Denrele Edun has bravely recounted a story from the time he was struggling to make it as a model. His story is one of resilience and shows most good things don’t come easy.
The media personality told of how he went after designers, begging to model for them. Most of them made fun of him, told him he doesn’t have what it takes. Other models laughed at him, and he was completely ignored.
He had to hop from one bus to another to get to different venues, yet he always met rejection.
According to Denrele, one particular designer looked him up and down and told him, “You can never walk on my runway. U look like a malnourished Somalian refugee.”
When the designer eventually gave him a chance after he waited for 12 hours in his office, he wasn’t paid for the job and a stranded Denrele had to trek “from V/I to Yaba where vigilantes made me frog jump on the express.”
The now sought after model and media personality, who has made it multiple times to the cover of several magazines, wrote:
1999. Shola Creative Studios, SuruLere.
An (Androgynous) Male Model has to be psychologically strong; there’s a lot of rejection!
In the spirit of FashionWeek, allow me dig out my dusty portfolios and throwback my first ever professional modeling shot!
Despite d disgusted looks from passers by, I walked with my defiant confidence to d local bus-stop to board a Molue that’ll take me to another Designer’s showroom.
I had developed a knack for appearing at Fashion Designer showrooms and their houses to present my pictures & my overwhelming personality. All in a bid to convince them to walk in their shows.
Mind you; I was the shortest, skinniest Male Model at that time, but that didn’t deter me. The Hustle was real!
I got to a designer’s house and saw a cluster of top models. They all burst into laughter when I walked past but then, who cared? Sighting a familiar face, I ran up to her and was told fittings had begun. In my usual bravado, i saw the designer & walked up to him.
Moment i introduced myself & my intentions, he stared me down and asked,
“Are you a Refugee?”.
“No Sir, but I’m the model with a unique look who’ll love to walk for u,” I threw back confidently.
He looked me up and down and said, “U can never walk on my runway. U look like a malnourished Somalian refugee”, and with that he faced his tailors & continued giving directives. “I’ll wait in d Showroom Sir, till u’r ready to fit me”, I answered bk & walked in to the reception.
This designer actually hissed & went in. Came out, dismissed all d other models without me noticing and left the building.
Wit all d bravado I could muster, I waited for an agonizing 12 hours. I was scared to go get something to eat cos i didn’t want to miss his entrance.
At bout 11pm, he strolled in wit some other models. They obviously had finished a shoot & he seemed to be in a light mood.
Seein my chance, I walked up to him.
This time, he lost his cool.
But that didnt stop me from walking his show weeks after.
He refused to pay me & not only was I stranded but had to walk from V/I to Yaba wher Vigilantes made me frog jump on the express!
The Designer? We’re friends till date!
Why? Denrele get clean mind!
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