In her journey to finding self-expression, Dijat Bello has traversed different aspects of the creative industry. In this exclusive interview with Apples Bite Magazine, Dijat delves into the potentials of the creative industry, sharing her remarkable journey from her early days as a model collaborating with renowned brands like Pepsi and Access Bank to her current role as a brand influencer.
How would you describe the creative industry in Nigeria currently, and what opportunities do you think the industry hold for the eco-system in the country?
I’d describe the creative industry in Nigeria as a thriving and growing sector that encompasses a wide range of fields, including film, music, fashion, art, and more. This dynamic industry offers numerous opportunities that have the potential to significantly impact the country’s ecosystem.
The opportunities within the creative industry are multifaceted. Firstly, it plays a pivotal role in economic growth by creating employment opportunities, thus contributing to a reduction in unemployment rates.
How lucrative is it to be a brand influencer and content creator?
The potential for profitability as a brand influencer and content creator in the creative industry is undoubtedly significant. However, the level of success and earnings can vary greatly based on several factors. Audience size, engagement rates, niche, and the quality of brand partnerships are all critical factors that determine one’s success in this field.
With the right strategies, a dedicated following, and effective market positioning, brand influencers and content creators can indeed earn substantial incomes. This may come through sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and revenue generated from advertising partnerships. It’s important to note, though, that the competition in this field is fierce. Achieving success typically requires unwavering dedication, consistency, and adaptability to evolving trends.
Do you think the government is supportive enough of the industry?
In my assessment, the government is making commendable efforts to support and promote the growth of the creative industry in Nigeria. They have implemented policies and programs aimed at facilitating access to funding, offering training and capacity-building opportunities, and creating platforms for creative individuals and businesses to showcase their work. While there is always room for improvement, it is evident that the government recognizes the importance of the creative industry in driving Nigeria’s economic and cultural development. These initiatives indicate a positive step towards nurturing the creative ecosystem and leveraging its potential to enhance the performance of other sectors of the economy.
In what areas do you think the industry needs improvement?
I think the industry needs improvements in Strengthening educational programs and training opportunities in creative fields which can help nurture talents and enhance skills. Also encouraging collaborations and networking amongst professionals and stakeholders within the creative industry can foster innovations and create new opportunities.
What do you think are the challenges facing the creative industry?
The challenges include a lack of recognition and support, which can lead to underappreciation of creative contributions, as well as funding constraints and limited market opportunities.
How long have you been in the creative industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 11 years. I started off as a model, then ventured into acting and now I’m a content creator and brand influencer.
Take us through your career journey as a creative.
I started off as a model in 2011. I went for a lot of auditions but I wasn’t picked for jobs because of my petite stature. So, in 2015 I became a face model and worked for top makeup artists such as oshewabeauty, eeswatmakeup, tshakky, makeuptician and many more. I was also constantly featured on blog posts on instagram such as bellanaijaweddings, asoebibella, ms asoebi, africanweddingsweethearts etc. Then in 2017 I did a commercial for Pepsi, I did a calendar job for a book production company in ikeja. In 2018 I was also a model for access bank.
Then I went into acting in 2017/2018. I was in the Yoruba movie industry for a very short while and I featured in 4 movies including Farayola, Igba, truncated and a movie by Kenny George but I can’t remember the title of the movie. I recently became a content creator, influencer and a social media manager /strategist this year (2023).
Do you run other business apart from being a creative?
Yes. I have an online perfume store and I’m currently working on my online clothing business too.
Can you tell us a bit about your family background and upbringing?
I come from a nuclear family. We’re a family of 7 members. 5 children and my parents, that’s 7. We are 4 girls and a boy. I am the 4th child. I’m from Lagos state, I had all my education in Lagos. I was brought up in a supportive and discipline atmosphere where respect, humility, love and values were priorities for us growing up.
How has your family been supportive of your career choices in social media and modeling?
My family has been supportive especially my brother and my mum. My brother Is the best thing that has ever happened to me. He’s so supportive that he personally bought the tools I use in creating contents. During my early days of modeling, my mum was always with me, she’d follow me for casting and auditions. She paid for my first ever photoshoot. She’s super supportive.
Are there any specific values or lessons you learned from your family that have influenced your work?
Yes, integrity, love, honesty, humility and transparency
Do you have any siblings, and are they also involved in the digital media or creative industry?
Yes, my elder brother is a disc jockey in the United States of America and he’s doing exceptionally well there. My immediate elder sister is a makeup artist and she’s very good in her craft.
What role has your family played in shaping your personal brand and online presence?
They have been very supportive and encouraging.
How long have you been married?
For 3 years going to 4 years this year 2023.
How supportive has your immediate family especially your husband been with your craft?
They have been very supportive.
Where did you complete your education, and what did you major in?
I graduated from the university of Lagos. My major is a Bachelor’s degree in social work. I also have a professional diploma degree in social development and administration.
How has your educational background influenced your approach to content creation and strategy?
It has helped to shape my critical thinking, research skills, and knowledge base, all of which plays a significant role in creating effective content and strategies.
Did you have any specific mentors who inspired your career path?
In the acting industry I’d say Bimbo Akintola because she’s an exceptional actress and knows how to interpret her roles. In the modeling industry I’d say Agbani darego because I was once a beauty queen and she inspired me growing up. In content creation aspect, I’d say Maraji because she’s really good with creating brilliant contents.
What were some of the most valuable skills or knowledge you gained from your academic experience?
Communication, empathy and confidentiality.
