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Owolabi Misturah on the Benefits of Creative Collaborations in Africa

Owolabi Misturah Abisola is a copywriter, creative writer, and image/ fashion stylist. She also runs Misty Glam Company. This is the first truly inclusive commercial modeling agency in Nigeria with a portfolio of models and actors across diverse groups, body types, ages, and skin colors.

Why do you think collaborations are important for creatives?

Creative Collaborations are extremely important, especially Africans. We may have experienced a gradual shift in societal prejudice against the creative industry over the last decade, but more work still needs to be done to increase the acceptance level of creativity as a valid profession.

This is why it is beneficial for creatives to work together. There is really strength in numbers and no creative can do it alone. The visibility, the exposure, opportunities, and increased success rate that a creative gets from collaboration cannot be overemphasized.

When more creatives collaborate, the ripple effect is the growth rate for the creative industry as a whole. We are yet to tap even half of the potential that this industry holds and collaborations are the fastest route to achieving that. 

If you were to go into a collaboration, what would be your personal goal?

My personal goal for every collaboration is exposure.

Collaboration with other creatives is beneficial when it affords me the opportunity to reach a larger audience and access opportunities that would ordinarily not be available to me on a solo project.

I also enjoy creative collaborations that lead to co-creation. There’s just something so powerful about the marriage of ideas with others. Getting to experience creativity from other people with diverse mindsets and creative processes is another goal I always want to achieve when I collaborate with other creatives. 

What are the requirements for you to enter a collaboration with someone or a group of people?

For me, all it takes to collaborate with other creatives is aligned interest. If there is a creative whose goals and creative process aligns with mine, then I’m game for collaboration. And by aligned interests, it means in terms of creative principles, values, and ethics. I would never collaborate with someone or a group of creatives who are desperately unethical and would do anything for visibility. 

What does successful collaboration look like to you?

Successful collaboration for me is one that leads to awareness, engagement, or conversion. And by these, I mean, after executing a collaborative project with other creatives, I look forward to acceptance from the intended audience.

Factors such as the level at which people engage with the project, the level of awareness, and conversations that have been created are what make collaborations successful to me.

What does a failed collaboration look like to you?

A failed collaboration for me is one that does not achieve the intended results. Let’s say I collaborate with other creatives for a campaign against abuse, then upon execution and release of this project, it is misunderstood and the feedback is negative on arrival. Then that’s a failed collaboration. 

Of all the collaborations you’ve had, can you tell us about your best, worst, and funniest experiences?

I think my best collaboration would be a recent one launched on Valentine’s Day. It was a shoot that was centered around True Love. I collaborated with an amazing photographer called Baps Studios and a makeup artist called Faces By Maw. We created a campaign that speaks to love beyond looks or physical appearance. I was the stylist as well as creative director on set. It was an emotional project because we were able to achieve the intended result of making people realize that love goes beyond physical disabilities or any other form of limitations whatsoever. We were also able to get the world to see how diverse we were as a modeling agency. 

My worst collaboration was when I first launched my modeling agency. I collaborated with a makeup artist for a bridal-themed shoot. After the shoot, she refused to share the pictures with the agency. She also refused to tag the brand even though other creatives were tagged. She claimed the agency didn’t have as many followers as the other creatives tagged so there was no need for us to be recognized. 

For funny collaboration experiences, I don’t think I’ve had any. 

Can you say that collaborations have helped you? How?

Collaborations have really helped me as a creative because through them, I have built a diverse portfolio of my work. I’ve also met a lot of amazing creatives who have now become a crucial part of my network.

Collaborations have also helped me learn from diverse people. Every project with other creatives has been a learning process for me. 

You have the opportunity to put together a team of 5 African creatives, including yourself for a project. Who are you calling?

Ah! This is a good one.

I’m definitely coming with The Orange Culture by Adebayo Oke Lawal, Meraki By Onome by Onome Ezekiel, The Deji Oluokun and Ibidunni Damilola 

Chioma Mmeje
Chioma Mmeje