Nigerian born model, Babalola Otitoju Joseph, popularly known on the runway as ‘Joseph Walter’ has said that there are several rules in the Nigerian modelling industry that are outdated and pose as huge set backs for growth and success of the industry.
Joseph Walter, who is also a rising international fashion model, explained that the prevailing culture in the modelling industry is overdue for overhaul.
He emphasized the need for more privacy in the changing rooms backstage for models, stating that it is one of the most common neglects in the industry that is now stamped as a norm.
“We have no privacy at all. I don’t understand why I still always have to cover myself when I am trying to change backstage at shows. Everyone can walk in and out of the changing area, and if I ask a photographer or filmmaker to leave because my colleagues and I are changing, they get really angry at me because they feel like I’m attacking them or something.
“They give all kinds of excuses such like, ‘I am not even filming you! I am here for the house’.
“Nobody cares about how we feel, that we just don’t want people around us while we are getting changed,” he said.
On this note added to other reasons, Joseph believe the industry will do better if things are done right.
“If I have the wherewithal to make a far-reaching change to the modelling industry, I will completely overhaul some aspects of it,” said Joseph Walters.
He declared as outmoded the prevailing payment system in the industry.
“Across the board, many models in the industry felt that the payment system in the industry was severely outdated. With no set salaries, many models operate under the guise of “independent contractors” with little or no assurance of timely payment, if at all.”
The system, he inferred, creates room for the blackmailing of models.
“Agencies have threatened or withheld funds if models wanted to leave because of mismanagement. Clients have delayed or refused payments, leaving agencies to foot the bill. In short, the ambiguity of prompt payment seems a contradiction to fashion being a capitalist industry,” he said.
He insisted that instituting clear-cut and accommodating labour agreements could curb mistreatment, abuse, and inconsiderate treatment meted out to models and in the long run, help to modernise the model workplace.
He also noted that transparency and stricter age limits could also prevent manipulative practices.