Are there any specific courses or workshops you’d recommend for aspiring social media strategists and content creators?
Yes, I’d recommend hubspot academy because that’s where I learnt social media strategy and development.
Can you share some key strategies you use to grow and engage your social media audience?
Posting consistently and using high quality content.
Knowing my target audience.
Actively and responding to comments, messages.
Utilize visual content.
Monitor my social media Analytics.
Run sponsored ads.
Promote on other social media platforms.
How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and algorithms on various social media platforms?
I monitor what’s going on social media platforms. I also follow other content creators and influencers to stay active. I also engage in continuous learning such as online courses, tutorials.
What tools or software do you find essential for managing your social media presence effectively?
I use Facebook and Instagram insights which provides valuable Analytics to monitor my audience, engagements, reach and performances. I also use canva, capcut for my content creation and as my editing tools. I also use Facebook ads and meta ads manager to run campaigns and ads.
How do you balance consistency and authenticity in your online persona and content?
I define my brand identity including my mission and target audience. I stay true to myself and try not to imitate others. I plan my contents in advance by outlining topics, that aligns with my brand and audience.
Can you discuss a challenging social media campaign you worked on and how you overcame it?
I haven’t experienced any yet, and I pray not to (Laughs).
What inspires your content creation process, and how do you come up with new ideas?
My experiences inspire my content creation process. Experiences as a mother, as a friend, as a sister and as an individual. All these inspires the processes for me. The funny thing is the ideas just pop up in my head. It comes up when I’m sleeping, when I’m eating, watching movies, looking at pictures of myself etc. It just comes naturally to me.
How do you maintain a unique and recognizable style across your content?
I use storytelling techniques to engage my audience. Most times I use myself as a case study to add depth, humor and authenticity to my contents.
Are there any specific editing or photography techniques you use to enhance your visuals?
Yes. I use canva, capcut and Inshot to edit my videos.
How do you handle criticism or negative feedback on your content?
To be very honest, so far, I haven’t received any negative feedbacks or criticisms on any of my contents.
Can you share your approach to creating content that resonates with your target audience?
First, I define my target audience. Then I craft contents that speaks directly to them by using relatable language. I also use storytelling so they’ll relate to it and I engage with them through comments.
What is some misconceptions people have about the influencer lifestyle?
Most people think it’s easy. However, being a successful influencer requires lots of hard work, dedication, and consistent efforts. people also think being an influencer is leads to instant fame, while in the actual sense it takes time and efforts to build a loyal brand and community of followers on social media platforms.
It’s also important to know that influencer lifestyles vary depending on the individual and their niche. While some aspects may appear as glamorous, there are also challenges and hard work involved behind the scenes.
How do you strike a balance between your public persona and your personal life?
I define my boundaries, I prioritize my selfcare, I separate work from my personal time for myself and family.
What challenges do you face when working with brands and sponsors?
I would say negotiating fair compensations and payments. time management, and meeting brand expectations are the challenges I face.
Can you share some of your favorite collaborations or brand partnerships?
That will be with RAHSALVDELIGHT food production company. The CEO is a very nice and wonderful person. She makes working with her as an influencer so easy and fun for me.
How do you handle the pressure to always appear perfect and aspirational on social media?
I embrace authenticity, I’m transparent with myself and show vulnerability in sharing relatable moments to form a connection with my audience. I also discuss topics that matter to myself and audience.
Name some brands you have collaborated with or are currently working with?
I have collaborated with RAHSALVDELIGHT food production company,
Belle Care organic sanitary pads, Posf Clothing, I have collaborated with top makeup artists in Lagos as a face model and the list continues to grow.
How did you get started in the modeling industry, and what advice do you have for aspiring models?
I got started by going for a photoshoot and having my own portfolio as a model. Then I got registered with a modeling agency and I started going for auditions. I’d advice aspiring models to build confidence, develop a portfolio, network with other people like photographers, makeup artists and other models. They should maintain a professional attitude. Be persistent and learn the industry by understanding the different types of modeling like runway, commercial modeling.
What do you enjoy most about modeling, and what challenges have you encountered along the way?
What I enjoy most is expressing myself through arts, facial expressions, working with creative minds. The challenges I’ve encountered will be rejection because of my small stature *laughs* then going for auditions too can be a little bit challenging.
Can you share some memorable moments or experiences from your modeling career?
The first memorable moment was when I did this gig for Pepsi. It was a party setting so I and some other models were having fun plus we connected.
The second moment was the shoot I did for access bank. The theme was working women achieving their goals so I was dressed as a medical doctor. It was fun.
How do you prepare for photo shoots and runway shows to deliver your best performance?
First thing, I pray and commit the shoot into God’s hands. Then I arrive early at the location, I stay relaxed and confident, I practice posing, communicate with the photographers and makeup artists, plus I stay positive always.
How does modeling complement your work as a social media strategist and content creator?
Being a model has helped me develop a strong personal brand. It gives me a unique and recognizable identity. It has also helped me in curating visually appealing contents for social media. It has also helped me in having a keen understanding of how my image is been presented to the people. Also models often tell stories through their photos and poses, therefore this has helped my storytelling skills in crafting compelling narratives captions for my social media contents.
What are your plans for growth, and career?
I would love to partner with other influencers, brands, or creators for collaborative contents. I also plan to explore various revenue streams such as affiliate marketing, and more sponsored posts. I’m also going to continuously refine my personal brand and online persona. I plan to invest in personal development, such as public speaking to become a more effective communicator.
Dijat Bello is available on Instagram as dijat_bello