Adieu, Yemi Fawaz


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Nigeria’s first professional model, Yemi Fawaz is dead.

Yemi, who pioneered professional modelling in Nigeria, died at the age of 64 following her battle with congestive heart failure and other related diseases.

She started the first modeling school and professional modeling agency in Nigeria and in West Africa, giving aspiring young African models the chance to pursue their dreams.

Born in Nigeria to a Lebanese father and a Nigerian mother, Yemi came into the Nigerian fashion industry in the late 70s and gave it a new face inspite of the challenges she encountered.

Sadly, as things became more difficult in the industry, Yemi, closed down her school and relocated to New York in March 1997 with her now 33-years old daughter, Tobi.

“When there is no love, where there is no support, when jealousy is more than achievement, things cannot work. I fought for years in this country. I fought so much with the advertising companies to the extent that I became their enemy. The advertising companies blacklisted my company for years. I suffered in silence. My models walked away from me because they were not getting jobs.

All these happened because I was always telling them the way they were handling children was not good. A job that deserved at that time N15,000, you will give them N10,000. Upon that, they would still sleep with the models”, she told Encomium some of the many reasons she relocated, in a 2016 interview.

In New York, she started working in the fashion industry and incorporated her business of promoting African fashion. Yemi wanted to ensure both white and black people fell in love with African wears like iro and buba, George and kente.

When she became a born again Christian and ordained a deaconess, her modeling business suffered a bit, however, she was still recognised for the exploits she did in the industry.

For over 30 years, she had a successful career as a fashion and photographic model, beauty promoter/consultant, fashion designer, trade show organizer, chef and a restaurateur.

Having spent 19 years in New York, she came back to Nigeria to start Banner of Love International Outreach Inc,  a non-governmental organization set to provide medicare and eradicate poverty among the underprivileged.

The inspiration to set up Banner of Love came when I was diagnosed with a large heart. I didn’t know anything about NGO. I was told my heart was damaged and there was nothing they could do.I turned my face to the wall and I talked to the Lord. If the Lord healed me, I would go out there to help other people”, she told Encomium.

Until her death, the mother of one never got married. She had her daughter before she became a born again Christian

“I give God all the glory that I have never been married and I have never been divorced…. If God converted me the way He converted me now, I would not have had a baby out of wedlock. But at that time, I was in the world, I didn’t know the difference. I was an unbeliever, I was a con­venient Christian in Africa where we have 2, 3 or 4, boyfriends at a time. If I was a Chris­tian then, it couldn’t have happened”, she told The Sun in a 2016 interview.

Yemi’s daughter confirmed the news of her mother’s death through her own Facebook page.

It is with great sadness that I am announcing the passing of my Mother Deaconess Yemi Fawaz. We thank God for her well…

Posted by Deaconess Yemi Fawaz on Thursday, February 21, 2019

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  1. Aleshinloye Folaremi

    Aleshinloye Folaremi

    February 24, 2019 at 11:55 am


  2. Alakeade Ajayi

    Alakeade Ajayi

    February 24, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    Omg! She’s gonna be seriously missed. Noticed she’s not been updating on her page lately, got curious and messages her but to no avail. Rest on in the auntie Yemi😭😭😭

  3. Kenny Adigun Arulogun

    Kenny Adigun Arulogun

    February 24, 2019 at 12:11 pm


  4. Gloria Osaremem

    Gloria Osaremem

    February 24, 2019 at 12:14 pm


  5. Ayoola Fedunsho Abolarin

    Ayoola Fedunsho Abolarin

    February 24, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    Adieu Mama Yemi fawaz

  6. Nnedi Eze

    Nnedi Eze

    February 24, 2019 at 12:21 pm


  7. Stella Adebayo

    Stella Adebayo

    February 24, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    REST in peace ma

  8. Blessing Tor

    Blessing Tor

    February 24, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    May her soul rest in peace

  9. Rukayat Sulaimon

    Rukayat Sulaimon

    February 24, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    R I P

  10. Tomilola Clara

    Tomilola Clara

    February 24, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    R. I. P

  11. Ronke Oduyemi

    Ronke Oduyemi

    February 24, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    So sad

  12. Esther Silas Obiesie

    Esther Silas Obiesie

    February 24, 2019 at 1:10 pm

    May her soul rest in peace.

  13. Augustina Ogbogu Adeleke

    Augustina Ogbogu Adeleke

    February 24, 2019 at 1:22 pm


  14. Edith Amaka

    Edith Amaka

    February 24, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    May ur soul rest in peace

  15. Nathaniel Kachollom

    Nathaniel Kachollom

    February 24, 2019 at 1:33 pm


  16. Okondu Nneka Helen

    Okondu Nneka Helen

    February 24, 2019 at 1:34 pm

    RIP Ma

  17. Bassey Mercy

    Bassey Mercy

    February 24, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    May her soul rest in peace

  18. Yemisi Edward

    Yemisi Edward

    February 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm


  19. Aita Ndiaye

    Aita Ndiaye

    February 24, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Rest in peace

  20. Patricia Nnoshiri Ayinde

    Patricia Nnoshiri Ayinde

    February 24, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    Rest in peace ma

  21. Nosa Ehigie

    Nosa Ehigie

    February 24, 2019 at 2:06 pm


  22. Rose Solomon

    Rose Solomon

    February 24, 2019 at 2:11 pm


  23. Gift Onaghise James

    Gift Onaghise James

    February 24, 2019 at 2:20 pm


  24. Abosede Oyebola

    Abosede Oyebola

    February 24, 2019 at 2:20 pm


  25. Faith Jane Kwashi

    Faith Jane Kwashi

    February 24, 2019 at 2:24 pm


  26. Philomena Frank

    Philomena Frank

    February 24, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Aaaaah! Sorry to hear this. May her soul rest in perfect peace.

  27. Elizabeth Iweanoge

    Elizabeth Iweanoge

    February 24, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    May she rest in peace.

  28. Quadri Basirat Abiola

    Quadri Basirat Abiola

    February 24, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    Rest in peace

  29. Rachel Hamilton

    Rachel Hamilton

    February 24, 2019 at 3:24 pm


  30. Immaculate Akalegbere

    Immaculate Akalegbere

    February 24, 2019 at 3:53 pm


  31. Ify S. Onianwa

    Ify S. Onianwa

    February 24, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    What a beauty! in peace and give my mom a hug for me xx

  32. Okafor Nneka

    Okafor Nneka

    February 24, 2019 at 7:33 pm


  33. Joy Etomi

    Joy Etomi

    February 24, 2019 at 7:48 pm

    May her soul rest in peace. Amen

  34. Wilhelmina Nana

    Wilhelmina Nana

    February 25, 2019 at 10:50 am


  35. Olubunmmi Omowunmi Adeshina

    Olubunmmi Omowunmi Adeshina

    February 26, 2019 at 3:20 am


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