From Foster To Fabulous! British Nigerian Model & Entrepreneur Ayoola Bakare Dazzles in New Editorial as She celebrates her birthday

Down-to-earth and refreshingly sweet, British-Nigerian model Ayoola Bakare, celebrates a new age as she reminisces about her life’s journey thus far. A wearer of many hats, Ayoola is a model, hair consultant, mentor and entrepreneur.

Among her many achievements, is the creation of Rare look, a hair and beauty salon based in the UK and the successful launch of her charitable foundation ‘Rare You’ an initiative she started in 2018 and has so far hosted conferences to inspire budding entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams and goals ernestly.

Growing up in foster care starting from age 12 when she arrived the UK, Ayoola, relives the moments as she dishing on the highs and lows and the lessons that have made her the strong and passionate advocate she has become.

” Life in foster care can be difficult especially for children.” She says ” It’s not necessarily because the people around you are bad- although some are, but the feeling of rejection, not knowing who’s child you really are, feeling lost and unwanted. Hoping and praying that you will one day find your roots or some blood relative.

I like to describe being in foster care as a blessing in a curse. I do not want to burden people with the story of how I got there, but I still remember the pain of feeling like a “nobody’s child”. Like every child I hoped to live and grow in the presence of my mother and family, but this was not my fate. I feel let down sometimes but looking back at how far I’ve come and the future that is before me, all I feel is gratitude especially today being my born day. ”

With a name that means Joy in part, Ayoola is indeed a joy to be around, a hustler on heels, she lives for the positive sides of every situation. While her story is not unique, Ayoola tells a tale of hope, survival, strength and hunger to help other people walking in the shoes she walked in as a child look beyond the physical, mental, and emotional abuse one feels from being removed from everything they know; is provided a roof over their head by the state and strangers; and then is thrust into adulthood to figure it all out on their own. “I was privileged to live and grow in an English-Caribbean home, with great foster parents, and foster siblings from different countries. Learning new cultures and understanding the core of independence at my that young age was something being in that environment taught me and I’m happy it worked out to my advantage ”

Still reminiscing she continues “Although one can continues to speak on the positivity of my life in care the reality was I struggled with loneliness and lack of belonging. I wasn’t certain how exactly I survive in a country without any of my relatives but I was determined to survive and stayed positive in achieving my dreams.

I was dedicated to educating myself, and working hard to ensure I am self sufficient.

Did I struggle and seek for parental love and belonging? Yes I did. I dealt with loneliness and constant emotional / mental breakdown, knowing that I am fully responsible for myself with no one to fallback on.

Giving up was never an option and when the road appeared impossible, I had to keep my eyes on the price which was survival.

Life in care has shaped me to dream big, believe in myself, and knowing the right people to associate myself with.

I wake up everyday and I feel grateful for my life experience, appreciative of the journey I have taken in life.

My journey has been intense but wouldn’t I trade my story for anything because everything I have experienced in life has come together to make me a strong, determined and resilient woman that I have become.”

With her humble beginnings at the back of her mind, Ayoola knows that supporting people from less privileged backgrounds with education, counselling and mentoring goes a long way in helping them mould a better future and shaping a happier society. She has made the conscious decision to give back to the society that gave her so much by throwing herself full throttle and giving her time to passionately empower people by helping them forge amazing partnerships that can bring them closer to achieving their goals.

“My goal is to inspire others by proving that anything you dream is possible with faith, focus and consistency.”

“Today is not for tears, if any at all it will be tears of joy” she says as she takes our fun 100 questions challenge. See images from her recent editorial aptly captured by Sean Whitty (IG @seanwhitty)

Valerie Ekpo
ekpovalerie@gmail.com
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