Gbolahan Yusuf, the Nigerian Restaurant Attendant Turned International Model

The story of Gbolahan Yusuf, a Nigerian restaurant attendant turned worldwide model, is inspiring.

Yusuf’s incredible shift from serving tables at The Place restaurant in Surulere, Lagos, to strutting the global catwalk as a Fendi model became viral on Sunday.

Temitope Olaore, a model scout for Cias Models Management, documented the metamorphosis on Instagram.

Femi Alabi’s organization scouts, develops, and manages models with partners in France, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Italy.

Olaore, a frequent client at the restaurant where Yusuf worked, saw him as a “successful model rather than a mere attendant”.

Yusuf was an attendant at The Place restaurant in Surulere

In 2023, after seeing Yusuf’s distinct appearance and intrinsic charisma, she forwarded his video to her supervisor, who became intrigued, asked more photographs, and approved.

Following permission, the essential review and preparation work began. Yusuf’s preparation includes measuring his height, improving his appearance, and teaching him how to walk like a professional model.

Then, in 2024, Yusuf made his Fendi modeling debut at Milan Fashion Week.

“I was a very regular customer at the restaurant in Surulere last year. I had visited there countless times to get food and seen Gbolahan quite often,” she wrote.

“Until one day, it clicked! I looked at him as he printed my bill over the desk and thought. I said to myself, ‘How come I haven’t seen this? How did it take me so long to realise?’ Without hesitating, I took out my phone and made the first video on the slide. I sent it straight to my boss, Femi Swaris.

“Today, Gbolahan, from behind the desk as a restaurant server boy in Lagos, Nigeria, made his debut in Milan for Fendi. I’m short on words for his first-ever runway appearance; all I can say is, glory be to God.

“Congratulations to the entire Cias team and Gbolahan for his incredible journey from behind the desk in Lagos to the runways of Milan!”.

Yusuf has previously modeled for Fendi, an Italian luxury fashion company, and JW Anderson, a UK design name.

Yusuf made his modelling debut for Fendi at the Milan Fashion Week

Yusuf rushed to Instagram following his first modeling engagement to thank the agency for believing in him.

He also posted images from the show and described himself as “blessed”.

“So blessed. I walked my first show with so much gratitude in my heart. Thank you to the entire team of Fendi for having me,” he wrote.

“A big thank you to my amazing agents for believing in me. Thank God. Thank you everyone for your kind wishes and messages.”

Elated by the support from Nigerians, Yusuf added: “I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support”.

“You all don’t know me but have shown me so much love. I don’t take it for granted. God bless you all.”

Yusuf’s incredible metamorphosis has continued to earn him praise on social media sites.

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