I am driven by passion to achieve my goals – Mubarak
Bakare Mubarak is a model, cultural ambassador and co-founder of Expedition 54 Limited. He talks to NOAH BANJO about his career and other issues
How? ‘Or’ What would you describe your job?
I am a young African development avant-garde, who relies on his unique status as a model to strategically promote African culture, while integrating art, tourism and humanitarian aid.
Thanks to my newly co-founded start-up, Expedition 54 Limited, I am creating meaningful business relationships between Africa and the rest of the world. In the midst of this, I am spreading my message of peace, unity and solidarity across the world.
As an ambassador, I am responsible for spreading this vision.
What services does your company offer?
We are an Africa-focused organization, promoting economic growth through integration and important connections between businesses in Africa and other parts of the world, with a particular focus on Africans in the Diaspora.
Our goal is to develop an ecosystem that promotes opportunities for interactions and integrations between stakeholders aligned with the development of Africa.
The start of something new is usually difficult. How did you navigate the industry when you started out?
Starting something new is usually difficult, but passion and enthusiasm have a way of neutralizing any difficulties in their path.
When I started, the goal was to leverage modeling to position myself for global impact and carve out a niche in the industry. As such, the goal has always been the driving force, making it seem effortless.
Many people think that Western culture is eroding African culture. How can young people contribute to the promotion of cultural values?
Really, African culture seems to be disappearing, especially because the younger generations are so absorbed in Western culture.
On the other hand, there are a lot of efforts put in place by a few conscious Africans to preserve our culture and heritage. More than ever, I am proud to be part of the young African generation which is leading the way and systematically defending our culture and our heritage. However, a lot of work needs to be done to mentally “decolonize” and emancipate the average African millennial.
This will allow us to take full charge of our own narratives. If we want people to take us seriously, telling our stories is one of the most important things we should start doing.
From your perspective, what roles do history and tourism play in promoting culture?
History and tourism are one of the bases of cultural promotion. The story facilitates the awareness of his being and his identity. It is seen as a compass that brings clarity of the past, present and future. When history is lost, it is as if one is lost in the desert.
What form of support do you get to fuel your passion?
I am grateful for the moral support and prayers of my family, as well as the encouragement of friends and supporters.
In the end, I learned that joy and fulfillment come when you reach your goal, and that kept me going.
Who and what inspires you?
I am inspired by things that were considered impossible in the past but are now made possible by brave and innovative minds. I realized that a lot of things are considered impossible until they are done.
Also, I am inspired by nature.
What are the highlights of your modeling career?
One of the greatest moments of my career is the fact that I was able to carve out a place for myself, strategically promote African culture, while incorporating art to convey my message of peace, unity and solidarity between the Africans.
In addition, I was commissioned to produce a fashion documentary, in which I appeared. It showcases and promotes African heritage through fashion, and it has been shown to a global audience.
The documentary provided insight into how aso-oke, a hand-woven indigenous African fabric, can be used to create contemporary designs. He also shed light on how the industry (aso-oke) can generate wealth and jobs if supported.
The project was a collaboration between African Fashion Week London and Sustainable Fashion Week New York. Two state first ladies with the largest fabric production in Nigeria were also involved.
I have also worked with renowned brands such as Femi Aina New York, Fashion1 Africa TV, MTN and Itel Mobile Nigeria.
When did you decide you wanted to be a model?
Thoughts began to come to me in fragments. I acted in a movie called The Red House Seven, and I was very comfortable in front of the camera.
It made me believe that I could do it, because being comfortable in front of the camera is one of the qualities necessary for a successful modeling career.
After that, I entered a competition where I taught models.
I see modeling as my deployment strategy to position myself for global impact and opportunity.
You are considered one of the tallest models in sub-Saharan Africa. What benefit has this added to your career?
My height is a divine endowment and it has an advantage for me in every way. Being so tall allows me to stand out effortlessly and it has served as a platform for me to showcase other attributes that I have. It gave me opportunities and brought me in front of great personalities.
As the Sixth Regional Ambassador of the World Chamber of Commerce for Global Business Relations and Education / Culture, what is expected of you?
The objective of the Sixth World Chamber of Commerce in the region is to build links and promote communication for the economic development of Africa. The organization has also created a new global business model between Africa, the Caribbean and America.
The sixth RGCC also focused on educating nations, prioritizing youth and women to broaden their knowledge of trade and the global economy.
What current projects are you working on?
We are about to launch an online platform that would serve as a community for verified African businessmen and entrepreneurs.
What recognition have you received for your work?
I have been recognized as a Young Ambassador by the African Achievers Award. In addition to being named the Sixth Regional Ambassador of the World Chamber of Commerce for Trade Liaison and Education / Culture to the World, I have also received mentions from the Nike Art Gallary; and the monarchs, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi; Alake d’Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; Olubadan from Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji; and Iwo’s Oluwo, Oba Abdulrasheed Akanbi.
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