Jenevieve Aken is a 22 year old orphan from Nnem Alok Ikom Local Government Area in Cross River State. In 2005 she lost her mother at the age of 16 and her father only years later. Her strong will to make something of her life has been the driving force over the years. She entered for the MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week, MTN Young Model of the Year Award competition geared with only this will to excel, and fortune indeed smiled on her. Jenevieve walked away with the award of the MTN Young Model for 2011, N1 million cash prize, contract with Nigeria’s leading modelling agencies, Beth Africa Modelling Agency and a chance to enter for the Beth Model’s Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012. This 5 feet, 7 inches ebony beauty tells ADENIKE SOTADE how it happened.
Can you please tell us a little about yourself??
My name is Jenevieve Ebele ken. I was born on the 8th of June 1989, in Nnem Alok Ikom local government, Cross River State. I live in Abuja but I’m currently studying photography in Johannesburg, South Africa which I deferred to come back for the Model of the Year competition. I’m from a polygamous home and the last from my mum, but fourth child in the family.
What do you do for a living?
I am a model and a photographer.
How did you hear about the MTN LFDW 2011 show?
I heard about the MTN Fashion and Design Week from a friend of mine, who also happens to be a photographer.
Prior to the MTN LFDW, had you done any runway modelling, or any modelling at all?
Yes, I had done runway.
How would you describe your experience on this show, starting from your auditioning leading to the point when you were declared the winner of the MTN Young Model of the Year?
My experience at the auditioning was different as I did not know what the judges were looking for. Till this very moment that I am talking to you and after I have been awarded the MTN model of the year, I can’t say precisely what they adjudged us on but I do know that I love the runway and I gave the competition my very all. Thank goodness my best was enough on the day it mattered most.
Have you always wanted to model?
Oh Yes! Like I said earlier, I love the runway. I have always wanted to model; as a matter of fact, my dream is not just to model, but to be a supermodel. That is why winning the MTN Model of the Year is so important to me.It’s a step closer to achieving my dream and it has boosted my confidence.
What does the word fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me means an art of physical expression, an outburst of how you feel about yourself, like a certain way of dressing and hair style.
Do you love clothes?
Yes I love clothes, most especially dresses. (Chuckles)
How would you describe your personal style?
I will describe myself as a determined person, fashionable person, elegant life style, outgoing and energetic person.
Aside modelling what else interests you?
Aside modelling some of my other interests are photography and sound production in movie and television production work.
Would you love to pursue modelling as a full time career?
Yes, I would love to pursue modelling as a full time carrier.
How supportive are your parents to your modelling career and what was there reaction to the news that you won the MTN Model of the Year award?
Well I am an orphan; I lost both of my parents. But I really wished they were alive today to see my happy moment.
Locally and internationally who are your role models?
Locally, there are two people that I really admire and can call my role models. They are, Agbani Darego and Oluchi. Internationally, it’s the ever graceful Tyra Banks, who is an accomplished model, a TV presenter, a successful entrepreneur and a philanthropist.
How would you describe the Nigerian fashion industry as it is today?
I would describe the Nigerian fashion industry as it is today as looking up, growing, evolving and gaining better recognition from within the country as well as abroad. Industry practitioners are now better treated as professionals; so whether a stylist, make-up artist, runway set designer, fashion designer, model, photographer, we all are getting the courtesy and respect deserving for our roles in growing the industry. If the tempo is sustained, I believe that in no time the fashion industry will be strong enough to attract investments from foreign countries.
What inspires you?
Almighty God is my number one inspiration; watching fashion TV, studying and seeing what other models around the world are doing.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I see myself walking on that platform where I want to be, working with top designers and photographers. I see myself as a Supermodel owning my own modelling agency, reaching out to mentor and nurturing young girls and boys aspiring to be professional models.