From modelling to clothes’ merchant
When Zainab Sanni was a model, she was a celebrated one at that. She participated in different shows of top Nigerian fashion designers in the eighties and mid-90s. And she did quite a number of advertisements for corporate organisations. Her face was a regular feature on billboards and television.
But today, Sanni has gone into a different thing, though related to fashion.
She is at present the CEO of ‘C ZAIZNA’ Boutique in Ikoyi, Lagos. It could be said to be a business in whom she’s well pleased.
"It is very challenging and I have to travel out of the country to get the latest designers’ stocks of corporate wears, casuals, shoes, bags, perfumes, sunglasses and other accessories. I love it."
"I am the last born in the family of 12. I was born on January 2, 1972. I’m a mixed blood. My Dad is from the North while my Mum is from the South. I lost my mum when I was three months old and my step mum, a Ghanaian, brought me up. I was born in Kano, but I grew up in Lagos. My step mum was a lovely woman. She was a fantastic woman, she died in 1986.
"I was in the midst of a large family. Obviously, there were obstacles here and there. My father was a retired Captain in the army. I attended Baptist Primary School and had my secondary education at Government College, Eric-Moore. I did a preliminary programme in Mass Communication at Universal College, Ile-Ife before I finally gained admission to the Obafemi Awolowo University Ife, to study English. I graduated in 1994".
Exit from modelling world
"I have lost the shape, but the beauty is still there and if you want to be in the modelling business, you must have the shape. I’m now size 14. I’ve always had hips, but my tummy is just not it. I’m working on it seriously now.
"But, at my age (32)I need to move to other things instead of seeing modelling as a career. Now, I really want to focus on my new office . As it is right now, people still see me as a model, because I believe that looking good is good business.
"In 1997, I got a job with Mobitel Communication. They had their rules and regulations and they warned me against combining my job with modelling. I was focused and was doing well as a marketing person in the company. I was already getting to the peak of my career when I was called by the "Board" one day to choose my job or modelling. Actually, the advert they saw was one of those jobs I had done in the past. I learnt so much working there. I left Mobitel because I wanted to start something I love doing which is fashion, have my own outfit and employ people. Moreover, all the years, as a model, I have always fancied two distinguished women who are my source of inspiration. They are Princess Abah Folawiyo of Labanella Fashions and Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija of Rose of Sharon. I’ve always had it in mind that I want to be focused like these women. Modelling
"It was Frank who taught me how to make up, and have a good marriage. I was a very shy person and nervous initially. He taught me how to catwalk, I kept practising till I became so confident of myself on the job.
"Skippers was my agent. He usually sent his boys to me at Ife anytime I had a job in Lagos. He took photographs of his models to client who then chose whoever they want. I’m a very photogenic person, and this aspect was a big plus for me in getting jobs. Most times, I didn’t see the client but my pictures spoke for me".
"Modelling was actually taking my time while I was a student at Ife. But it was interesting, when you are young. I became popular, a star if I may call it. Among the commercials I did, the bill board advert on "Precise relaxer" made me popular. I remember the day I was going back to school (Ife). The billboard on Precise has been mounted all over Lagos and Oyo State. I got to school that day and my school mates were all over me. Moreover, people call my name and of course, I’ve not met them before, all I do is just smile and say hi. In this kind of job you just have to be polite and humble.
Sanni remembered when she attended a party with her aunty in Oyo State. It was Prof. Pellar’s party. The Alaafin of Oyo was there and immediately they exchanged pleasantries, the monarch said: "This face looks familiar."
"I kept quite because I knew we’ve never met before, it was my Aunty who said, I was the one on the billboards all over the state. Even with all the glamour, I took modelling as a part-time and fun filled job. I didn’t see it as full time thing because of the pay. They pay peanuts. All the calendar work was N7,000 then. I got N30,000, when we modelled in Abuja for "Rose of Sharon". Of course, the money was paid by the state government."
Lifestyle of models
Most times, these are insinuations and they are wrong. If you are a photogenic person you have no problem at all.