Nigerian born, Adeola Ariyo started her career in 2005 in the Nokia Face Of Africa competition and has been modelling internationally ever since. Adeola spends a lot of time between London and Cape Town and is finally able to make the time to embark on New York, where she'll be walking the runway at New York Fashion Week this year.
Most recently, her appointment as Brand Ambassador for Elizabeth Arden has catapulted her from “busy working model” to an African personality. Adeola has been able to put her status to work for charity, raising awareness for projects like The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a daily meal for orphaned and vulnerable school children in townships and rural areas of South Africa. She is also a judge for the, currently running, Elizabeth Arden “Make a Visible Difference” Campaign, searching for local organizations making a difference in their respective communities.
The modelling industry seems to be one of the most competitive industries of them all; how do you deal with this type of pressure?
Over the years, I’ve learnt to block out other models… If I went about thinking someone looked like me or was my competition, I wouldn’t have concentrated well enough on what I was aiming for. I realised a long time ago, that it's not every single job a particular model can get, that’s why we’re all different. So if I don’t get a certain job, it’s ok. There's another one just around the corner. So I’ve not really had to deal with this at all. I am Adeola Ariyo and there’s only one of me. I’m unique.
Do you remember your first professional shoot, ever? Tell me more about your experience.
My first professional job ever was for Sugar Magazine in London. I was just 13. I had no clue what I had to do. Like NO CLUE. I just remember looking like a deer in headlights. It was really interesting though because I literally had to learn as I did more shoots.
Which modelling agency did you first sign up under?
I was scouted by an agency in London called Models1. They were my first agency ever at the age of 13. That was 15 years ago.
What did you do with your first pay check?
I actually don’t remember. I think I gave some of it to my dad and went shopping with the rest.
List 5 life lessons modelling taught you?
- To always be strong no matter what
- To be confident in all I do
- I’ve learnt to take rejection very well due to what I do for a living, and I can handle constructive criticism incredibly well too.
- Beauty isn’t all about what’s on the outside but what’s inside as well. Most clients would book a model with an amazing personality.
- You can do whatever it is you put your mind to.
Throughout your career, which would you say was the best shoot you’ve done thus far?
Hands down, my best shoot would have to be my Elizabeth Arden campaign. It was such an amazing day, I felt like I could finally give myself a pat on the back. All my hard work paid off and I was finally shooting for a beauty brand. Something I’ve always wished to do.
What’s your daily skincare routine?
Very easy; I cleanse, tone, treat and moisturise with Elizabeth Arden products. I’m currently using the Visible Difference range and I don’t go to bed without repeating these steps.
When you’re not on set, what are you most likely to be seen doing?
I’m most probably relaxing on my couch, catching up on TV shows I’ve missed. I love reality TV, I find them so entertaining so I’m usually streaming one or the other on my laptop with a huge bowl of popcorn. I absolutely love popcorn.
You are very passionate about giving back; why would you say it is important for public figures to give back to the disadvantaged?
It’s important for everyone to give back in one way or the other and not just public figures. It’s a way of appreciating what we have and I also believe that it’s good to do whatever you can to make the disadvantaged feel loved no matter how small. I believe that when you do good, you get the same in return.
Where do you enjoy shopping?
I’m an online shopper. I love shopping on ASOS, Selfridges, Polyvore… I don’t really like trying clothes on in stores (how ironic) so I just do everything online. Frequent trips to Zara do happen from time to time.
Since being named the first African ambassador for Elizabeth Arden, there sure has been a lot of traveling that came along with the role. Which places have you been to during the past few months and where did you enjoy staying most?
I’ve actually been in and around South Africa mostly. There’s been a lot of work to do here so I haven’t had the chance yet to visit other African countries. I’ve spent a lot of time in Johannesburg and recently stayed at The Peech Hotel. It’s a boutique hotel and the rooms are wonderful.
You are off to New York in a few weeks, besides fashion week, what else are you looking forward to there?
I’m looking forward to experiencing the city as a whole. The different cultures there, the museums and most importantly, I’m looking forward to shopping.
Describe African beauty in one word… BREATHTAKING
Who is your favourite African fashion designer?
I am in love with a Nigerian designer called CLAN. CLAN is young, sophisticated and very minimal. Minimal, yet, you stand out in their clothes.
What are some of your favourite local brands?
Woolworths, Edgars and Zoom.
Pictures courtesy of Danielle Klopperslow
Adeola’s success is due to her commitment in keeping in shape, her great personality and her professionalism on every level! She is always willing to go the extra mile to make a difference in any situation. ZAlebs wishes Adeola all the best as she shows the world why she is definitely one of a kind.