There are a thousand and one reasons why the CEO of Beth Modelling Agency, Elohor Aisien should be grateful. First, her platform Aquafina Elite Model Look just turned 10. Second, through this platform, Davidson Obennebo, the 2016 winner became the first African to win the Elite Model Look World Competition in 33 years. Other models like Mayowa Nicholas and Victor Ndigwe have likewise made her proud by modelling for top international brands like Victoria Secret.
Therefore, it was very understandable when she went all emotional on the 2017 grand finale of the event at Eko Hotels & Suites Convention Centre. It was a like a dream to her when she launched the platform 10 years ago. During that period, a lot of ups and downs took place, nevertheless, she was thankful for her friends, loved ones, crew and Aquafina for being there for her. Certainly, this milestone called for a bigger celebration which Aisien and her crew tried to do. From the blue carpet rolled out in the hallway, the majestic water fountain outside the main hall, the decorative stage with the huge inscription 10, spoke volumes of beauty,elegance and craftsmanship.
However, that was where it ended for the show itself wasn’t as spectacular as previous editions. First, the seating arrangement made it too difficult for some of the guests to enjoy the drama on stage. Two runways were created on both sides of the hall and in the middle was a cluster of white sofas where the big wigs stayed. Those seated beside the runways had little issues with the view but the row of seats facing the runways and stage had. The stage was to far away from them. One would have expected that the extra screen will be used for viewing but it was not the case as they were rather used for advertorials.
As more guests arrived, the show became rowdy. The ushers were at a loss on what to do as guests freely walked in and out of the hall, sometimes colliding with the models on the runway. It was later in the show that hefty bouncers were called to curb the situation.
Expectedly, the show didn’t kick off on time and the guests were made to endure the screaming voice of an invisible announcer before the hosts, Ill Rhymz and Osas Ighodaro took the reins. Perhaps in honour of the afrobeat legend, the show opened with dancers dancing to Fela’s music. Other music performances were supplied by Aramide and DJ Cuppy.
A constant feature of the Aquafina Elite Model look was Elohor’s ability to spin a bold surprise on the runway. The 2015 edition witnessed a model exposing a breast on the runway. If guests were expecting a similar spectacle, they were disappointed. All they got was a couple of oil-bodied males in their black underpants and females in exotic swimwears.
However, it was a fierce battle for the 20 finalists who donned iconic pieces from notable designers like Morafa, Mai Atafo, Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi, Andrea Iyamah, Yutee Rone, Sisiano and South-African designer Gert-Johan Coetzee, to impress their judges, former beauty queen Agbani Darego, Veronica Odeka and Norden Thurnston of Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc. They were the lucky ones who made it to the last stage from over a thousand models who entered the race.
After much parade on the runway, Marvellous, Zainab,Tobi, Elizabeth, Glory emerged the top five in the female category while Stephen, Daniel Tofunmi, Alex and Gilchrist made the top five in the male category.
Stephen Aladenika and Oluwatobiloba Momoh emerged the winners at the end of the night. They were rewarded with a cash prize of One Million Naira each and will represent Nigeria at the Elite Model Look International World Finals where they stand a chance to win $150,000 alongside a contract with Elite Model Management Worldwide and a two-year modelling contract with Beth Model Management Africa.