Bio & History
Iyabode Ololade Remilekun Odusoga, better known as Lola Odusoga, was born in June 1977 in Turku, Finland. Lola’s father is from Nigeria and mother is from Finland. Lola lived her childhood with her mother and two half brothers from her mothers side.
From an early age she was very active and energetic, and wanted to dance and sing all the time. She did ballet, studied in school`s musical class, competed in ballroom and latin dances and rode horses. As a single mom of three, Lola´s mother was struggling with hobbies, schedules and the financial side. Both Lola and her mother faced a lot of racism because of the Lola’s different skin colour.
When Lola was a child, there were not many people in Finland with different ethnical backgrounds. She was stared and pointed everywhere she went. Lola was constantly asked about her skin color, where her mother had adopted her from, and why she did’t have a dad. She got used to the questions and bullying, and the fact that she would never fit in. Little by little she started to turn being different into a strength.
Lola started modeling in 1989 and for the first time her being different was considered as a positive thing. As she entered the beauty pageant world, people again began to question. She was different, wrong colour, and for some people´s opinions not white enough to represent Finland. The racism and hate were every day life for her. It continued until she came home with the title of Miss Universe second runner up. That´s when it all changed.
The Miss Finland title already changed Lola’s life, but Miss Universe runner up was a jackpot. It also changed the life and attitudes of many others, and Lola finally felt accepted as a Finn.
Living in Finland in the 1990´s, it was impossibly to miss the Lola hype. She was everywhere all the time. Every day she did interviews, television shows, photo shoots, fashion shows, commercials – you name it, she was there. Lola became a public figure, and she has stayed in the public eye ever since. She has been frequently on magazine covers and she still is.
Professionally Lola has always done a lot. She has worked mostly in beauty, fashion and entertainment industry, and has done many projects at the same time. First years she stayed in her local modeling agency in Turku, but started soon working independently on the side. In 2000 she left the agency and a year later she started to work as an entrepreneur.
She has been determined to spread her working area and improve her skills. She has worked with many of the best known Finnish companies and many international companies. She has travelled around the world working and is still highly respected of her achievements.
Lola has been an ambassador in Finnish events in England and USA, and has been invited to both President`s residence and President`s Palace. Lola has won titles such as ”Vuoden Turkulainen” and has been listed as one of the top 100 most significant Finnish people.
The achievement she is most proud of, is the way she has been changing the attitudes and opening doors to diversity and tolerance in her country. She is an icon, and she was the first half black person that the media and people really got to know. Her work in that area still continues. Lola talks in schools, events, interviews and throug her own channels, such as her blog. Tolerance and acceptance are never out of style.
Lola is best known not only by her beauty, but also her devotion to work and ability to do a lot. She often has many things going on at the same time. She is known about her character and her honesty. She is strong and brave, and definitely the one who is not afraid to speak her mind.
For Lola setting a good example is important, as a mother of two and as a public figure. She believes that by always trying to set a good example in your own life, everyone has a chance of making a difference in the world.
Lola still lives in her home city of Turku with her teenage girl and boy. From there she travels daily where ever the work might take her, another city or a country.
She loves that in her life every day is different. Being an entrepreneur and being in charge of her own work and schedules is very important to her. She enjoys the chance and thinks it´s good to truly enjoy what you do for a living. One day she is posing for camera, on the other hosting an event or speaking to the public. Some days she is making tv productions or coaching new talents to the beauty and fashion world. And she loves every minute of it!
Lola has achieved a lot in her career, even published her first biography in 2015, but she still feels that she´s all the time learning and starting something new. She is just getting started!
(Photo by Bo Stranden)