The lady with the big hair


Today I decided to watch the King Women episode where they interview TY Bello. As I watch the episode I’m reminisce about the first time I ever saw her and how she would later impact my life. 

I must have been in SS2 and about 15 years old. I remember coming home from school just like any other day and having my supper, doing my homework and etcetera. I receive a call from my dad who is still at the office telling me to get dressed because I would be attending a fashion show with him. I ran straight upstairs to my wardrobe squealing with excitement and completely took it apart trying to figure out what to wear. My very first fashion show. I had to slayyyyy it! I finally decided on this blue silk blouse that happened to be my favourite at the time. 

We arrived at the venue before the show started. My dad settled me down before heading off to sort out some work related stuff. I remember looking around and thinking about how I did not expect it to be so well organised. There were so many lights and the stage set up looked amazing. I most definitely did not think events like this happened in Abuja. Eventually, people started to pour in and fill the seats around me. My dad came back and sat on the table in front of me just as the show began. 

However, this is not a story about my first fashion show experience. This is a story about how I first saw the lady with the big hair. 

Just as the show began I saw a lady with really big hair and a huge camera ran past me towards the stage. She seemed to be in her zone taking photographs. I got distracted watching her execute her craft so elegantly. I grew more and more curious about how she ended up there. From the way she moved and the way she acted you could tell she was not just one of those ordinary photographers that you are used to seeing in Nigeria. You know the ones that stalk you at events, force you to take a picture, print it out and make you pay one hundred Naira for it. I made a mental note to ask my father about her when I had the chance. 

On the ride home I asked about the lady with the big hair taking photographs. ‘Oh yes her name is TY Bello’ answered my father. ‘She is a really good photographer. I actually talked to her about doing our family portrait the other day’. This made me very happy because it meant that I could probably meet her properly and ask her questions about how she turned photography into a proper job in Nigeria. Mind you this was the first time I ever thought about photography as more than just a hobby.

Unfortunately we never did the family portrait so I never got to meet her. However, I still had her at the back of my head for a very long time. There were a lot of things I believed could not be done in Nigeria because of the society especially when it comes to creativity. My views slowly started to change after seeing TY Bello. I realised that you could do anything just as long as you persevere and be the best at it. 

To TY, thank you for being an inspiration to me and many others. I hope to be someone else’s big haired lady someday. (That sounds super weird haha!)
You can follow TY Bello on Instagram @tybello

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