It’s a privilege to have a chat with my name sake and an award winning International Christian Supermodel.
I was introduced to Ibukun Jegede a few years ago by my fiancé and met with him a few days ago looking as sharp, fine and humble as ever. More about that in this interview with the Christian Model.
Ibukun Jegede is a multi-award winning Nigerian UK based Supermodel. He was the Season 3 winner of the United Kingdom Next Top Model of Colour and has been a professional model for more than 9 years. In 2009, He won the the nod for Best Male Model of the Year in the UK at the BEFFTA Awards (Black Entertainment Fashion Film Television and Art Awards) and The East Midland Model Icon of the year in 2011. He’s worked with top designers such as Hugo Boss, Fred Perry, Timberland, Paul Smith to name a few. You can follow Ibukun on Twitter
Enjoy the interview as we talk about Modelling, Faith, Acceptance and current work. Oh, not to forget and being on my train for my upcoming wedding (wink)
Interview with Ibukun Jegede
Mind and Mouth: We’re going to start from the early days. When did it dawn on you that you are a fine boy?
Ibukun Jegede: Fine boy? I think I’m average looking but most people say I am handsome. Well I see the same face in the mirror everyday so it looks normal to me.
Mind and Mouth: I’ll go with what most people say, because you carried yourself well on the biggest stages. So, how did you get started in the modelling world?
Ibukun Jegede: It started when I was 16. I was coming back from a lesson then with friends. I remembered walking at Ojuelegba road in Yaba while a man called Bobby stopped me to introduce me to the modelling world. That’s how it all started before I took it serious.
Mind and Mouth: Whaoo! 16? Tell us about your family background?
Ibukun Jegede: I am from a Christian background. My dad is a Civil Engineer while mum is an entrepreneur. My parents were quite strict and protective at our early age. I’m the first son but second child of 3. I was taught to know the way of Christ and put God in anything I do.
Mind and Mouth: Great. So you are a Christian and an international model. Do you find the Christian community have an issue with that?
Ibukun Jegede: Hmm. Seems u have made some research before contacting me. (Laughs). Well some Christians think modelling is meant for the [secular] world but I disagree. You can be a model and still be a good Christian. Christianity comes from the heart. Christianity is about your personal relationship with God and not just by going to church every day. I’ve seen Christians act holy but their mind is as black as charcoal. Christian community had issues with it when I am in the limelight but I do what pleases me and as long as I am happy with myself and money comes into my bank account, I’m fine. Many people perceive models [are] unreligious but who are they to judge.
Mind and Mouth: Hmmm. About research, well, I did. But also because I know what that means first hand. I was at the first ever Most Beautiful Nigerian Girl in UK pageant in Kensington in 2005 to support a good friend who was 1st runner up at the event. Do you blame people who think that way?
Ibukun Jegede: Oh I was the head judge during the 2008 pageant. Well I do not blame people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and their perception. Few models have abused the industry so I do not blame people.
Mind and Mouth: Let’s leave the people for now, and talk more about your modelling career. You are an international model. How did international part of it happen?
Ibukun Jegede: When I was in London I went for Britain’s Top Model of Colour [Season 3] competition which I eventually won and was the first African who won it in 2008. Since then I got booked for jobs in several countries including Spain, Kenya and USA amongst many. I also won international awards in several countries.
Mind and Mouth: Do you mind ‘humbly’ doing some name dropping of brands you’ve modelled for? lol
Ibukun Jegede: Sure, Timberland, Fred Perry, Paul Smith, Hugo Boss, Aaron Dowie and some upcoming designers.
Mind and Mouth: That’s on the biggest stages. How about fashion shows?
Ibukun Jegede: I have strutted the catwalk in shows like the London Fashion week, Wimbledon Fashion Week, Croydon Fashion Week, Fashion Africa, House of Fraser Fashion Show, Mahogany Fashion Show, London Alternative Fashion Week.
