I am committed to raising the next generation of super models in Africa – Onyemaechi
Anani model management is the leading model scouting company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Founded by Queen Onyemaechi in 2017.
At Anani, the primary focus is providing personalized management and longevity in career development. We strongly believe in innovative collaboration. Anani is more than just an agency but home to many, our vision remains changing the narrative of what modelling is in Africa and our strength lies in discovering, impacting and empowering lives. In this interview with IFEOMA OKEKE, Queen Onyemaechi speaks on modelling as a career and how Nigeria can leverage the profession to contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economy. Excerpts:
What is Anani Model Management about and what does it seek to achieve/address?
Anani model management is the leading scouting and management company based in Lagos, Nigeria. Anani started on a small scale maintaining and prioritizing quality roaster over quantity. And with fresh perspective to strategic placement, partnership and management Anani is committed to discovering exceptional talents and raising the next generation of super models in Africa.
What inspired you to set up Anani Model Management and when did you launch the organisation?
Modelling has always been my passion. I wanted to do something different and still be in the field coupled with being able to be what I needed while modelling.
What success stories have you recorded from Anani Model Management?
Among the numerous success stories recorded, getting placements, travel visas and work for each girl is a success at Anani. Our Talents have worked with top brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, Prada, YSL and featured in top magazines like the Newyork times, Harpers bazaar, Elle, Numero, British, American and Italian Vogue.
Many African parents are not open to conversations when it concerns their children going into modelling. Did you face any opposition or hindrance when you started?
Oh yea! Africans have a different perspective and are a bit oblivious towards the career and what it really entails. I faced so many challenges when I started and I’m still facing. I don’t feel any type of way because most of the time the parents are looking out for their children and that’s ok.
If you did, how were you able to address it?
I was able to address this challenge by creating awareness, impacting and empowering lives.
What advice would you give parents who clearly oppose their children from going into this line of career, despite the child’s passion for it?
The world is evolving and parents need to do their research before having reservations about a career path and I also see it as my responsibility as a scout to keep educating them. As typical Africans with reservations about unconventional careers, my family wasn’t in support as well but my passion kept me going and then I won a modelling competition that changed my life. Today I run Anani, managing over 15 models working internationally and providing for themselves and their family. Who knows where these girls would have been if they were not given this opportunity.
Would you say ‘modelling’ as a career pays the bills for an average Nigerian?
Yes, Modelling as a career pays the bills for an average Nigerian working internationally. It is practically not feasible to say it does the same for models working in Nigeria.
What are some lessons Nigeria needs to learn from other advanced countries doing well in modelling?
Modelling and the fashion industry as a whole contribute significantly to the economy. Nigeria has enormous talents, and it will be of great benefit if the government can support the growing industry.
How do you think the government can leverage on modelling to contribute significantly to the country’s internally generated revenues?
By supporting and recognizing modelling as an unconventional career. This will help in social economic advancement by creating job opportunities for individuals.
What advice would you give to aspiring models that do not have a clear direction on how to start?
The industry always evolves. So knowing yourself is crucial to understanding where you belong and don’t forget you will also get lots of nos but never let it deteriorate your self-worth.