Ty Bello on the cover of a recent album titled ‘Jesus Jesu’. Image courtesy of Ty Bello
LAGOS, NIGERIA- By now everyone knows about Ty Bello. An ace photographer, singer and songwriter, Bello has made a name for herself taking stunning photographs of models, music stars and celebrities. Of late, however, Bello has gained even greater prominence with her discovery of Olajumoke Orisaguna.
The story of Olajumoke is absolutely intriguing. It began several weeks ago. During a photo shoot in Nigeria with Tinie Tempah, a British Nigerian pop star, a bread seller accidently walked onto Ty Bello’s set. With a load of bread resting firmly on her head, Olajumoke blended perfectly with the super star. It was like she was meant to be there. But she was not.
The strange yet exciting twist to the story of Olajumoke began during the photo editing process. When Ty Bello was editing her images, she noticed the bread hawker standing beside Tinie Tempah. Dressed in a flowing red and white gown, a pair of matching leggings and flip-flops, she looked radiant. On her head was a towering load of bread that glowed in the sunset in the distance. Her eyes and smile were bright and beautiful. She had a commanding presence that will make many top models jealous. Ty Bello was mesmerized by Olajumoke’s outstanding qualities. Her natural beauty and modeling skills could not be ignored.
For many established photographers like Ty Bello, Olajumoke’s intrusion would have been considered a nuisance. But, instead of dismissing the image of the woman as a fluke or rude interruption like many others would have, Ty Bello saw a promising model with a great future. It was clear to her that this was a natural talent that must be nurtured to greatness.
Ty Bello’s next step showed the brilliance of this outstanding photographer. On her Instagram page, she launched a search for the mysterious women in her photograph. She asked people to help her locate her. Then, she made a promise: “I’m happy to help her build a portfolio if she’s interested .She’s so beautiful and photographed so well. I’ll find a way to track her down somehow.”
The search took a while but Bello was persistent. When they eventually found the woman, Ty Bello, like many others on the social media, celebrated. That was, however, the beginning of this exciting story.
From the moment Ty Bello saw Olajumoke Orisaguna, it was clear that she was absolutely right to launch the search for her. As promised, Ty Bello began to make concerted effort to fulfill her promise to help Olajumoke establish a modeling career. She called some of her best people together and they went to work. In a matter of hours, the bread seller was transformed. From the bread hawker, she became one of those beautiful women and top models we see in magazines. By the time she sat in front of Ty Bello’s camera, she was ready. The beautiful images of Olajumoke circulating the web are the result of that photo shoot.
From that humble beginning, Olajumoke has become the center of the world. In addition to making the cover of Thisday Style, this mother of two, who speaks no word of English, has become a celebrity. Today, Olajumoke Orisaguna is the ambassador for Payporte and Stanbic IBTC. She has also signed with a modeling agency that will help nurture her career. Like Ty Bello promised, she has helped launched the career of this beautiful woman.
While many have continued to celebrate Olajumoke Orisaguna for her beauty, outstanding modeling skills, transformation, and Cinderella-like story, they have not given enough credence to Ty Bello. This is one reason Artcentron is celebrating Ty Bello. Many have forgotten that the only reason Olajumoke Orisaguna is a notable model today is because Ty Bello recognized something in her. While Olajumoke Orisaguna was at the right place at the right time, it took a photographer with discerning eyes to see that hidden beauty.
Ty Bello epitomizes individuals committed to others well being. Instead of turning away, she leaned in and provided assistance to this mother of two who she had never met before. As a celebrated photographer, she could have over looked Olajumoke’s intrusion and went about her own business. She also could have photoshopped her out of the image or discard the photo. But she did not do any of those things. Instead, she brought Olajumoke to the attention of the world on Instagram, sharing her incredible story with the world.
That Ty Bello saw great future in Olajumoke and was willing to help is not surprising. Bello belongs to this new generation of Nigerians dedicated to helping one another. In her songs, she encourages young Nigerians to break all barriers and be their brother’s keeper. In Future (We are Nigeria), for instance, she inspires young Nigerians to do away with ills of the past and join together as one.
Ty Bello’s propensity to help others grow is at the core of Olajumoke’s story. Even after the photo shoot with Olajumoke Orisaguna, Bello concluded that more had to be done to help this hair stylist from Ire in Osun state further her career. In addition to taking photographs of Olajumoke Orisaguna, Bello also spoke to “a few people about the best way to help move her forward and reunite her with her family. Bello wrote:
We all decided that the makeover would be incomplete if it ended at the studio. Everyone started to reach out to their contacts and through Bimpe we were able to get her a meeting with Ugo the pioneer of Make-me salon. As a result of the buzz she generated from the Thisday cover, our model is now close to starting an internship at Make Me Salon and has been offered an additional internship with Sari Signature, a famous Lebanese owned salon on the Island.”
But this is not a one way story. Everyone involved has benefitted one way or the other from Olajumoke’s story. For Bello the process of helping Olajumoke was inspiring. “Meeting and photographing her has inspired us all and we can’t wait for the good that will come to her from all of this to unfold,” she said on her Instagram page.
While Olajumoke Orisaguna’s story continues to be written, it is important to celebrate Ty Bello for her discerning eyes and outstanding commitment to helping others grow in a country ravaged by poverty. Artcentron salutes her foresightedness and determination to help others grow.