“…modelling is basically about advertising. We advertise, promote and display for whatever industry, be it fashion or food, etc. We are visual aids, we are works of art”.
Says Elsa Aririeri, a beautiful Ghana-based Nigerian model who just recently won the crown for the Nigeria Most Beautiful Ghana Top Model as the second runner up for the contest, Nigeria Most Beautiful Ghana. Below is her interview with one of Svelte’s reporters, Victoria Willie.
Victoria: We’ve been seeing the beautiful face of Elsa but we don’t know much about her. Could you please give us a tip onto who she is?
Elsa: Okay. I’m Elsa Aririeri, a 21 year old, studying communications in Wisconsin International University, Accra. I hail from Imo state and I’m the first of five children. I’m an optimistic person and I like learning new things.
Victoria: Cool. For how long have you been into modeling?
Elsa: I’ve been modelling for just a year and three months
Victoria: Really? And you’ve soared this high? I must say your determination is lit.
Elsa: (Lol). Thanks
Victoria: How did you manage to thrive this high amid the stiff competition and even the fact that you are in another man’s land? It is as though you just carried your star to shine in the whole of Ghana .
Elsa: Lol, it’s all about being focused and knowing what you want. It’s actually not been easy and I feel things are slow actually but steady. Thanks to God.
Victoria: Slow? I don’t think things are slow as you say o. I mean, you just won a crown, right there in Ghana just after a year of this journey.
Elsa: Yeah right, but to correct you, I didn’t actually win the crown of the queen of Nigeria Most Beautiful Ghana, I emerged 2nd runner up which is tagged Nigeria Most Beautiful Ghana Top model
Victoria: (Lol) Does it matter? In my mind you have won it already. Whether 2nd runner up or queen of Nigeria Most Beautiful Ghana, all na Queen and you are one.
Elsa: Lmao! Thanks for the compliment
Victoria: (lol) Yea. So tell me about your modeling experience?
Elsa: Okay so, it’s been great.
Victoria: There’s more to the great, don’t you think? We want to hear.
Elsa: I started with training at a modeling agency, then after training for some months, I started working on developing my portfolio and attended castings and all, although I’ve received a lot of no’s but I never got discouraged ’cause I know it’s part of life. I just take corrections and train harder to become a better model.
Victoria: That’s impressive I must admit. Aside winning a crown recently, what are your best moments in this modeling journey?
Elsa: Every moment I’m on the runway.
Victoria: And being on the runway brings so much joy, I guess?
Elsa: Yes, please.
Victoria: For how long have you fancied the thought of modeling before finally venturing into it?
Elsa: I’ve always dreamt of that throughout my childhood.
Victoria: It’s a good thing you chased the dream, Elsa. I mean, if we don’t chase our dreams, no one will for us. You’ve spoken about your best moments. What about the ugly ones? It’s not every day the sun shines without being interrupted by rain, you know.
Elsa: Okay. Being rejected by modeling agencies at the earlier stage, being told no at some castings, and again at the earlier stage, I used to feel intimidated by other more experienced models at fashion shows but that’s past tense ’cause I told myself that if I wasn’t good, I wouldn’t be at that same fashion show with them.
Victoria: Exactly! That’s the spirit. Great people never fail to see the greatness in themselves. That’s good.
Elsa: Thank you.
Victoria: These days, modeling has been misconstrued to be so many things. I’ve heard some people say crazy stuff about modeling, most especially Nigerians. Some say models are sluts, sleep around, and all sorts of maligning stuff. I’m sure you must have heard this before and as you began your journey. How do you handle the negative sentiments affiliated with modeling? And what really is modeling to you?
Elsa: Yes. People have that kind of impression about modeling and I don’t blame them actually ’cause people do a lot of nasty things and tag it as modeling. Modeling is basically about advertising, we advertise, promote and display for whatever industry, be it fashion or food, etc. We are visual aids, we are works of art.
