by Yemi Olowu
Light skinned Nellyon Mesik, is a model with a business mind. A Marketing student at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University in Awka, Anambra State. Nellyon has a serious mind. The Delta State born stud is not the type to play with when it comes to business. He speaks about the fashion indutry and modelling in Nigeria.
Tell us how you were discovered?
Hmmm, how was I even discovered? I discoverd that I really loved photography and the modelling activities and I decided to try it out and see how it turns out, guess it turned out great and again I had so many people who looked at me and adviced that I try it.
How long have you had the passion to become a model?
I have had the passion since I was a kid cause I really loved looking at fab editorials and wished I was the one there, though then I really sucked in photography and had only one pose. I kept on learning and I guess it paid off.
“There is so much unprofessionalism in the industry, …the industry needs reforms, people shoud know who fits in and people who don’t should be told so…”
Who are Your inspirations?
I am inspired by so many things and people around me, my mum and my family in general. My mum encourages me a lot, calls me after castings to know how it fared, my family is just too good. Also got a big brother I look up to, he’s been there and done great and good jobs so I also look up to him a lot. He’s a great guy.
Who are the designers you have worked with?
I have worked with a lot. I have worked with Mai Atafo Inspired, Okunoren Twins, Telema Couture, Gozi ‘s U.M1, Kelechi Oduh, Exclamation Couture by Fab, Finafrik, Gavvy Couture and so many I can’t even remember..lol
Modelling as a career?What’s the support from your family like?
About that! I have got the best family anyone can dream of, my family is very liberal and open minded. I’ve got a lot of support from my parents and family, giving me moral and finicial support, it has just been very positive and I thank God for it. It’s actually one of the things that keeps me going, knowing that people who are close to me are loving what am doing. The other day, my mum bumped into a billboard ad I did for Star lager beer, she just called me and told me about it. She was so happy.
Do you wish to pursue other ventures in the fashion business? If yes, what would it be?
Hmmm, don’t really think I have the strength for all that, just wanna model for some time, retire and face a coporate career, actually wanna have a career in branding and advertising, don’t really think I will pursue a career in the fashion industry.
What are the challenges you face as a model?
That would be the fact that people don’t understand that am just like any other normal human being on the street. People feel they know you too well cos they have seen you in one ad or the other or on the runway but apart from that, its so much fun I must confess
What agencies do you belong with?
I am proudly with Kelechi Amadi Obi’s Hues and Shades, should be one of the best in the country.
What jobs have you done so far?
My first job was for FCMB billboard and calender in 2010, then I have done ads for Glo, Star lager beer for their ‘I am Nigeria’ Ad campaign, then I have shot ads for Cowbell Strawberry, Malta Gold but they are not out yet. For editorials, I have done lookbooks for designers like Telema Couture, Liz Gavvy Couture, Finafrik Couture etc, then for the runway, I just finished the Mtn Fashion Week, also did the Mai Atafo’s Dream Wedding Show, Fashion Plus, the Finafrik Unveiling Show and others.
What job has been your best yet?
I don’t even know the one I would say is my best, for the runway shows, I would pick the MTN fashion week cause it was so much fun and all the male designers wanted to use my face for their shows, then for commercial. I would pick the Star ad cos it was everywhere, the FCMB was also great, Ty Bello shot it and she was incredible.
What are you working on right now?
Ok now I’m trying to finish school cause this is my finals, project things. I also want to try out for the Martini Male Model competition, also trying to build my portfolio, got a lot of things on my mind, can’t even remember so many of them.
Who are the photographers you’ve worked with?
I have virtually worked with almost every top photographer in Nigeria. I have worked with Kelechi Amadi Obi, Ty Bello, she shot my FCMB ad, Hakeem Salaam, love his concepts, he always has lot of things coming up, he’s great, Barrett Akpokabayen, I love his use of light, it’s so mad and inspiring. I’ve also worked with Reze Bonna, he’s a great guy too, very friendly, he shot my cowbell ad. Also worked with George Okwong for the Gavvy Couture Shoot and Oni.
Can we know your statistics?
My stat is as follows, Height 6ft 1, Waist is 32,trouser length 42,Chest 38, shirt size 15.
What is the biggest grooming mistake you ever made?
The biggest should be going for a shoot and a show with my hair grown. I feel very insecured with my hair grown, so I like it always shaved and clean, so I guess its now a signature of some sort. And am enjoyin the distinct look
What is the best trick you’ve learnt from a make-up artist?
It should be to maintain my clean and shaved look, they all seem to like it.
Your thoughts on the modelling industry in Nigeria?
I think the industry is growing but a lot of mediocrity involved, every Musa, Yar’adua and Jonathan wants to be a model. You will be amused at the kind of people you see when you go for castings and all that, most of the models are undisciplined, you are not wanted in a particular place maybe cause you didn’t fit the brief of the job and you still wanna lobby to get in. There is so much unprofessionalism in the industry, the agents and the advert agents are not even helping matters, the industry needs reforms, people shoud know who fits in and people who don’t should be told so, no beef but it’s a fact and again the monetary reneumeration should be sparked up cause people see some of your jobs and assume you were paid the whole world and again the time it takes to get paid for your jobs is nothing to write home about.
Runway or Ad campaigns?
I enjoy both but I love photography more cause it affords you the opportunity of becoming so many characters you naturally can’t be.
How often do you work out?
So funny , I’m yet to, I’m so lazy but gonna start soon, though I skip and run once in a while.
Any advice for aspiring models?
My advice for upcoming models is to be wise and be very smart in their dealings with anybody, cause the gullible and desperate ones always fall prey to these agent predators, the industry is a very complicated, so people should understand the nitty gritties involved.