At only 5 years old, the doll-like looks of Nigerian-born Jare Ijalana have made her a viral sensation on social media. The child’s beauty and direct stare—framed by a halo of naturally textured hair (a wig)—have captured the attention and imagination of tens of thousands of commenters; some of whom have questioned whether the child’s beauty was real or digitally manipulated.
“Oh yes she’s human,” Lagos photographer Mofe Bamuyiwa captioned one of the portraits. “She’s also an angel!”
Of the mature-beyond-her-years gaze and poise of the young child, Bamuyiwa wrote, “I want to portray the interception between her childhood and adulthood so both stay timeless,” adding in another post, “Posing them as adults was my trick to create it a timeless portrait! Jare, when you clock 21 remember to do same pose and style.”
But little Jare is only the youngest of three beauties in her family; along with older sisters Jomi, 7, and Joba, 10, the youngsters are known as the “J3 Sisters,” and are quickly becoming comfortable in front of the camera, as evidenced by their family’s social media pages and Bamuyiwa’s photographs of Jomi, which have garnered almost as an enthusiastic response as her little sister’s.
While they aren’t professional models, who knows what the future has in store for the J3 sisters? In a world that doesn’t always celebrate the beauty of black girls, the overwhelmingly positive response to their images is refreshing.
As for photographer Bamuyiwai, she tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she hopes her photos of the 5-year-old are inspiring. “All I want is for everyone to see Jare’s powerful potential,” she says. “I want the photo to speak to her when she has reached her adulthood.”