Jimi Ogunlaja – Model & Fashion Entrepreneur tells us how he started his business and career
Jimi originally from Nigeria has now become a staple in the modeling industry in Cape Town, with more than 13 years experience.
But for Jimi, it hasn’t always been this way. As a young model at 21, he spent several seasons and attended countless castings without ever getting booked.
His brother used to say to him ‘Jimi, everything about you is perfect but the way you walk. I can’t stand it.’
Jimi recalls feeling frustrated and not understand exactly what the problem was and decided to take matters into his own hands. He asked a casting director assistant why he wasn’t chosen to which she responded honestly and said: “Your walk”
Immediately, Jimi reached out to a friend who was active in the modeling agency and for whom he had #WalkingGoals a.k.a he liked the way he walked and showing no shame, no fear and completely humbling himself to his friend. Jimi asked him to teach him.
And to his surprise, the request was met with both seriousness, authenticity, and dedication to teach him.
After hours and hours spent learning and perfecting his walk, Jimi finally re-integrated the Cape Town modeling seen and the rest is history. He was booked gig upon gig, and even earned himself the reputation of ‘most booked model in Cape Town’.
Jimi could’ve stopped going for catwalk auditions, and focussed solely on photo castings, portraits and the likes, but he didn’t. He had a dream, an ambition, a goal and decided to see it through to fruition.
He raised his standards by not accepting less than he was destined for and it paid off.
Today, Jimi is raising the standard even higher, not just for himself but for the modeling industry and aspiring models out there.
He founded the Jimisterio Catwalk Academy, an institution that aims to teach young aspiring models on the fundamentals of modeling. In addition, they also scout talents nationwide and equip them with the basic knowledge required to excel in the world of entertainment and modeling.
For Jimi, one of the biggest challenge’s he has to overcome is his own limitation placed on himself.
He says “If I had listened to people, I wouldn’t have been successful at all…”
For that reason, Jimi doesn’t just teach young models how to be models technically, he mentors them on how to be models in their mind.
Putting an emphasis on personal strength, overcoming rejection, staying positive, keeping busy and simply continuing to move forward or how we like put it #Raising The Standard.
If Jimi and his models are anything to go by, modeling – like any craft, is something that can be learned, improved and perfected. Skill is, of course, important, but breaking the industry has more to do with personal dedication than it has to do with an extraordinary gift or a prized connection.
Here’s to Jimi and here’s to raising the Standards.