Meet TheTaraGold, a computer science graduate turned professional model
Dark-skinned models continue to be underrepresented in fashion all over the world. In recent years, dark-skinned models have gradually become important especially with the several inclusion movements going on around the world.
In a country like Nigeria, where people are predominantly dark-skinned, it is odd that dark-skinned models are still finding it hard to strive. As a rookie model, you are either very dark or light skinned. If you very dark, there are stereotype shoots they will ask you to do.
One of those breaking the barrier with her melanin skin is TheTaraGold — a professional model — who has starred in several shoots and several videos. Tara’s journey is one that should inspire young Nigerians to keep dreaming. We had an interesting chat recently and she shared her journey and future plans with me.
Femi Daniels of YouthCentral (FM): What was growing up like?
TaraGold (TG): I grew up in Surulere, in a family of 6 — 3 girls and 1 boy –. My primary and secondary school was in Surulere as well, and school was fun for me because I was always in charge. I had no bad time nor bad grades. People always looked up to me, because I was in charge. If I wasn’t doing something or contributing to it, nobody will be really interested in participating.
FM: What were your aspirations growing up?
TG: As a kid, I wanted to be a surgeon and a runway model. Growing up, things changed. I wanted to study Anatomy but my father didn’t want me to travel for some reasons best known to him. I had to stay in the country and I studied computer science/mathematics at Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu Osun State.
FM: Interesting, so at a young age, you have always wanted to be a runway model? What did you see that time that drew your affinity to it?
TG: I was about 11 when I came across runway models on TV. I would wake up at night to watch fashion shows and I loved seeing the girls. My dad used to make jokes and ask questions if I wanted to be a model, but I denied it. Eventually, I caved in and told him that I wanted to be a runway model.
FM: So how did you evolve from a lady with a computer science background to become a model?
TG: Like I said I had to study computer science, I wanted mathematics as it was my best subject in high school, but math was paired with computer science. I still have an idea of coding though. I started my modelling career in 2015.
Before then, I was once scouted when I was still in high school. I was returning back home from my mum’s store one morning with my junior sister and we were trying to mimic a girl that catwalks on the street. Then this lady stopped us and started asking questions. I actually met with her after but I wasn’t so interested at that time so I didn’t tell my parent.
I’d say I just found my way back into modelling because it has always been my passion. My first photo session was actually some sort of scam but it helped me build my portfolio at that time and I met a couple of people in my line that encouraged me to put in more work.
FM: What did you have to go through to get to where you are today?
TG: To be honest, I just found myself in a couple of shoots one or another. I went out and started meeting people, they started referring me to other people. The video modelling part started fully when I started working with Capital Dreams Pictures. I just remained true to myself no matter what.
FM: Dark-skinned models continue to be underrepresented in fashion, what do you think is wrong?
TG: I know dark-Skinned models are underrepresented but there has been a lot of improvement in the industry with the use of black models, but I would definitely say that it has a long way to go. For me it is different and I was never told to sit back for a light skinned model. People tell me that my skin is GOLDEN. Dark-skinned models should stay true to their art, most still feel insecure.
FM: What are your future plans and your advice for aspiring young models?
TG: Well, I’m going into the food world now but I’m not going to stop modelling. As to advice, please put God first, stay true to yourself and to your art. Remain humble and also ‘all that glitters is definitely not Gold.’