Modelling or prostitution? It’s societal perception in the Nigerian fashion industry

modelling and prostitution

The model’s perspective

Within the late 90’s and early 2000, up till this moment, the fashion industry in Africa has experienced a surge in its activities. Never like before, setting the Nigeria Fashion Industry as a viewpoint,  there has been a remarkable incursion in the number of youths who are either into fashion or modelling. This has definitely created a lot of job opportunities for models within Nigeria and beyond.

However, there are certain perks that the industry offers which may not be acceptable to the Nigerian values and culture but might be acceptable to individuals in the industry.

The thoughts that run through the mind of an average Nigerian model include:

I have the perfect body and I have to maintain it. 
I need to look gorgeous all the time. 
I need to make a lot of money. 
I need to stay trendy. 
I need to be famous. 
I want to make my parents happy. 
I need to convince my parents that modelling is not prostitution. 
I want to make myself happy. 
I need to get international. 
I want to get my education. 
I have a role model. 

These thoughts shape a potential model into self-confidence or into low self-esteem.  They either take
their stand or do anything to be accepted in the industry. This is where extreme measures come in.

The Nigerian parent’s perspective

The average Nigerian parent finds the fashion industry ridiculous. In most cases, they want their children to get their education and face it squarely, ignoring the fact that the educational sector offers limited disciplines that a child might not be interested in.

Nigerian in

These parents think:

I want the best for my child.
I don’t want my child to wear revealing clothes.
I want my child to get really sound education.
I can’t leave my child to strangers.
I care about the safety of my child
I don’t want my child to get negative influence

Nevertheless, there are some really supportive parents who still encourage the dealings of their children, making sure they don’t make the wrong decisions or get negatively influenced. These categories of parents are mostly found with verdicts that are less centered around cultural or ethical standards, such as:

I want my child to be happy.
My child can be the best at anything.
It is my duty to look out for my child.
I would teach my child to do right


The industry’s perspective

The fashion industry waits for no one. It is a creative movement that sells itself irrespective of anyone’s
thoughts. There are a lot of people in the industry and a lot of opportunities that either motivate the
model or scares them.

The industry is liberal, susceptible, and pays less attention to cultural or ethical standards. The industry thinks;

There are a lot of models.
Stunning models are needed for creative looks.
People keep getting accepted because new creatives pop up everyday.

The social media

The social media is literally the epicentre of judgements and decision making within this industry. This space is populated with a lot of information that influences the thought process and the perspective of all characters involved in ‘decision-making’.

In this space you find verdicts that span around;

The potential model finds the trends here.
The potential model finds role models here.
The potential model feels intimidated here.
The potential model gets inspiration here.
The industry advertises here.
There are almost no boundaries here.
The Nigerian parents inspires their fear for their children here.
The critics are here.
It all grows here.


The perspectives from different factors might not tally but everyone tries to do what they think is best
for them.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you plainly, ‘modelling is not prostitution’. It would, however, be hypocritical not to bring into context how some people go on to extreme measures to make themselves happy.

These measures might have given a wrong impression to the society but everyone does what
they feel is best for them.