Victoria: Brilliant! That sums it all. “We are visual aids… We are works of art”. That literally made me swoon.
Elsa: Thanks, love.
Victoria: So what motivated you to contest for the Nigeria most beautiful Ghana?
Elsa: Okay. I wanted to move out of my comfort zone ’cause on runway shows it’s usually keeping a fierce look but it’s all smiles in pageantry and yea I’ve always wanted to do pageantry so I decided to start from Nigeria Most Beautiful Ghana.
Victoria: Does that mean you’ve left the runway?
Elsa: No, please. Lol. I’m just being dynamic.
Victoria: Yes, that’s good. Being dynamic could be fun as well as good. Now that you are Nigeria most beautiful Ghana Top model, what are your plans for society and your plans for yourself?
Elsa: The pageants project for this year is on breast cancer awareness so I’ll be working alongside the queen on that. For me, I’ll definitely proceed with my modeling career and strive harder for greater heights.
Victoria: What are your strengths as a model?
Elsa: I’ll say I’m a very collaborative person in the sense that I’m easy to work with, I never make things difficult for my clients and I put in my all to whatever I’m doing.
Victoria: That’s impressive. You know, just as we have strengths, we also have flaws, so what then are your weaknesses in your career?
Elsa: I used to be very shy, it was really difficult to come out of that shell since being a model you should be nothing close to being shy.
Victoria: Oh and now you can boldly say modeling helped you conquer shyness?
Victoria: Inspiring. We know modeling to be a time-consuming job. How do you combine it with your studies?
Elsa: Most shows or jobs happen to be on weekends so I’m good plus I’m a shark, you know (lol). It’s not a problem.
Victoria: With your determination, I’m certain it wouldn’t be much of a problem. What do you think of the Nigerian fashion and modeling industry?
Elsa: I think the Nigerian fashion and modeling industry is doing fine. I mean, it’s growing. Although it hasn’t gotten to certain standards, I think it’s doing fine and with time…
Victoria: Yes. With time, we’ll get there. Right about now, the rate at which good designers are coming into the spotlight with their terrific designs leaves me craving for more clothes than my wardrobe can take. Got any favourite designer?
Elsa: Not exactly.
Victoria: How do you define success in modeling?
Elsa: Attaining the height of a super model.
Victoria: Let’s delve a bit into your personal life. Any lover, fiancee or hubby?
Elsa: (lol) No, I’m single
Victoria: Really? I’m sure tons of guys never hesitate to shoot their shots. How do you cope with them?
Elsa: I politely tell them I’m not interested.
Victoria: And they back off? Just like that?
Elsa: They do. Although, some don’t but life goes on.
Victoria: Is there any reason for your decision to be single for now?
Elsa: Not exactly.
Victoria: It’s just a personal decision?
Victoria: Who do you look up to in your profession?
Elsa: Naomi Campbell.
Victoria: What inspires you about her?
Elsa: A lot, I mean which can I say….she’s an icon, she’s the real definition of a supermodel and her ability to remain relevant for so long.
Victoria: She definitely is. Well, that’s that about that. What lovely memories of the Nigeria most beautiful Ghana do you have to share?
Elsa: Nigerian most beautiful Ghana taught me team work. We were camped during the period of the pageant before the grand finale and living in a house with girls from different walks of life isn’t an easy deal, it was super fun as well. The crowning moment was also fulfilling for me.
Victoria: Okay. Aside modeling what other interests do you have?
Elsa: Acting. I’ve done a couple of extra roles.
Victoria: I really can’t wait to start watching your movies.
Elsa: (lol) Neither can I.
Victoria: I’m pretty sure there are lots of girls looking up to you now. Some may be nursing the desire of venturing into your field of interest amid the stereotypes and challenges. What piece of advice would you give to them?
Elsa: I’ll say they should follow their dreams if they’ve got what it takes and then work hard. Determination is key.