Meet Nicole Valeo, a Lawyer who is doing things differently with her creative process
More than three years ago, I stumbled on the work of Valeo and I was dazzled. I asked questions about who runs the brand and to my astonishment, it a was a law student (now a lawyer) with so much creativity. Finally, we get to meet and this time I had to ask her questions. Here is what she had to say.
Kindly introduce yourself and what you do for a living.
I’m Nicole Ojone Adehi. I’m 22 years old. I’m a lawyer, a photographer, and an entrepreneur. I run Valeo Photography, The Next Top Model and Retroculture.
So how was growing up like?
Primary and secondary school were quite eventful, to be honest. I was in the band in primary school. I was the first Prefect in the history of the school at that time to emerge from primary 3 till primary 6. Secondary school was interesting. I attended an all-girls school. Too many events. Every day was a highlight.
So what was your dream like growing up, your aspirations?
I just knew I wanted to be a lawyer. My dad is a lawyer and I’ve always looked up to him and I’ve always wanted to be like him. That guided my career decision. Overtime, I’ve grown to love the law and the procedures that come with it. It’s a profession that has a way of making you smarter.
What was it like studying law?
ABUAD was fun, to be honest, and we actually had good lecturers. I’m glad I went to ABUAD.
Do you think that studying law at ABUAD got you on the right path?
Well that’s tricky cos I’m a hard believer in fate and I believe that what would have been will be.
So how did photography come about, if you so loved Law?
Let’s just say life happened. I found something else I love so much. I went to a park one day with my mom. I met a photographer and we got talking. He gave me his camera to take a few pictures and I was amazed by the picture of two goats I took.
It was just like a timeless and rare moment had been documented. It was just a blessed feeling. I decided to go into photography from there. I was in 200level at that time. I learnt photography myself by studying online. Over the holidays, I would meet up with other photographers as well.
So how did your parents take the news?
You should trust Nigerian parents; of course, they didn’t take it well. Lol, especially my dad. He just didn’t think it was necessary.
When was your first big break into the photography business?
Every shoot is a big break for me. Because every shoot leads you to new customers. However, I was the official photographer to the Wife of the Executive Governor of Kogi State. That was quite a pat on the back for me.
So what stands you out as a photographer, we have so many photographers in Nigeria.
For me, I always pay details to the clarity of the images. I always ensure I get neat and clear images. I always look out to please my clients and maintain relationships with them. I’m always willing to try something new as well.
How have you been able to balance your law career with your photography business?
I believe there’s time for everything. I just try to prioritize always. They rarely ever clash though.
So let say the next president of Nigeria calls you to come and be his personal photographer would you leave law for that?
It’d leave the “office work” aspect of law but I’d definitely still look for a way to infuse another aspect which is flexible e.g. Drafting.
Has there been any stigma or people looking down on you as a female photographer?
Sometimes. There are few times you get the ” are you sure you can handle it? You’re a woman o.
What plans do you have for the future?
A lot actually. I don’t want to jinx it but I’d tell you that I’m building an empire. Watch out for Valeo. Valeo is not just photography. We’d be among the top entertainment firms in Nigeria in a short time by his Grace .