The story of Aliu, the accidental model is one of those occurrences that warm the heart.
Do you all remember Olajumoke, the bread seller who caught the expert lens of TY Bello’s camera and suddenly became an internet sensation?
Well, there’s another model in the works.
He’s a scavenger, one who picks up cast off metal to sell at the scrap yard; this one also sleeps under the bridge in Lagos and he is as dark as night!
Welcome Olakanmi Aliu!
I had read about him before I saw his photos.
According to Afolabi Oriyomi, a fashion designer who said he’d been looking for content for his website; he and his photographer, a certain Emmanuel; had agreed to meet with a model at Oshodi for a photo shoot.
As most of these rags to fame are often told, their model was caught in traffic. While they waited, they sighted Aliu and his friends sleeping under the bridge. So, they decided to ask one of the sleeping under-the-bridge boys to pose for them!
They must be mad! This fashion designer and his Emmanuel!
I mean, under the bridge at Oshodi, they dared to go wake up a sleeping thug among other sleeping thugs!
Are they new in Lagos?
Didn’t they know they could be mugged in broad daylight? Their phones and camera ‘borrowed’ off them forcefully? Their shoes and wallets disappearing among the crowd of onlookers who would’ve showed up, following after the beating the under-the bridge boys would joyfully have delivered with maximum pleasure?
None of these happened. Instead, Oriyomi and Emmanuel even got to make a selection from the horde under the bridge because Aliu; after he woke up from his day sleep, wasn’t keen on being a model.
But they convinced him he had just the right face and frame for their project.
They chose right. Aliu is blessed with a rich black skin, the one millennials call melanin popping. His slim frame and height was a jackpot. As the boys continued to prep him for a photo shoot; they were convinced they had made the right choice because Aliu was born to model!
According to Oriyomi, every time the camera turned on him, he struck a professional pose! The clothes he was given to wear and shoes fit him like Cinderella’s. They were made for him.
When posted online, a lot of people gushed over the photos. Aliu’s current lowly position in life was immediately submerged in the borrowed clothes he posed in.
If we had seen him on the glossy covers of magazines, we would have hailed his rugged handsomeness. We would have imagined he spent hours at the barber’s instead of a splash of water on the face…When he feels like, whenever he gets up from sleeping under the bridge; more often than not, his barbing is done by fellow under-the bridge sleepers…Not likely he would spend money on haircut when his stomach is growling.
We would have ascribed his yellowing eyes, as sexy; (after all, Michael Jordan’s eyes are also like that. I can name a few more rich black guys) we would have ascribed all manner of convenient living to this young man.
Aliu is reported to have said that he dropped out of JSS2. Nothing new… but being a model is something new…He doesn’t even understand what it is to be a model, the poses he stuck came naturally to him.
Today, Aliu still lives under the bridge. Fortune hasn’t exactly smiled on him like Olajumoke. Who knows, some fashion photographer abroad may see him and catapult him to real fame beyond his wildest dreams.
Stories like these, stories of people who were at the right place and time are rife. I honestly hope for the sake of this young man, his would also be the same.
God knows we all need a miracle.
From sleeping under the bridge in Lagos to sleeping in penthouses in London. How cool is that?
And if you think it is a far-fetched dream, just google Djimon Hounsou. He used to be homeless in France and was discovered by a fashion photographer.