Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The Apostle of Style

STYLE icon, Shola Jeremy has modelled for global brands such as Hugo Boss and Joop, among others. Till date, designers like Gucci readily invite him to wear their suits for promotional purposes. Naturally, he knows how to walk like a star that he is. But there’s more to this Itshekiri-born London based fashion icon than suits and shoes.
How did you become a model?
It was something I found quite interesting and love to do, but I never put all my eggs in one basket. I was also running my own business — and still run some-while modelling.
Can anyone be a model?
Yeah, it’s a career that anyone can aim for, but the most important thing is that you must do whatever makes you happy. Don’t just do it for the sake of doing it or because of the money and the glamour.
What qualities must a prospective model have?
You have to have the confidence and put your mind in it. I didn’t start out to be a model, though. From my childhood, I’ve always loved to dress well and people have always admired it. So, at a point in my life, people started saying there’s something about me, and that was how I got into advert. As they say, the rest is history.
You seem to have a lot of admiration for the United States’ President, Barrack Obama. Do we have an Obama in Nigeria?
Look, we have a lot of Obamas in Nigeria, but we need to appreciate them when they come on the scene. The likes of Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, Donald Duke, Emmanuel Uduaghan are some examples. Leaders like that should be celebrated. Apart from my state governor, Uduaghan, Fashola is doing well and we need to encourage people like that I’m of the view that we shouldn’t be cursing our leaders. Yes, the leaders have faults like everyone of us, because they are human. They’re not perfect people, but they will get it right because Nigeria’s heading in the right direction. Those of us shuttling between here and Nigeria want to see Nigeria get better because it’s a country we’re all passionate about. Nigeria will always be home and we want the best for the country.
What impact can Nigerians in the Diaspora make in the country?
Those in the Diaspora are very passionate about their country and can make a lot of positive impact. They have too much love for the country and many want to go back. Things are even better now that they can vote. Most of Nigerians abroad are going back home because they’re finding comfort at home. Look at my state, with the Delta State masterplan, it shows that the state is going in the right direction.
Don’t you think our politicians still have a long way to go?
Politics should be practiced the way (governor) Rotimi Amaechi and Tonye Princewill (Action Congress governorship candidate in 2007) of Rivers state have done it. There’s future in the Niger Delta because of the way Princewill has conducted himself. This is a man that could cause problems because he lost the elections, but I believe he imbibed the type of politics that he saw while living here. He knew that causing trouble won’t get anyone anywhere and that’s the type of politics that should be practiced.
What has impressed you about Facial?
He has done fantastically well and its because the man has a vision. Anyone with a vision can do anything. I don’t think h went into politics because he wanted to make money. That’s a man who can do eight years. As I said, there’s no point calling our leaders thieves, because if you keep calling them thieves, they will just act it out. I believe that we actually need to encourage them and not run them down. The past is the past and we have to leave it behind and move forward. The only way to move forward is see what is ahead, rather than what we’ve left behind.
Can Nigeria become God’s own country?
Yeah, we’re aiming in the right direction and I’ll plead with Nigerians not to run our President down because God makes leaders. There’s no country where they run down their president outside, so Nigerians should emulate that from other nationals. This man — Umaru Musa Yar’Adua — has a vision and it takes time for a vision to become reality — it’s a process. We can’t achieve everything in a day.
Do you have any plans to go into politics?
Not at all. I’m just a businessman.
Do you have to be a politician to influence the society?
We don’t all have to be politicians to move the country forward. What we need are honest people who will give honest advice to their politician friends. I have some of them as friends-many governors inclusive - and they listen. So when you see a governor going in the wrong direction, check his circle of friends. Leadership is not just about one person. There’re people that surround them and these leaders also have mutual friends who they can listen to. A good friend should be able to correct a governor heading in the wrong direction.
You’ve quit modelling, but what’s this Gucci business?
My suits are all Gucci suits and before the public sale comes on, I’m one of those privilege customers, who are called in for preference sales. They use me for promotional sales.
Do you think there’s style in the Nigerian ruling class?
But style is something you either have or you don’t. You can’t buy confidence and charisma either. Of course, you can buy the most expensive designer suits in the world, but it’s not about how much a suit costs. You must be confident in what you wear and it doesn’t matter if it’s just a £50 suit or shoe.
How can our governors and leaders be more stylish?
It’s inbuilt. People need to take care of themselves and also love themselves. If you don’t love yourself, it will show.
Won’t style distract our leaders?
Noooh, noooh. Look at Obama for instance, he’s not the same Obama that you knew during the campaign period. He doesn’t wear sagging suits anymore.


  1. Fantastic suit! Brown Suit is really fit you,your look more elegant.

  2. Really stylish suit. According to me, Men in suit always look elegant.