By Ayodele Morocco-Clarke (Scotland)
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Bola strutted down the street to where her car was parked, basking in all the attention and adulation being showered on her by people walking by. She noticed some men sitting on the low fence at the end of her street, admiring her.
Surely, life couldn’t get any better, she thought. She was currently the hottest model on the planet. Her image was plastered on billboards all over the country in one of the biggest advertising campaigns ever seen in Europe, America and indeed the world.
Who would have thought that a poor little girl from Lagos State in Nigeria could achieve so much in such a short period? Who would have thought that the whole of the fashion industry in the western world would be queuing up to have her endorse their products? She was highly sought after by the major designers as well as by the big fashion magazines who all wanted her to grace their covers.
Her life was very hectic. She had to get up very early most mornings to honour bookings that had been made. She spent countless hours having her make-up done by experts and many more hours under the harsh glare of studio lights as different photographers took her pictures. Many of the shots taken were in various studios with different props and backgrounds. She had been amazed to discover that quite a lot of photographs that appeared in magazines and which looked like they had been shot in different exotic locations were the products of clever lighting and various background scenes. There were even wind blowers and snow machines to achieve the ‘wind-swept’ and ‘white Christmas’ look.
Nevertheless, she must admit that there were actually numerous trips to different countries for photo shoots as well. She had been to countries she did not even know existed and some others whose names she found difficult to pronounce even now.
She was often jet-lagged and disorientated as a result of the different time zones, but all these she loved. She loved travelling; she loved strutting on the cat-walk; but most of all, she loved all the attention she got. She dwelt on the admiration, love and adulation that were showered on her daily by the public. She loved the way Maitre D’s bent over backwards to do her bidding when she went into a restaurant. She loved all the perks that came with her job. The freebies, getting to keep a lot of the stuff she modelled.
‘This is a wonderful life’ she thought as she cast her mind back to her roots. She had grown up with eight siblings. Her father had died when she was eleven years old and her mother had struggled to raise all her children. It was a hard life and, being the oldest child, she had dropped out of school to assist her mother in selling bean-cakes to support the family. All nine children and their mother lived in a single room which was always cramped and had an awful smell due to over-crowding and poor ventilation. She had wanted to become a teacher when she grew up but had to shelve that dream as her mother could not afford to send all the children to school and she needed some help with the younger ones, especially in the mornings.
Bola recalled how she had dreamt about being rich and taking her family out of poverty. She had dreamt of building a house for her mother and of giving her enough money to start a decent business so that she would not have to sit by the roadside in the sweltering heat day after day in order to earn peanuts.
She also recalled how she had been plucked from obscurity one afternoon when she was by the roadside selling her bean-cakes. A flashy car had pulled up in front of her and an odd looking man who was with an even odder looking woman had alighted from the car and exclaimed that she had the type of face and figure that they had been searching for. The strange man had given her his business card and asked her to come to his office the next day with her parents. He said that he would make her famous. She had just looked at him stupendously and when, later that evening, she had told her mother about her encounter, her mother had said that the man was probably a pervert and had warned her not to raise her hopes. However, upon several pleas from Bola, her mother agreed to go with her to the office of the man who was called Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones had told them that Bola could become a famous model. He gave them some magazines that had models that he represented as well as some contracts and asked them to go home and think about it. It was the stuff that only dreams were made of.
As people say, the rest is history. Here she was now – rich, famous and in high demand. She had bought her mother a lovely house and had opened a supermarket for her. All her siblings were well taken care of and things currently couldn’t be better.
She was presently on her way to Central London to meet the famous photographer – Dennis Murphy. She was, however, caught up in traffic. She hated the London traffic jams. They were truly awful. There was a silly little man on her left who had wanted to cut in front of her. Now he was leaning on his horn, gesticulating obscenely.
The sound of his horn was almost deafening up close…. PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA….Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggggggggggg! Groaning and rolling over, Bola stretched out her arm to put off the alarm clock. She sighed sadly as she realised that all of this had been nothing but a dream and hurled her massive 350 pounds frame out of her bed in her dingy mud hut to begin her day as a roadside bean-cake seller thinking ‘This is definitely not a wonderful life.’
© February 2007