Hajaratu is sitting and waiting on the next bus in downtown Minneapolis at a Starbucks the Summer of 2019 when she was approached by a photographer. Shocked that the photographer wants to take pictures of her and not wanting to miss an opportunity, she agrees to the request. In addition, on that opportune day, Hajaratu describes her look as having had a shaven head, bleached hair, nails done, and a cute outfit. She also states that she didn’t think much of her first experience with the Phusuda | @phusuda_ MIDWEST PHOTOGRAPHER, Instagram. None the less, Phusuda contacts her again about a year later and requests a second shoot. Hajaratu agrees to the second shoot and it was in that moment that she decides to pursue modeling as a career. Now, let’s take a moment and learn more about her aspirations and continuing journey as a fashion model.
Evolve | Fashion Week MN
Where did your first modeling audition take place? What was the experience like for you? Did family or friends attend your first modeling event?
Hajaratu: I’ve never had an audition per say yet but I’ve definitely had open calls that were pretty easy going.
My first open model call that I can recall was for this black-owned woman’s store at the Rosedale Mall. The store is called PrimRose. I had to create a portfolio of pictures of the most recent works that I’ve done. I selected photos based on my research of how to create a model portfolio. It was a good experience because I put myself out there! My mom went with me and it was just like a li’l interview; they wanted to get to know me and see my portfolio. I did not get picked but I still enjoyed the experience.
What was the first feeling you felt when you walked the runway for your first show or posed for your first photo shoot?
Hajaratu: The first time I walked the runway was for Evolve Fashion Week MN. The feeling I got when I walked the runway reminds me of the feeling of performing, having an audience. It was similar to how I felt when I had track meets in high school and when I had my orchestra concerts. It was like a thought that was always there but I couldn’t seem to notice it even if it was a part of my memories. But that night I remembered! I remembered and found a new aspect of modeling that I fell in love with even more. It was different from doing a photo shoot, a different feeling, a new thing I can practice on and perfect! At the end of the show, I was glad it was over and almost time for me to go home, cause it was a long ass day. But I was also super pumped and excited to explore more fashion shows in the future.
In the last three years, what fashion show would you like to share in regards to your experience? What one positive thing do you remember happening in your first show that you believe influenced your decision to continue modeling?
Hajaratu: I’ve only done one fashion show and that was the Evolve Fashion Week MN.
I was able to network with different artists, MUAs, models, fashion designers, and it was cool! I think I saw how much of an impact I could make and fashion can make on the world!
How long have you been modeling?
Hajaratu: One year, almost two years this summer!
What is it that you believe you bring to every fashion show that you participate?
Hajaratu: I’ve only participated in one fashion show, but I believe I bring more diversity, and also bring behind the scenes my amazing bubbly personality!
Have you modeled outside of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area? If so, where and what was that experience like?
Hajaratu: Not yet!
Do you have other activities outside of modeling? If so, choose an activity you’d like to share.
Hajaratu: I love to hangout with my friends, cook with my family, knit, dance, create music (rap, sing).
How often would you say that you participate in fashion shows?
Hajaratu: Not often, but I’m planning on participating in more this year!
What do you your friends and family think about your choice to model as a career?
Hajaratu: My friends and family are very supportive of my modeling career! They are one of the first people I show my pictures to when I get them! I believe they also are proud of me and how much I’ve accomplished, especially doing this all by myself with little to no experience at all. I love how they show their support by taking me to my shoots, or being there as my assistants!
How do you go about finding modeling opportunities?
Hajaratu: At first, I would look at photographers, stylists, MUA’s | Makeup Artist | that I would want to work with on Instagram and reach out to them to collaborate! My bestie a.k.a. my cousin Awazi is my manager and helped me a lot when I first started! But as I did my research, I started to join Facebook groups and made posts about wanting to build my portfolio and collaborate with people! Now, I tend to get people who reach out to me which is really dope!
What do you recommend that an aspiring fashion model do when seeking opportunities to model?
Hajaratu: I would say first, if you believe you can do it, then baby you CAN! Second, I would say know what kind of modeling you want to get into! So that means doing a lot of research of what modeling is and the different types of modeling that’s out there. So research, research, research! Also start taking pictures of yourself if you haven’t found any photographers to collaborate with, your social media is your online portfolio. Another thing is Facebook groups! Joining modeling Facebook groups in your city or a city that you’re traveling to is also really great, but you do have to be cautious about scams and creeps, although they can be used as a great tool to network and start your modeling career as well as make some new modeling friends!
What do you wish that you had learned about modeling prior to becoming a model?
Hajaratu: Understanding the weight of influence you can potentially have as well as gaining more attention on social media. Some people might even put you on a pedestal, which happens but I just find it an interesting thing what we do as humans.
Did you attend a modeling school? If you did not attend a modeling school, what was the reason you chose not to attend a modeling school?
Hajaratu: I did not attend any modeling schools, honestly, I didn’t have the funds for it. But I am self determined and did my own research at YouTube University. The internet has so many great resources and there are sooo many videos and people who are willing to talk about their experiences. One YouTube channel that I love is this model named Amudat Hassan. She’s a Freelance/Agency Model! She’s so beautiful and her videos and resources are so helpful!! It’s taught me a lot and allowed me to make sure I know what I’m getting into. But I do want to invest more into a modeling school soon!
I’m a very spiritual person and believe everything happens for a reason…
Have you plans to stay in the Twins City to model or relocate elsewhere to continue modeling? If so, where and why?
Hajaratu: I definitely plan to move elsewhere, not only to explore modeling in different cities and states, but also I know that I don’t want to live in MN | Minnesota forever. I know that its different in different cities and it would be nice to see what that experience is like as well as year round warm weather!
Which city do you closely identify with as your career location, Minneapolis or St. Paul?
Hajaratu: I would say my automatic answer would be the Twin Cities, I’ve worked in both citiesbefore as well as with creatives from both cities too!
What one thing would you like people to know about you as a person and as a fashion model?
Hajaratu: As a growing person, I’m a very spiritual person and believe everything happens for a reason; For Me, Not to Me. I want to move and grow in this world with intention and being mindful and self aware of my actions, thoughts, feelings, and understanding how to cultivate the balance of it all. I love learning and challenging who I am and who I think I am in the present moments. I’m always changing and transforming into someone new. Overall, I’m really down to earth, but I’m not perfect and don’t expect myself to be. I love to laugh and have fun, uplift people and support my tribe.
As a fashion model, I love perfecting my craft and having fun at a shoot but also executing the vision of the concept. I do take my work seriously. I’ve taken time to prioritize modeling, doing my research, organizing my photos in my folders, practicing posing, and being intentional about where I wanna go and what I wanna do with modeling. I’m also still me at the end of the day. I believe that I carry myself very professionally and intentionally when I interact with people.
What area or areas of fashion modeling do you prefer to work? (runway, print, etc.)
Hajaratu: I love doing creative shoots and fashion shoots, but I would love to get into runway more! I kinda love the chaos of it and being able to wear cool and different outfits that are fitted to me.
Are you currently contracted with an agent or agency? If so, why did you choose this agent or agency?
Hajaratu: I am currently a Freelance Model. I’m not signed to any agency at the moment. | Hajaratu Jaafaru
Interview by | Elaine Pizzini
Hajaratu Jaafaru | Fashion Model