
When she was dropped at the second audition of the Next Super Model in 2007, Cynthia Omorodion felt bad but didn't know God has bigger plans for her. After much persuasion from her ex-manager, she decided to enter for the competition again in 2008 with reluctance. Despite her signature low cut, she was later crowned the Next Super Model in September that year making her feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
Although her family never saw anything good about modeling, their perception was changed when she won the competition. In a recent chat with us two years after she was crowned, Cynthia confessed that with the crown came uncertainty of what the future holds for her.
This is due to her low self esteem which she has since conquered with her staunch belief in God's ability to help her through every situation. As a young lady who suddenly hit the limelight, she is not desperate about marriage even though men are pestering her for relationships. She also doesn't believe in double-dating as most girls do these days. Excerpts:
What does your experience at the Next Super Model 2008 mean to you?
It was an experience of a lifetime, the kind of experience one goes through in life and have no option but to come out thick. It is definitely an experience I would never wish to go through ever again in life, but despite all, I'm still grateful to God for such experiences because whether we like it or not, experiences are parts of our lives good or bad. It shapens us and prepare us for greater challenges. With this experience, I am wiser and matured now. I know a lot of things I never knew before and indeed I would say again I am most grateful to God for all.
What went through your mind when you were crowned the next super model?
I was like oh my God is this truly me? Me a winner of a car and all that prizes? Me the best? I was so excited, it felt like the best thing in the world but hours later that actually changed because I just kept on wondering what the next steps would be, what does this crown bring?
Why did you think you won the contest and was singled out amidst many?
I think I won because I was just entirely myself and not trying to be like anyone else. Again, my carriage won me the crown. At the back stage, one of the designers Thula Sindi that came from South Africa to showcase his designs saw the tension in me and he said to me, you have all it takes to win, when you get on the stage don't wear a fierce look, keep it simple, just be yourself, don't try too hard. I was so inspired and went on and did my thing, he really encouraged me throughout the competition. I am grateful to him and all my friends that encouraged me, you guys were a huge source of strength to me.
How did your foray into pageantry begin?
In 2007, I read about the competition in a softsell magazine and i was like oh my God this sounds too good to be true. This should be the first good thing coming to Nigeria, and I went to the internet and checked the website. I applied for the competition, was picked at the first audition, but was dropped at the second audition and I felt really bad.
In 2008, my ex -manager told me about it and said he would want me to participate. I was a bit reluctant because I didnt want to try and be dropped again. Despite this fear, I went ahead, got the form and did the audition. I was picked and camped for one month and then I won the competiton on the 20th of September. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world, but ofcourse all that has changed now.
There were hurdles on your way no doubt, how did you cross them to get to the top?
Of course there were lots of hurdles, meeting girls from totally different back ground wasnt so easy for a very shy me but then I just prayed and gave in my best. My ex-manager always told me, I wasn't there for making friends, I was there to be the best that I can be. He was also very supportive and I thank him too for helping me achieve that feat.
Could you share your secrets of success with us?
My secret of succes I must tell you is God. I dont joke with God. I am not such a righteous being, but I trust solely in God in all my dealings and he has never failed me. I always tell myself that I am the best in whatever I do. I don't let anyone put me down verbally or in any way whatsoever. With this consciousness, I had since been able to overcome my low self esteem and I thank God now I just get better and better each passing day.
Did your parents bless your journey into modeling?
My dad was a very strict lawyer and never spared his rod on me, my mum wasnt excited about it either but I had to make her understand that this was what I wanted to do. My family never saw anything good in modelling, all they say was just a way for young girls to go around naked. It was a wrong perception and I had to make them understand and give them a clearer understanding of what modelling entails.
Everyone right now is indeed supportive of me and wish me well. My dad passed away in 2007 and I started modelling in 2006. I am sure by now he would be very proud of me. God bless his soul because on my own part, I havent soiled my family name in any way, every one is happy for me and supports me. My mum was very excited when I won although she didn't like the idea at first.
What other activities are you interested in as a young lady?
I love to write, I could just write on and on. I would love to study Creative Arts or Fine Arts in the future as a hobby because I really love Arts. It is a way of expressing myself. I also love to sing as a hobby too but definitely with an emphatic no for a profession. I love dancing too but I am not such a good dancer.
What do you love most about being a model?
I just love the glamour that accompanies modelling,the attention and maybe the fame,not particularly though.
Two years after winning the contest, what have you achieved so far?
I have a lot on my plate, I wouldnt say I have achieved one quarter though. I believe in time, I would say two years after winning the crown, I have achieved quite a lot, but definitely not there yet.
Why did you go into modeling?
The truth is that I went into modelling because I thought there was a lot of money in modelling. I stumbled into modeling because I had always wanted to be a lawyer just like my dad. With encouragements from my friends and course mates in school, I was mentally and physically prepared for modeling, but then on the long run, I realized there wasn't money in modeling especially in Nigeria like I thought. In the long run, I realized I had also built a very strong passion for modelling over the years, because it is that passion that has been sustaining me all the while, otherwise, I would have since forsaken modeling. I fell in love with modelling in a nut shell.
If you were not a model, what would you be caught doing?
I would have been caught in the law court defending my clients, objecting to my learned colleagues in the law courts.
There were some scandals that rocked the organizer of the competition, Mrs. Joan Okorodudu when one of the models accused her of scam, what is your view on what happened?
