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Covid-19 lockdown affected fashion models like me – Joseph Water


Babalola Otitoju Joseph, fondly called Joseph Water, is a top Nigerian model

The outbreak of COVID-19 and the multiplier effects of the pandemic are what the world will not forget in a hurry for years to come. Businesses and other human endeavours were affected and many are still battling to survive the negative effects.


The world’s fashion industry was not exempted as events and shows were cancelled. During this period, a Nigerian-born model, Babalola Otitoju Joseph, fondly called Joseph Water, said it was tough for him.

Speaking during a recent interview with journalists, the model, whose nickname was formerly Joseph Walter, but has now been changed to Joseph Water, said: “Last year was tough for me because I was booked for some shoots and runways gigs which I couldn’t attend due to the global pandemic. It was not an easy period for fashion models like me who rely on runway gigs and campaign photo shoots in exotic locations for much of their income.

“Fashion events have been curtailed, plus brands have scaled back on their photo shoots. Some brands have even experimented with replacing professional models with influencers and their own employees. Even New York Fashion Week, which I always love to attend every year to get booked and shoot, I couldn’t go due to the pandemic as well. So simply put, I was not getting paid as a model during the lockdown,” said Joseph Water.

Speaking on the highs and lows of his modelling career and how they have impacted his life and career, Joseph Water said: “My experiences have made me to be confident. You’ve got to learn to cope with rejection, because there are rejections from more jobs. If you’re a catwalk model, you’ve got to learn how to walk. You’ve got to learn how to perform in front of a camera, and you’ve got to build your book, your portfolio, and build it to the look that we want you to portray as a model”.

According to him, the circumstance that may likely make him to quit modelling include, “if I am not really making money or getting paid enough as a model. Also not having a good modelling agency that can help me get a paid gig with the top brands such as Versace, Gucci, Fendi, and Burberry. Also sexual harassment or you have to go naked or have sex before getting a paid model job.”


Giving an insight into factors that can make him to reject a modelling contract, Joseph Water said: “I would definitely reject a contract if the agency commission rate is too high. Also, I would reject a contract if they feel racist, for instance a casting call for 200 models and picking 120 white models to 80 models to me feels racist.”

Joseph Water said there is a lot of prospects in modelling that the average Nigerian is not aware of, pointing out that, “exposure to get to meet top models from different countries, being  able to travel all over the world and getting to know different places and culture are some of those prospects people don’t really see in modelling.”

Joseph Water also disclosed that despite being a successful model, he is still studying for a degree.

“It’s not all about modelling; I’m still in school in pursuit of a degree and working on some businesses as well,” added Joseph Water, who has worked with some major brands as a model, including Walkfashionshow, Johncasablanca, Bndhouse, Afrimma, Krave Magazine and Slay Magazine.

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