Standing at a towering height of 6ft 8in, Bakare Mubarak is currently the tallest model in Sub-Saharan Africa; a record he has held since 2016.
His intimidating height attracts stares anywhere he goes.
When PREMIUM TIMES recently spotted him in a crowd at the ROK grand tour finale which held at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos, his imposing stature and shy demeanor was difficult to ignore.
During a brief interview with this newspaper, he claimed to be an inch taller than the Tallest Professional Female Model in the world, Amazon Eve. The latter, who is 6ft7, bagged a Guinness Book of Records in 2011.
Mubarak also spoke about his modeling career as well as the downsides of being really tall.
“My foray into modeling began in 2015 after I partook and won the Mr Kwara 2015. Pageantry is synonymous to modeling and that’s when I started getting trained,” he said.
“I was adjudged the tallest model in Nigeria by the modeling scouts and practitioners in 2016 and it was based on the evaluation. It’s not an award or expedition, it’s a record, the tallest model record. At the time, I was an inch taller than Amazon Eve, the world’s tallest professional model. So, based on the evaluation of modeling scouts, she was the tallest model in the world. In fact, I am about an inch taller than she was, at that time. I was about 6.8.”
While anyone would naturally assume that he would have a height advantage in the modeling industry, Mubarak revealed that it has not been an entirely smooth sailing journey for him.
He noted, “Well, in the modeling industry, it’s a whole lot of challenges. When I go for casting sessions, sometimes I get rejected because I am too tall. If not by special recognition from a designer, the casting directors tend to reject me because when they make outfits for me, virtually no one can use them afterward.
“It’s really tough. When you are as tall as I am, you face a lot of rejection in the Nigerian modeling industry. Right now I am just trying to create my own sunshine. I’m a revolutionist because I like to always be unique. My outfits also cost a lot higher to make obviously because of my height and because of the number of yards required to sew a simple outfit for me.”
So does he regret being as tall as he currently is?
“Absolutely not. I’ve always been so grateful for being tall. In fact, it is one of the best feelings, being unique. Do you know what it means to stand amidst thousands of people and still attract attention?” he asked.
Mubarak said his hopes of being the tallest man in Nigeria was dashed recently when he met with the Tallest Man in Nigeria, Afeez Agoro.
The latter is 7ft 4in tall. He is also a 43-year-old Yoruba actor and has a Reality TV show centred around his life and what it feels like living as the tallest man in Nigeria.
Asked what he would love to change about his industry, the soft-spoken model said, “If I can change anything in the industry, it would be African time syndrome. You go for a TV commercial casting and your time gets wasted. Anytime I go for casting for a TV commercial, I zero my mind that it will take an entire day.
“The government has a whole lot of roles to play. They need to create more infrastructure like fashion schools, homes for fashionistas and designers, models. (They need to) create schools, create universities create events, expeditions, symposia, conferences and all of these.”
Having featured in top-rated commercials for brands like Toptea and Globacom, Mubarak said his best is yet to come.
“I love to make my own sunshine, I love to set my own standard. I am working on a project aimed at uniting Africans and showcase the beauty of Africa. I am lucky enough to have Ooni of Ife as the grand patron of the initiative. We sent a letter to him in that regard very early this year and he sent a confirmation.”
While he admitted to being ‘single to stupor’ the fast-rising model said he is not sure if he is ready for love just yet.