JENNIFER IS A PLUS-SIZE MODEL WITH THE SWAGGER OF A SUPERSTAR
“Plus-size modelling in Nigeria is still in its embryonic stage. Pioneers including myself are actually pushing the frontiers and changing mindsets towards plus size modelling”- Jennifer Enujiugha
This world is beautiful and interesting because of our differences. Some of us represent the slim and skinny while others are suckers for the big, bold and plus size. The bottom line is beauty is beauty no matter the shade it comes in. Our differences from regions, continents and our desires create the demand for various goods and services. The modelling industry is delivering services to the various brands in need of regular skinny models and plus-size models as well. Who says plus-size modelling is not lucrative? Ashley Graham is a prime example of badass plus-size models in the world. She made lot of money in 2016 and also covers magazines like Sport Illustrated, Maxim and Glamour. Here in Nigeria, we also have a community of various plus-size models and Jennifer Enujiugha Nkemakonam popularly known, as “JENYZEST” is one of them.
Born in Onitsha, Anambra state, this graduate of Crop Production from Abia State University has been walking the runway since her third year in the university after she was picked for a photoshoot. She is not just one of the leading plus-size models in Nigeria, but also a TV presenter, VJ/compere and choreographer. Jenny has worked at various events, Sundown TV as a TV presenter and VJ. She was also a logistics Manager at the popular Reality TV show Dance With Peter that headlined other Nigerian icons like Peter Okoye of P-Square, dancer Kaffy and a host of other brilliant industry minds. She really is the whole package of beauty, brains and curves. In 2015, Jenyzest auditioned and emerged as the top model at the Miss Curvy Nigeria beauty pageant. She was also recently featured as a cameo in one of Nigeria’s popular Gospel artiste’s hit music videos, ‘Miracle Papa’ by Joe Praize. I recently met up with her for an interview.
In details describe your experience as a plus-size model in Nigeria so far?
Plus-size modelling in Nigeria is still in its embryonic stage. Pioneers including myself are actually pushing the frontiers and changing mindsets towards plus size modelling. Plus size women especially models are not well regarded. But that’s quite myopic. The African woman naturally tends toward the plus size -a typical example is the tendency of African women to put on weight after childbirth. Fact is that we have been strongly indoctrinated to believe that being plus size is both unhealthy and unworthy of admiration. Interestingly, westerners are beginning to appreciate plus-size and it is gaining good grounds in the fashion industry. I believe that plus-size modelling is an untapped goldmine in Nigeria. There are more designers, hence more competition for other sizes.
What are issues in your industry that you will like to express?
The issues are clear and direct; plus-size fashion is not perceived by the larger society as lucrative because being of a slim size is considered beautiful and healthy. Being beautiful and healthy are directly proportional to an individual’s lifestyle. I am a dancer – choreographer actually, and my routines involve lots of complicated workouts. I feel fit, I’m able to carry my weight gracefully, so you can see it is a mentality problem.
Is the Nigerian society encouraging for plus-size modeling?
Oh well, I can’t say it is… But I believe it is changing.
What are the gains you have experienced in your industry?
Oh quite a lot. Fighting the status quo has enabled me build a niche and brand. And I have gained a better knowledge of the modeling and fashion industry and see what solutions I can proffer.
– Sesan Adeniji
Culled from Mystreetz Magazine