Posted by Stephan Moskovic | November 9th, 2018

The Graduates

Mayowa Nicholas

A year of international hustling has proven fruitful for Nigerian top model, Mayowa Nicholas. Fresh from her first walk for Victoria’s Secret, the chiseled beauty has been booked and busy gaining high paying clients, shooting with the best photographers in the business, even landing a coveted Vogue cover. If that wasn’t enough her powerful mile long legs have been sashaying through the fashion week circuit – a clear testament to her first love of walking the runway. But what do you expect from a pupil of the runway legends before her? Mayowa only ever came to slay.

Visit her page and click or tap the heart icon to favorite Mayowa and keep track of her work.

Photography by Sebastian Kim for

Styling Andrew Mukamal
Hair Hiro + Mari
Makeup Kristi Matamoros
Manicure Sarah Nguyen

Editor Stephan Moskovic
Text & interview by Irene Ojo-Felix

Top image: Blazer – Ralph Lauren

The Graduates, since its conception in 2013, has become a mainstay featuring the foremost models of the moment. More specifically, when a Hot Lister moves up in rank to Top 50 through their own accomplishments it’s deserving of recognition, each a worthy addition to this ongoing series.

Tank – Hanes, Underwear – Chrome Hearts, Pants – Alexander Wang, Belt – Stylist’s own.
So Mayowa! It’s so crazy because I feel like I’ve seen your entire trajectory. It doesn’t happen often that you see a model from their start until now and it’s been great to witness.

Even since when I started!

Exactly! From when you started with BETH Models and that was when the Nigerian fashion scene was really trying to make a name for itself. It’s like night and day.

It’s been like three years. Which is great.

We’re going to start at the beginning and talk about how you got discovered. Where are you from originally?

I’m from Lagos. I was discovered in Magodo. I was going to the salon and one of my mother agents stopped me and said “Oh there’s this competition. Do you want to be a model?” And I thought, “Mmmm no!” But I was actually happy that they stopped me because people had always told me that I could be a model. But I wanted to be an accountant! I was just happy that someone actually thought I was beautiful enough to be a model.

I showed somebody the information and they were like, “I don’t think you’re ready. You don’t even know what a model is. You don’t even look like a model.” So I used one year and I studied everything that I knew about modeling. I went to Wikipedia and I went to Youtube. Who’s Naomi? Who’s Tyra? I knew everything and in 2014 I was ready. I went for the castings with Elite Model Look and I got picked (as a finalist). Then I won! It’s still crazy and I can’t believe it!

And how was the development process? Once you won, were you just thrust into the industry?

After I won the Elite Model Look Nigeria, I was always practicing my walk myself because I was preparing for China. The China process was a difficult part because I almost didn’t get my visa. I got it the day before I was going there. Once I got to China I think that was when modeling really showed like this is the real deal. This is the business. You either get it or you don’t get it. We had agents from Paris and New York teaching us how to walk, day and night in heels.

Well it shows. Your walk is crazy good. Do you like modeling on the runway more or do you gravitate towards being in front of the camera? Or is it equal?

It’s equal. Or runway is maybe 55% because I just love it and it comes naturally to me. There this energy and power where you just feel like a woman.

Tank – Hanes, Underwear – Chrome Hearts, Pants – Alexander Wang, Belt – Stylist’s own.
Do you have to listen to anything to get you in the mood before you go on the runway?

Every time I’m backstage I’m always listening to Afrobeats. I think that always gets me going. Always listen to Wizkid or Davido to get me like let’s do this!

What’s been one of your favorite shoots to be a part of this year?

My favorite shoot would definitely be with Luigi & Iango because it’s so nice to see photographers that just appreciate women. You don’t feel insecure and you’re just there. They’re going to make you look beautiful. And that was my first cover and I feel like that was one of the first shoots where I felt OK with myself. Like you don’t have to be insecure about anything, about your thighs or whatever. They don’t care.

Also, there was this H&M shoot that I did in Mexico that was my biggest commercial shoot that was insane. The production was crazy and I was still a new face and I was like “Is this how modeling is?” *laughs* It was with Mario Sorrenti and it was epic! Probably the best production I’ve been a part of.

What’s one thing that you’d want to accomplish that you haven’t already?

I have a lot but I’ll say one thing is on my list is to have a makeup contract. Everybody says that though but I have a specific brand in mind and I’m keeping my eye on them.

Fingers crossed!

Blazer – Ralph Lauren

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2 Comments to “Mayowa Nicholas on Being an Accountant, Afrobeats and Power Walking”

  1. Natalia says:


  2. Gostaria muito de poder entrar❤️❤️