In the world of fashion, where style and beauty converge, there exists an array of captivating individuals who effortlessly breathe life into the garments they wear. Fashion models are the living embodiments of artistry, grace, and self-expression.
Behind the glamorous runway shows and captivating photoshoots lies a deeper story waiting to be told—one that delves into the inner world of these remarkable individuals who serve as living canvases for designers’ visions.
In this edition of Nigerian of the Week, we have the privilege of entering the world of Mubarak Bakare, a renowned fashion model whose unique journey has left an indelible mark on the industry. Beyond the captivating photographs as a model and an outstanding record as the tallest model in sub-Saharan Africa, we seek to unravel the layers beneath and discover the inspirations, aspirations, and personal experiences that have shaped his career and other aspects of his life:
Q. When and how did your journey into modeling begin?
A: It all started in 2016 after I contested and won the Mr. and Miss Kwara International pageant, where I was groomed as a model and as a pageant king simultaneously…
Q. What challenges did you face initially in the profession?
A: The Modeling industry is a cut-throat industry, which means a tough industry, where you could get to challenge your looks and abilities if you don’t have exceeding self-esteem.
Aside from that, daring to be different in itself is also challenging, daring to go beyond the norm. When I started off, my parents, especially my dad, didn’t have a clear picture of exactly what I was doing and couldn’t see what I could see; That wasn’t his own dream for me.
Nonetheless, I was able to scale the huddle, by making them see my reasons, for refusing to live a predictable, conventional life and get them on my side. It’s been a long ride; the best is still to come…
Q: In a country where people mostly believe that modeling is for women, how do you feel working in the industry?
A: Let me start by saying that is a misconception, as the modeling industry is now more inclusive than ever before… As such I do not feel any type of weird way.
Q: When did you gain recognition as the tallest model in sub-Saharan Africa and what has it been like?
A: It’s one of the most sensational feelings in the world, to be this tall.
In 2016 when I was 20, I was the same height as the tallest professional model in the world at that time. her name is Evelyn Eve.
The record is now held by ‘Ekatrina Lisina’ who is the tallest professional model in the world and doubles as the person with the longest limb in the world, coincidentally, I am the same height as her, standing at an amazing 6 ft 9 in.
Q. Asides the record for being the tallest model, what other achievements have you got so far?
A: Quite a number, but to mention a few; I have always wanted to be one of the names that comes to mind for impact wherever and whenever Africa is mentioned.
Modeling For me is a clear-cut deployment strategy to position myself for world-class impact. As such I have been able to leverage my unique status as a model to promote the African culture whilst incorporating art tourism and my other social cultural & humanitarian activities.
I am now an entrepreneur and I have recently co-founded a company called Expedition 54 Limited. We promote economic growth in Africa through the integration & connection of businesses, and communities across the world especially those of African descent, developing business ties and relationships between all Africans & the World.
We have a strong focus on the Creative Industry. We got the World Fashion Exhibition Nigeria franchise recently, and this is a unique opportunity for us to make a great impact in the African fashion industry. We shall host designers from a little over 60 countries around the world, showcasing sustainable couture…
Q: What was your experience like growing up as a very tall person?
A: It was bitter-sweet, I will leave it at that …smiles…
Q: Did you try some other kind of profession before venturing into modelling?
I am an entrepreneur; I also have a degree in Accounting.
Q. As a model, what top brands do you look forward to working with?
A: Louis Vuitton, Vogue, and channel from an Afrocentric standpoint…
Q. As the co-founder and CEO of Expedition54 Limited, what does Expedition54 do?
A: Our vision is to become a globally recognized leader in developing meaningful business connections between Africa and other parts of the World.
The vanguard of our endeavors is the development of an Ecosystem that promotes opportunities for interactions and integrations between stakeholders aligned for Africa’s development…
Q: What is it like being an entrepreneurial CEO and a model? How demanding is it working on both sides?
A: In honesty, it is pretty challenging to be an executive and to carry out executive assignments in any firm, coupled with other endeavors. But then Diligence, focus, and perseverance keep one going and waxing strong. You must be crazy enough to look your fears in the face and defile them.
Q: What goals do you hope to have achieved by the end of this year, as a model and with Expedition54?
A: Well amongst other things, I hope we kickstart the pilot of an export-oriented project that we developed in the Fashion Industry; the project is projected to sweep out Billions in profit in the first few years of commencement, and it’s highly viable.
Q: What word of advice would you give to people who would either like to be a model or a CEO someday?
A: Believe! Just believe. Because either you believe you can do it or cannot, you are right either way.
Linkedin: Bakare Mubarak