My view is that the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to speak when he or she deems fit, it doesnt have to be pleasant to other parties involved. The law also has a remedy for all, the model in question felt the only way she could exercise her fundamental human right was going public about it and truth be told, I am indifferent about it.
Can you really share with us what really transpired between the model and Mrs. Okorodudu?
I wouldn't want to go into details because it is now in the past.
Did you receive all your entitlements as winner that year?
No,I didnt receive any such thing as entitlements for being the winner, but its all well and good. I have left all to God. I had two options, either sue the parties involved or leave all to God and I had since gone with the latter and that of course has been one very wise decison I had ever made.
What is your unique selling point as a model?
My unique selling point is my face and of course I have a good body. Above all, it is God who shows mercy. I don't have the most striking face as a model or the best body, but I stand out anytime because of His grace over my life.
What other plans do you have in the offing?
I have a whole on my plate and I pray each day for Gods grace to achieve them.
How do you keep in shape?
I jog and eat lots of fruits. I eat everything but in reasonable proportions.
What is your take on the Nigerian modeling industry?
Nigeria modelling industry still have a long way to go, the models are not respected in this part of the world, which is highly unfair. Nigerian models can be GLO ambassadors too, who says we can't endorse big contracts? Models have bills to pick up too, so I beg Nigerian designers and other establishment that require the services of models to please stop paying models peanuts.
These bills don't come in peanuts, the NMAA and the Future Awards is like the only awards that recognize models, and that is far from the kind of recognition models need to boost them. Advertisement agencies too are not left out, the clients don't pay the models well and sometimes they pay the models one quarter of their fee. It is high time someone speaks up.
There are good agencies and designers too, I am not denying that fact, but I think this industry will grow very well if there is love because you won't want to cheat someone you love like a brother or a sister. We need the industry to be sanitized and the bad eggs flushed out. We need an association to check the rising menace in the modeling industry in Nigeria.
Do you have any fond memories of your childhood you want to share with us?
There was one day I was sucking my breast, I know it is weird. I was around 7or 8 years old, and suddenly I said to my cousins, I am sucking my breast so what would my kids suck? I felt so bad,and my cousins told me, I would have enough milk to breast feed my kids with when I grow up. With that assurance, I was happy again. I displayed such innocence, climbed trees with my cousins, go to the river to fetch water and wash clothes,there was lots of fun while growing up.
Did you have a privileged upbringing?
I would say yes. I went to good schools, wore good clothes and ate good food. My parents were quite on the average side.
Who had the greatest influence on you while growing up?
My father of blessed memory. He was my role model, I wanted to be just like him. I marveled at his level of intelligence even as a child.
What are the unpleasant memories of growing up?
That was when my dad beats me virtually everyday for any little mistake I make. My dad just didnt want me to grow like a child that I was. He felt the canes would straighten my head, and then I grew up way too fast. I learnt a lot of things at a tender age. I also learnt to stand on my own so early in life.
What are your fears as a person?
I am human and wouldnt say I don't have one or two fears, but I always remind myself of this song when fear creeps into my heart; oh what gains we often forfeit, oh what needless pains we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. Prayer is the key, I have fears of course but I just take it to God in prayers and leave it there at his feet.
Do you have any regrets about your life?
Life for me is learning and growing, I have no regrets whatsoever about my life.
What else do you wish to achieve in life?
I want to become successful in whatever field I find myself, to be the best in whatever I do. I also wish to write a book, an inspiring book someday, a book that will match up to International repute and cut across every race, religion and background. A book that will pass an inspiring message across to the readers.
Who are your role models?
I don't have role models perse, but I have many people that inspire me. The likes of Oluchi Orlandi, Alec Wek, Chanel Imam, Liya Kebede, Opray Winfrey, Barrack Obama and Naomi Campbell truly inspire me. These people make me realize it is possible not just to dream but also acheive them.
What is the greatest lesson life has taught you?
The greatest lesson life has taught me is to love, just love no matter the situation. God is love, and love makes a whole lot of difference in any tribe, race, nationality, just name it. It is a universal language that everybody understands ,even animals understand it. Love is the greatest thing. I pray each day for God to grant me more than enough love in my heart.
How do you handle overtures from men?
I talk to them politely, I have a lot of male friends but our relationships are clearly defined. I make them understand I can't date every man that wants to date me. I am a one man one girl person and don't believe in double dating.
Are you in a relationship now?
I wouldn't want to talk about that now.
Are you seriously considering marriage?
If it comes, all well and good. I am not one bit desperate about it. Every woman's dream is to have a good man to stand by her side as her husband, brother, friend, lover, brother etc,and I am no exception to that group of women.
What qualities must a man possess to make you his wife?
He should make me laugh and happy when I am around him. He should cut out all the drama, be a happy person, have a large heart because other people exist, it is not just him. He must also have the fear of God, be understanding, love me like am the only girl in the world and all other things can be fixed or worked on.
Have you ever fallen in love?
Yes, I have.
What was it like?
It is the most beautiful thing ever.
Tell us about yourself and how you are handling fame after Next Super Model in 2008.
I am from Urhokuosa village in Uhunmwonde Local government area of Edo state. I studied law diploma at University of Benin. After the Next Super Model, I have been able to handle the fame well. It has been all well and good, life has been good,and I give thanks to God for everything.