In our December 2009 issue, we interviewed the awesome Emmanuel Ogunjinmi. He was the Face of Nigeria UK that year, and we caught up with him for an interview. Check it out here.
For decades the modeling industry has received criticism; front, back and center. People say models are unserious people who cannot excel anywhere else but on the runway and on the covers of magazine. We at YADA beg to differ. We choose not to be swayed with public opinion because we believe that God gives his children ample opportunity to excel and rep him through whatever means possible. It is in this light that we present to you our very first cover model, Emmanuel Ogunjinmi, Mr. Face of Nigeria UK.
Emmanuel Ogunjinmi a graduate of business studies from the University of Roehampton was born in the UK as the last born child in a family of 6; he was the baby who was born in trying times. He is what you will describe as a rose who grew amongst thorns of life. He has two elder brothers and two elder sisters who have always lovingly called him ‘fine boy’. As the baby of the family, he had it easy growing up in London (New Cross Gate) as he obtained the assurance protection and guidance of his five older siblings. Living in an area with a negative reputation, there were many things that could have hindered his formative years.
Emmanuel was always of a lovely disposition and even as a baby he turned heads, as a young boy, aunties would say ‘ if only I were a small girl again, I would marry this boy’! All would usually laugh at this but take no particular notice.
His self confidence has been built since he was young. He was used to standing in front of people to speak, sing, play the drums and keyboard at church and at external church functions, this he had been doing since age 11 so confidence was already a part of his character and likability apart of his genetic makeup and so he took the plunge and began steps towards his goal of making good use of what the good Lord had blessed him with. Modeling came onto the drawing board as Emmanuel grew and went to college and finding it difficult to get a job he liked, a friend of his said ‘ Emmanuel you should model you know, show the world what Nigeria has produced’
Having had a Godly upbringing and stable family life Emmanuel draws strength from God and his family who have always been his guide and wishes to make them proud of him by taking the name of God and the family all over the world, to show the world that not all black men are useless and un-ambitious. He wishes for all to see that Nigeria is a wonderful place from where so much treasures grow, one of which he is.
ON FACE OF NIGERIA UK
Emmanuel’s dreams and aspiration are to use his gifts and talents to inspire young Nigerian’s and youth from all of Africa to realize their potentials and maximize it even within their land. Within intentions of representing and playing a part in becoming an ambassador for Nigeria Emmanuel entered his first pageant and took it all the way by being pronounced Mr. Face of Nigeria (UK) 2009. Being the son of a Pastor he didn’t think his father would approve, as he was brought up in a typically Nigerian home where a formal education is very paramount. He also had a deep respect for his father and he wondered if his father would approve but in the end, he did approve. The confidence he put in God, contribution to Nigeria and himself as a model he knew well that the outcome of the competition would be in his favor and it was.
When the time came to announce the winner, Emmanuel was in the same position as all the other few final contestants. When his name was finally announced, he “felt like jumping for joy on the runway, however I had to keep my cool and remain professional, but I thank God and very grateful for this opportunity”. It was his first major competition and he was excited he came out a winner. He also saw that this win would be a stepping stone to greater things concerned with the country and the his intentions do the best he can to bring a change and difference to the table.
EXPECTATIONS AS FACE OF NIGERIA UK
To Emmanuel Mr. Face or Nigeria (UK) is such a great title to achieve and the title speaks for itself, in a sense that everywhere he goes he is an ambassador and representative for his country, which is a privileges to represent and be a part of. He also feels that the expectations as Mr. Face of Nigeria is to, in the many ways possible, be a large voice that stands and contributes to the development and change of Nigeria
Emmanuel entered Top Model of Color 2009 and is in the final. He sees the lack of ethnicity within the modeling industry therefore, aspires to take modeling by storm and become a successful and well renowned top male model of color. He recognized that to become a top a model of color would not to only be a personal achievement but will also stand to encourage young people of color to continue to aim high and strive to achieve their goals as he has done.
Sports and music are big part of his passion and with these as well as modeling, he wishes to encourage and empower young youths to grow their talents and not waste away on the streets!
ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
Despite being born in a family of faith Emmanuel’s relationship with God has been testing and trying. Emmanuel’s relationship with God was at first a routine and a so called “Sunday tablet”. As he grew older and the journey of finding himself with Christ, he went through a phase during his secondary school age and actually grasped the power and the essence of building a relationship with Christ Jesus our lord. To confirm this relationship Emmanuel was baptized and decided to get deeper into the work and word of God. From this time hence forth, there has been times were temptation would come but by the grace of God he will overcome, as the word of God says “we should resist the devil and he will flee”, James 4:7
He also has many scriptures that he gains inspiration and encouragement from and finds it difficult to choose just one however, Habakkuk 2:2-3. This is because whatever situation he is in, happy, sad, good or bad and whatever dream and achievement he has, he feels that it is imperative that he holds on to his faith in God as God will grant him his hearts desires. The passage speaks for itself saying “Then the LORD answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. 3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.
WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT
It has been said that knowledge is power and I very much agree with the saying, as a Christian I believe there no amount of books, scientific knowledge and research that can ever compare to the inspiration you get from the word of God. 1 Corinthians 1:27 buttresses this saying “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise”.
I don’t want anyone to get me wrong I most defiantly agree with going to school, college and university and obtaining good qualifications but all is nothing without putting God first as your priority, because through him all other things will made possible for you.
Matthew 6:33 says “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So this is my advice to you and a few scriptures that have grown me and directed me in terms of becoming more knowledgeable towards my careers , only God can direct our path so seek him and you shall obtain knowledge, understanding and wisdom, so go and get it, Proverbs 4:7
With the plans to empower and give a supportive hand to youth and young people, Emmanuel should be visiting Nigeria soon for this purpose as well continuing with his modeling.
Emmanuel loves to play basketball and football in his leisure time as well as to play the keyboard and drums, He also teaches in percussion drums on a one to one in his spare time.
Childhood nickname: ‘Papa T’
Song currently on his playlist: Kirk Franklin- Always
Favorite Book: Bible
Favorite movie: Brown Sugar
The best Christmas gift you received: A remote control car
If you could run away, you will run to: Heaven
Favorite gadget: My Computer
TV show you love: One Tree Hill
What you love most about Nigeria: The food and the music
Bible character you are most like: David