Kikelomo Woleosho is the Chief Photographer at Red19photography, an enterprise with the vision of promoting Family bond in Nigeria by providing World class photography services to children, pregnant women and the family as a whole. She recently wrote a self-titled book,’Kikelomo’ detailing her childhood experiences of sexual violation among others. In this interview with TopNaija.ng’s Mojola Omowumi, she shares how she was able to rise above the murkiness of her circumstances to aligning with her dreams. This is an utterly inspiring read, even if we do say so ourselves 😊
You are the founder of red19 photography, tell us briefly about your business and how exactly you started it?
Red19photography provides professional Children, Maternity and Family photography services. We do this with the vision of promoting FAMILYBOND. I started photography in my third year in the university. I wanted to be sure I was not going to just live, I was going to fulfill destiny so I set out to find out what my purpose was. I found out it was tied to photography and I pursued it. I was broke and needed funds to pay school fees but seeking a job or sleeping around was not an option. Getting the right training in my ordained path was the wisest thing to do. Instead of training for 6 months I was there for 16months. On the platform of serving whole heartedly my teacher gave me a camera to go start my business. With the camera and another gift of a laptop from someone else I started my red19photography. I had no physical cash but my servanthood act created the foundation red19 needed.
You studied Chemistry Education at the University, so what then prompted your venture into photography?
Yes I studied Chemistry Education but PURPOSE sent me into the arms of photography
Is there any other thing you do part time asides photography?
I do several photography related businesses- teaching, editing, etc. I also do a lot of volunteering and social work especially in the area of child protection and people empowerment.
Let’s talk about your new book, ‘Kikelomo’. What prompted you into sharing your story?
KIKELOMO is a memoir of my experience with child sexual abuse and the struggles that followed suit. I realized that abuse usually does not stay in the past. It has a way of crawling in the future of the victim and if not properly dealt with, can destroy them. I knew that sharing my own story will further open the eyes of parents to the effect of sexual abuse on the children so they can put more effort in protecting their children. It will help abused persons understand the effect abuse is presently having on them and the steps they can take to ensure they have the victory.
The book focuses on the abuse you had experienced in your early days, it might be safe to say that your childhood days were not exactly fun , so how was growing up really like?
Growing up was no fun. I experienced too much emotional instability as a result of the series of sexual and physical abuse I experienced. I do not want to ever go back there. I deliberately enjoyed my early twenties because then I already had better understanding that my future was in my hands and I can define it.
How did you discover your life’s purpose?
I discovered my life’s purpose by praying to God. I knew I was going to be an entrepreneur but what path I was to follow was what i did not it. I never liked photography and would never consider it an option in my entire life but when God said that was it, I knew I had to obey and I do not regret it.
What is one major thing you wished you had known earlier?
That no boyfriend had any right to my body till he paid my bride price.
What/ who inspires you?
Holy Spirit is my major inspiration. I live and breathe His ideas. Ibukun Awosika is also a great inspiration to me. She proves that I can attain all heights with God and diligence.
Talking about your career, whose work has influenced you the most?
Anabrandt, an american child photographer. Seun Akisanmi taught me to never pattern a photo shoot in one way.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me is doing well personally, with God, family and business.
At this level, do you consider yourself to be successful?
At this level I will say I am on a path that will lead to success.
About your story (from your book), are there any regrets?
No. I have no regret.
What is your greatest achievement so far?
Obeying God to release the book KIKELOMO. I see the impact daily and I am happy I lived the script to the end.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Watching our red19 babies grow and the families bond more gives me so much satisfaction.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
By 2027, I will be handling the affairs of women and children in Nigeria. I would have cut down the problem of sexual molestation by 25% ensuring that abused persons get help so they do not continue the cycle of abuse and each child and woman can live safely.
What advice would you give to younger ones who are still trying to find their feet?
Find purpose. Once you can get it, believe it, and work it, you will soar.
Asides the major focus on children, maternity and family photography services, what are the kind of works you wouldn’t consider?
If you were to go on a long vacation, what country would you travel to? Why?
No particular preference. Any beautiful and quiet country is fine.
Let’s talk a bit about your personal life, how soon do you plan to settle down?
If God shows me man now, I will marry by December. *smiles*
Describe your ideal kind of man in three words.
A supernatural man.