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GLAMOUR Women in Charge: Elizabeth Elohor

Nigerian-born former model and founder of Beth Model Africa, Elizabeth Elohor, shares her journey into running Africa’s most sought-after model agency and what it takes to make it in the modeling industry.

GLAMOUR: As a former model, what inspired you to start Beth Model Africa?

Elizabeth: I moved back to Nigeria in 2003 after modeling in the UK for 5 years. Upon moving to Lagos, I discovered that there were no professional agencies in Nigeria, which was a shame because Nigeria has so much talent but there was no one to help discover and nurture this talent. That motivated me to create Beth Models and the rest is history.

GLAMOUR: Your agency is one of the few in the world that promotes African talent. Why go this route?

Elizabeth: I believe African talents deserve to be showcased. There aren't a lot of reputable model agencies in Africa and when I saw that gap in the industry I felt like I had a duty to fill it. My goal with Beth Models was to promote and showcase the limitless opportunities in the model industry in Africa. I knew I had to be the change I wanted to see.

GLAMOUR: With your experience, is there a noticeable improvement in the modeling industry when it comes to representation and diversity?

Elizabeth: There's definitely been an improvement when it comes to representation in the modeling industry. More African models are getting global opportunities and international representation. A lot of international agencies have also become more inclusive of African talents as the years have progressed.

Elizabeth Elohor

GLAMOUR: With many fashion houses choosing to skip fashion weeks and with the pandemic disrupting the fashion scene, how has Beth Model Africa innovated to adjust to the current times?

Elizabeth: The pandemic greatly affected our models and our agency as a whole. Most of our models were unable to get visas, which meant they lost out on a lot of the international opportunities they should have had. However, we were able to find a silver lining through it all. We found more time to thoroughly train and develop our models and to work with more of our local clients. We also found a lot of new opportunities in the online space, as well as within Africa.

GLAMOUR: Can you tell us about a few success stories/models from your agency?

Elizabeth: We've been blessed to see so many of our models excelling all around the word and representing Africa on the global stage. Mayowa Nicholas, Davidson Obennebo, Olaniyan Olamijuwon, Nyagua Ruea and Victor Ndigwe are a few of our most inspiring successes. They have been featured on magazine covers for Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, W Mag, Dazed and many more. They've also worked with major fashion houses like Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, Victoria's Secret, Tiffany & Co., Dolce & Gabbana, Berluti, the list goes on.

GLAMOUR: What is the future of modeling agencies?

Elizabeth: I believe modeling agencies are going to become more diverse and inclusive in the future. I hope to see more diverse agencies emerging that cater to people of varying races, ethnicities, body types, genders, religious backgrounds, et cetera. I also believe that as the fashion industry grows globally, more opportunities will be created for modeling agencies worldwide.

GLAMOUR: Can you share with us about your partnership with Elite Models?

Elizabeth: In 2007 I partnered with Elite to organize the first ever Elite Model Look competition in Nigeria. It's been an amazing 13 years and I'm incredibly proud of the work we've done and the amazing talents and careers we've launched into the stratosphere. I'm looking forward to working with Elite and more international agencies on our exciting new project in 2021.

Elizabeth Elohor

GLAMOUR: What would your advice be for aspiring models when it comes to choosing a modeling agency?

Elizabeth: My advice to models when it comes to choosing a modeling agency would be to make sure your agency is reputable and that models within the agency are actually working. There's no point signing with an agency if they're not going to bring you new work and new opportunities. Models definitely need to make sure their contracts are reviewed thoroughly. Also, being driven and hardworking will help models to establish and maintain a good relationship with their agencies. You have to give as much as you want to get.

GLAMOUR: As a Black woman in a male dominated fashion industry, given a choice, what would you change in the modeling and fashion industry?

Elizabeth: Representation. It isn't just a buzzword to me. I want to see more African talents, models, designers and businesses succeeding in the global fashion space, which is what I've been working for nearly 2 decades to achieve. I would also love to see more diversity in terms of age and size. Everybody deserves a chance to shine.

GLAMOUR: Last words?

Elizabeth: I am excited to share that we recently launched a new global scouting competition inspired by the rising recognition and appreciation for African talents we've witnessed in recent years. It's called 'Future Face Africa', and it is going to be the largest scouting competition that Africa has ever seen and will bring about new exciting opportunities worldwide.

Connect with Beth model Africa online or on Instagram.

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