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How I adjusted to life in America – Nigerian-born model Joseph Water

By Guardian Nigeria
27 May 2022   |   1:28 am
Babalola Otitoju Joseph, a Nigerian-born model, popularly known as Joseph Water, has revealed how he managed to adapt to life in the United States. Joseph Water, who left Nigeria at the age of 20 to pursue his dream as a model, spoke recently about his experience with racism and how he has ‘forcefully’ adapted to…

Babalola Otitoju Joseph, popularly known as Joseph Water, is a Nigerian-born model based in the United States.

Babalola Otitoju Joseph, a Nigerian-born model, popularly known as Joseph Water, has revealed how he managed to adapt to life in the United States.

Joseph Water, who left Nigeria at the age of 20 to pursue his dream as a model, spoke recently about his experience with racism and how he has ‘forcefully’ adapted to life in the US.

After 246 years of independence, major social problems such as racism and typecasting still tear the US society apart.

And the 28-year-old model lashed at the complicity of white Americans on the scourge.

“When some Americans get to know that I am Nigerian, they profile me as a fraudster. The preconceived notion comes mainly from the many Nigerian emails and romance scams that are sadly prevalent,” Joseph Water said.

Continuing, Joseph Water said: “My big lesson about racism in America borders around how some White people act as if they are oblivious to the existence of racism, and how they are passive regarding conversations that are particular to racial inequality.

“I find it utterly disturbing as they refuse to acknowledge their white privilege and how it has been institutionalized.”

Joseph Water added: “I had to make myself indulge in friendly small talk. I realized that small talk with strangers in America was a perfectly normal thing to do, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone to strike up random conversations with someone on the train or downtown has been a great social practice that has adjusted me to the American culture.

“I’ve also had to be explorative; American people love to find new things and explore — maybe checking out what locals in my area do and go do them myself. The idea of American football seemed strange to me at first, but over time I’ve seen the beauty of the game,” added Joseph Water.

Joseph Water changed his Nigerian name and he explained the circumstances that warranted the decision.

“The reason I changed my social media name from Joseph Walters was that I discovered that someone else has that name with a huge following. And changing it would exponentially increase my chances of being verified as my new name doesn’t have any other user.”

Speaking further, Joseph Water hinted that he is likely to legally change and forego his Nigerian name.

“People here (America) find it difficult to pronounce and spell my name correctly, and that informed my decision to change my name. More so, Joseph Walters (now Water) has represented my brand for six years now.”