From Grass to Grace

Olajumoke Orisaguna's success


By Rabi Yusuf

Something amazing happened in the life of Olajumoke Orisaguna, a bread hawker who became an overnight fashion celebrity earlier this month in Nigeria. The 27 year old Olajumoke is a village girl from a poor home, now married with two kids. With no local prospects, she was forced to leave her village in the western part of Nigeria to look for employment. She departed from her home town for the city of Lagos, the most populous city in Nigeria, in search of a better life. However, with no academic background, and poor English proficiency, she was unable to get a decent job, and instead settled for employment as a bread hawker. Despite walking from morning till night, under the harsh sunny weather, after a hard day of work work she still earns only $1 to feed her husband and two kids.

On one fateful day, Olajumoke set out for business as usual, not knowing that she would find a lucky break. While hawking bread, she was wandered onto a new street, without realizing that it was home to a photo studio. With bread perched upon her head, she walked straight into the studio attempting to sell her products. It was at this point that Olajumoke met Toyin Sokefun-Bello, known as TY Bello, a prominent Nigerian singer, songwriter, photographer and philanthropist. Olajumoke captured TY Bello’s interest, and the celebrity called on three amazing artists to do Olajumoke’s makeup, style her hair, and create a short documentary.

Olajumoke’s photo-shoot was a success, and shewas featured as the cover model for This Day Style Magazine. Now, she asks the public to put heads and hands together to support her, and help her move forward in her new career.

This story inspired and touched a lot of people, and the story of the bread seller turned model spread rapidly in Nigeria and abroad. Many young girls of this generation do not like to work. Instead, they believe in the easy and fast way to make money to feed their families. Olajumoke’s example demonstrated that hard work and patience can find the most rewarding path. As life is not a bed of roses, if one does not put their best effort into a good job, no one will be willing to help them with their career. However, for those willing to make the extra effort, their dreams may come true like Olajumoke’s.


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