When South African Lerato Moloi first met Adeloa Ariyo, she was not only struck by the Nigerian model’s beauty but her friendliness and kindness.

“I’ve been in this industry for years and I won’t forget the first time I met Adeola. She was so sweet and I thought to myself: what a nice girl. When the Elizabeth Arden team told me that they had chosen her to represent their brand and they wanted my input on if they had selected the right girl, I didn’t hesitate and told them she was perfect.”

Lerato, who has been the international beauty house’s South African ambassador for five years, was succeeded by Adeola at a function last night. Adeola (28) now becomes the African ambassador of Elizabeth Arden and will represent the cosmetic company across the continent.

I’ve always had a passion for helping underprivileged women and children. Putting my ambassadorship to good use is very important to me

Signed to Boss models and based in Cape Town, Adeola has been living in the country for the past 10 years. She has walked the runway for top designers at prestigious local fashion shows as well internationally at London Fashion Week.

The leggy beauty was discovered at the age 13 in London. Six years later she entered the Face of Africa competition in 2005, and although she didn’t win, made it to the top five. The competition increased her profile and she moved to Cape Town.

With magazine editorials in Marie Claire, Elle, True Love and Glamour, Adeola has gone on to create a name for herself in the fashion and modeling industry.

When asked where she saw herself in 2010, Adeola answered simply: “Hmm. Who knows? One thing I know for sure, I would have a family of my own, a career I absolutely love and as for modeling we’d just have to wait and see!”

Four years later and Adeola is certainly living her dream. After she was officially named the brand ambassador, the part-time actress was visibly emotional. Dressed in a camel coloured gown with her hair in an elegant chignon she said she couldn’t believe the moment had finally arrived.

Of their decision to have Adeola front their brand, Corne Nel, Managing Director of Elizabeth Arden said the company is committed to the belief that ‘To be beautiful is the birthright of every woman’.

“As a company we want to celebrate each woman’s unique beauty through individuality, diversity and original expressions of beauty. Adeola has all of these qualities and as a prestige beauty brand we wanted to choose a spokesperson that African women could identify with,” said Nel in a statement.

His sentiments were echoed by Lerato, who added that the ambassadorship could not have gone to a more deserving person.

“I look forward to being her mentor. She already has me on speed dial on both my phones,” laughed Lerato. “My advice to her is to not believe the hype. The industry is a tough one and the pressure can get to you. But she just needs to stay true to herself,” says Lerato.

With a diary filled with high profile appearances and glamorous events, Adeola has her work laid out for her. She intends to work closely with charities dealing in woman and child abuse, a cause close to her heart.

“I’ve always had a passion for helping underprivileged women and children. Putting my ambassadorship to good use is very important to me,” smiles Adeola.