Memorable Moments of My Career – Damilola Aina, Super ModelNo Case Matched!
Damilola Aina is a super Nigerian model who has been in the industry for over a decade and has, indeed, paid her dues. In this interview, the light-skinned diva opened up on the challenges she encountered at the early stage of her career as well as her plans and projects to give back to the society.
What are some of the modelling jobs that you have done?
From runway to major out-of-home (billboards) adverts, photography and print modelling – like being brand ambassador for Airtel, Coca-Cola contour bottle launch in Nigeria, MTN, Friesland (Three Crowns Milk), Cornerstone Insurance, LG Electronics, Etisalat, Starcomm’s Long On Talk, Orange Drugs, and PZ amongst others.
Let’s talk about some memorable moments in your life and career?
Every day is significant and memorable for me.
You are also an actress. Can you tell us about life as an actress?
The life of an actress in movies is mimicry and make-believe. However, in real life, I’m me and real to the core. I learn something new, add value and keep improving.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered?
Challenges are part of life. You face it and brace up. I can’t say there weren’t moments I felt like throwing in the towel but I held on, knowing that upheavals are part of what makes you.
Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life and career?
My parents are my greatest influence in life. For modelling, I really looked up to Tyra Banks as an influence. We exchanged messages at a time and she got her photograph signed and delivered to me in Nigeria.
Let’s compare when you started doing this and now. What has changed?
A lot has changed. I am more enlightened. I am a better me.
In what ways has modelling changed your lifestyle?
Modelling didn’t change my lifestyle; it gave me exposure, made me re-discover certain attributes in me.
What are some of the changes you would like to see in the sector?
Models should be treated better. When there’s an audition, they should be attended to on time. Some aspiring models may not be able to transport themselves back home so, agencies should please endeavour to make stipends available for models.
What are some of the lessons you have learned?
Life may never give you what you want… Therefore, you must demand from life what you need.
What is your definition of style?
For me, style is from within. It is the you in youthat makes you the you that you are. Style should be effortless, classy; not trashy, but graceful.
What is your assessment of Nigerian designers?
Nigerian designers are taking over the world soon. The impressive improvements are commendable and might move top brands in Milan, US and other places to come to see newly improved Nigerian designers.
What do you treasure most in life?
To have your life is to treasure it. So, I would say I treasure life and I treasure good friendship.
How do you relax?
I like getting a proper relaxing and therapeutic massage. That is how I relax.
What are some of the principles you hold on to?
For every upheaval, there is always success ahead. Wait till you see through!
Who are the people you admire as role models?
I admire Oprah Winfrey, Folorunsho Alakija and Mo Abudu.
If you had to advise young people, what would you tell them?
Be resilient; don’t give up. Believe in yourself. Find yourself and the world will applaud you in the end.
Can you tell us more about Damilola Aina?
She is a simple, lovely heart; a lover of arts, a go-getter. She is a very deep person; resilient. I believe that man didn’t evolve hence, there’s a supreme being watching over us all. I have been a Christian from birth. My core values: compassion, courage and integrity.
What are your educational and family background?
I’m an original daughter of the Sunshine State – Ondo. My grandparents were known for cocoa plantation/farming. We believe that education is better than ignorance. Naturally, you must, at least, be a university degree holder.
Do you have fond memories of your growing up years?
Sure, I do. Many treasured growing up moments that I can’t particular pin down. But very alive in my memory is how I would always be in the fashion parade group. In fact, my teachers would have put my name top on the fashion parade list. Checking the mirrors and getting ready for inter-house sports withshakara instead of sports. My father would laugh at me and wonder if I don’t like to run but gave me a thumbs up whenever I did well in debates.
To me then, debates were fun – for me. I can’t forget a poem I did in French and still fresh in my head; was tagged the French girl poet in primary school.
Do you have any project you are working on?
Yes, I do. I will spill it soonest; when it is about time.
What inspires you?
Everything around me can inspire me. Happenstance can be an inspiration; the sound of horns, traffic in Lagos, sounds from the market, the green in leaves, nature, the aroma of food, fragrance of a perfume. Everything!
How did your modelling career kick off?
First, I started in my hood. I won the Miss High School Contest when I was in secondary school. Then, I won the Miss Festac Pageant.Then, I attended a catwalk casting at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos for Tiffany Amber’s fashion show. Pop! I was selected.
Folake even assigned someone to put me through and perfect my catwalk skills. I’d say since then, I never looked back; from the runway to photography modelling.
What are the challenges you faced in your early days?
Joggling school and castings wasn’t easy at all. In addition, people seldom gave opportunities or listening ears. Once they know that you are new, they just under-estimate you. Though it made me feel bad, it gave me the spunk and die hard attitude to life. I knew I needed a finishing school to help me perfect my girly tendencies and transform me to a proper lady so I started working on me.
Do you have any project you are working on?
Yes, I do; been doing it subtly. It’s about ‘we’ as a brand; especially the female as a brand, giving back, reaching out and helping to actualize and activate your potentials. Let me put you in suspense.
You are seen as a fashion icon. What inspires what you wear to events?
The nature or type of event would determine what to wear; my mood too comes to play. If I feel like a princess, I’d dress as one and if I feel like a queen, then I will look like a queen. Again, I may decide to get to an event with the “I gat this” aura. It’s all in the mix.