Name: Victoria Folusewa
Agency: Marz Entreprise
Claim to Fame: Folusewa has appeared in ads for Sōultry, walked in NYFW and been featured in Pop Sugar.
Models migrate. New York, London, Paris, Milan, they go where the work is. For some that can mean a quick season of jet setting, but for others it can mean uprooting their whole lives to be closer to agencies.
Victoria Folusewa took another path. “I started small,” she told HelloBeautiful. “I started modeling for my school.” The working model was then a student at the University of Baltimore.
“They have an organization called the African Student Union and so every year they have a fashion show. So I started there practicing for a runway and trying out outfits and just kinda like getting comfortable presenting myself out there.” Following the completion of her studies in psychology and human service administration she “started working independently,” from Maryland. “I would reach out to different photographers and just try to build a portfolio,” she said. She accomplished this on “nights and weekends,” while she worked as a counselor by day.
Folusewa shopped her portfolio to specific agencies. “I started looking for agencies in the community that were looking for people who looked like me,” she said. After a brief stint with another agency she landed at the nearby Marz Enterprise.
Folusewa was happy to get signed to an agency that allowed her to continue serving in her hometown. “I’d been following them for a year just to see what they do and how they support models,” she revealed. The agency’s location and flexibility allowing her to remain in Baltimore led her to see the impact her work was having. She called stumbling upon her work “a very unique feeling.”
“I have a photo of myself in one of the beauty stores close to Baltimore city and it’s like, it’s really dope to be able to be a part of my community in that way,” she said. “Having an agency that supports me and it’s close by, that’s like the best thing ever!”
Baltimore is the city that Folusewa’s fellow models Liris Crosse and Quan Michelle made a name for themselves.
Being with an agency away from a modeling hub can have other advantages.
There are times where models are requested by a client and they are not told due to logistics blocking the flow of communication but at a boutique agency she is aware when a client is clamoring for her services. She recounted her first gig with joy. “It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, not because I was getting paid, but because it was a new environment for me,” she said. “I felt very like free and very open. I felt wanted, the client actually requested for me. So that was one of the things that made me very excited to be there.” Being able to have these experiences has affected her self-image positively and forced her to consider every facet of her wellbeing, for the sake of her work.
“Modeling definitely developed my confidence. It has allowed me to be confident in myself, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, modeling affects every single part of you. It doesn’t just affect you physically,” she said. “Just spiritually, emotionally, you have to work on your mental health. You have to work on your spiritual health. If not, all of these different aspects of your life are going to show up in front of the camera.”
She wants her pictures to help her fellow Baltimoreans and Black girls around the world see themselves. “I only had Tyra Banks, um, when I was looking at magazines. I didn’t really see many women who look like me or even when I would look into shopping websites online. I wouldn’t see women who looked like me. And so I want young girls who see me to know that they can also be out there and know that they don’t have to have to look a certain way to be out there as a model,” she said.
She is looking forward to accomplishing more and will begin casting for NYFW soon.
“I want to continue to put myself out there, grow and work with different brands who genuinely want to work with people like me,” she said.
“I want to work with different companies and brands that actually care about people from my culture,” she continued before adding, “I’m the product of both being Nigeria and both being American And so that affects who I am and every single thing that I do with my life.”
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1. Kandi Burruss in Dolce & GabbanaSource:HelloBeautiful 1 of 8
2. Kandi Burruss in Dolce & GabbanaSource:HelloBeautiful 2 of 8
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MODEL MONDAY: Victoria Folusewa Won’t Let Modeling Move Her was originally published on hellobeautiful.com