Mind and Mouth: Being a supermodel is a career in itself, surely going to school isn’t much of a priority is it?
Ibukun Jegede: I combined school and modelling together because I intended to do other things alongside the modelling industry. Schooling was my priority as well
Mind and Mouth: So you have a university degree?
Ibukun Jegede: I’ve obtained 2 degrees. A Bsc (Hons) information and Communication Technology, an Msc in Management and Entrepreneurial eBusiness and I’ve currently started a PhD program.
Mind and Mouth: That truly is taking education as a priority.
Mind and Mouth: I have listened to Cameron Russell’s TED talk many times, and she mentioned that modelling is not a career young people can simply aspire to because models are ‘chosen’ and you can’t really work towards it [paraphrased]. Do you agree?
Ibukun Jegede: Some people say models are born but not made. Everyone has their perspectives but I have seen a girl who worked towards being successful. In life you have no limitation. You can achieve whatever u want as long as your mind is in it.
Mind and Mouth: So you are on the path to being a Dr, and already have a Bachelors and Masters’ degree. What are you doing with those? Taking them on the runway?
Ibukun Jegede: (Laughs). Runway? No I can’t. With what I’ve learnt so far during my study and working experience I’ve established a firm called Aniibol Consulting Group. It is a strategic management and information system consulting firm located in Nigeria, the UK and United Arab Emirates.
Mind and Mouth: That’s interesting. What does Aniibol Consulting Group do?
Ibukun Jegede: Management Consultation, Information System Consultation, Staff Training, Website Development and Management, Mobile App Development, Project Management and Brand Management.
Mind and Mouth: How can people reach you and your company?
Ibukun Jegede: For more information visit our website on www.consultaniibol.com or by sending off an email to the administrator at email@example.com
Mind and Mouth: I also know you are active in Church. You served as an usher with my fiancé at God’s Vineyard Ministries. How does a supermodel get to count numbers and carry baskets?
Ibukun Jegede: I work for God and not man. I am always humble in His presence. GOD made me today, so who am I not to carry offering basket and usher people in. I am like a pencil in the hands of my creator. It takes humility to do that.
Mind and Mouth: What were your top 3 challenges in finding your feet in this [modelling] industry?
Ibukun Jegede: Discrimination as a black model, adapting to being in the limelight and also people judge me wrongly sometimes.
Mind and Mouth: How did you overcome them? Or how are you overcoming them?
Ibukun Jegede: By campaigning to see more ethnic minority models in [the] industry. Most of all by ignoring what the people think or say of you.
Mind and Mouth: At Mind and Mouth we believe that ‘your destiny is a function of how well you can use your mind and mouth’. How much impact has your mind and mouth have in your life so far?
Ibukun Jegede: I’m always positive in everything I lay my hands on which have an impact in my life. As for my mouth, I always say good things to myself and prophecy how I want my life to be via prayer.
Mind and Mouth: Before I allow you to say your encouragement words to us, I’m getting married in a few months, and I was wondering what it’ll take to have an international model on my train. Plus will I have to be looking over my shoulder? Lol
Ibukun Jegede: (Laughs) hmmm, it will be an honour to be on your train. (Laughs).
Mind and Mouth: It’ll be an honour to have you on the train.
So, are you married?
Ibukun Jegede: I knew this question was coming up. I’m not married but one day I will invite you to my wedding.
Mind and Mouth: And we will surely attend by God’s grace.
Ibukun Jegede: Amen
Mind and Mouth: It’s been great to have a chat with you Ibukun. Laughed all the way too. Do you have any modelling engagement we should look out for?
Ibukun Jegede: Not at the moment. I’m concentrating more on my company lately.
Mind and Mouth: Ok, Final words. What things are you learning in building a business / career or in achieving a goal that you’ll like to share?
Ibukun Jegede: To be patient because managing people can be a challenge for managers or leaders.
Mind and Mouth: Great having chat with you. Thanks a mil for your time.