Spending each day under the hustling and bustling Ikeja-Along bridge in Lagos, Olakunmi Ali’s mind must have been preoccupied with thoughts about his poor condition and what the future holds.
But luck appeared to have smiled on him recently when he met with Afolabi Oriyomi, a Lagos-based fashion designer, in the company of his team including Obianke Emmanuel, the photographer.
On that fateful day, Ali, who hails from Osun state, was sleeping under the bridge unaware of what was about to unfold.
Oriyomi and his team had gone to the location for photoshoot and were awaiting a yet-to-be-revealed model when they spotted Ali and decided to try him out for a session.
“I and the photographer @koko4president met him under Ikeja-Along bridge while we were waiting to shoot another model. The model was stuck in traffic so I suggested we shoot ali instead,” Oriyomi told TheCable Lifestyle.
The experiment proved too convincing for Oriyomi that he concluded Ali “was born for this.”
“It was a natural for the start, his skin tone, face, and built made the outfit look great. We just washed his hands and feet with water and we started shooting,” he added.
Indeed, Ali seemed to have waited for this opportunity for years. His striking pose, body composition, facial outlook among other characteristics are typical of someone who has gone through a modelling masterclass.
In a Twitter thread, the fashion designer and student of Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech) commended Ali’s overall performance during the shoot.
“I had a shoot today at Ikeja, while we were waiting for the model to arrive,we decided to meet with a guy (Ali) who was sleeping under the bridge to model for us. I would like to believe that Ali was born for this. His pose, his body structure and his skin tone was perfect,” he wrote.
“The photographer is @koko4president. We created magic and I can’t wait for you guys to see the images. Koko is flames. Ali is born for this. Look at his face and pose . Everything came easy with him today…”
Ali is born for this🔥🔥. Look at his face and pose . Everything came easy with him today. I made the outfit also 🙏🏾💎 pic.twitter.com/K5QSzqAVio
— AL (@afolabi_lagos) April 1, 2021
As of the time of this report, the post has garnered over 5,000 retweets, 14,000 likes and more than 300 comments.
In a follow-up post, the creative director, however, expressed sadness over Ali’s poor condition. He revealed that he found him sleeping under the same bridge when he visited the location again.
“I have tears in my eyes right now. I am at the same location again today and I just saw Ali sleeping under the bridge,” he added.
I have tears in my eyes right now. I am at the same location again today and I just saw Ali sleeping under the bridge . 😭😭😭😭
— AL (@afolabi_lagos) April 2, 2021Loading...
He also told HowAfrica that Ali is yet to secure an accommodation but expressed optimism that he would find help as a result of the post.
“Yeah no accommodations yet . Hopefully we get help from this post and people see the greatness in him. He has such a warm personality and willing to learn also,” he added.
Ali has continued to snag attention of several Nigerians as words of his poor condition and impressive modelling skills spread on the microblogging platform.
Oriyomi had in one of the posts revealed that Beth Model, a Lagos-based multidimensional modelling agency, called him shortly after his post went viral.
“Beth Model just called,” he wrote.
Beth model just called !!!
— AL (@afolabi_lagos) April 2, 2021
He, however, told HowAfrica that they “are yet to meet with them (the company).
Several Nigerians have taken to Twitter to also express sympathy over Ali’s condition while commending his modelling skills.
Here’s what some Nigerians had to say:
That scowl on his face and natural disinterest is the classic Agbero or street boy's look. He didn't have to practice it. His guys will be over the moon now with happiness. I am sure they are already telling him 'Ali, ma gbagbe awon tie o, konjeun lo ko de fi le awon boys o, Agba
— Olaide A. Omideyi (@OmideyiOlaide) April 2, 2021
No way!! He looks amazing! I hope this marks the start of great things in his life
— Dami Kellz 😈 (@damikellz) April 1, 2021
Trust me, Ali's life changing moment is here.
Na so GOD take dey change person condition.
— The Realist (@YusuffAzeez10) April 2, 2021
My guy bath Ali well well. Rub better ororo cream for him body, school am small. Na jackpot you hit as him manager o! Whatever investment you put into this guy, trust me, you go hammer.
— Uyise Ka-Ayo (@Asiwaju9ja) April 2, 2021
This is pure model. His eyes too is made for this. I hope he gets to keep the clothes. Goood Job
— 🍷Kiitan 👁 (@meisterkitan) April 1, 2021
Take Ali in with a Next Rated vision in the modelling industry, work on his physical hygiene, refine him. That dude right there is pure Gold. Don't loose him
— Nonso🇨🇦 (@processedMan) April 2, 2021