Whether you own an agency, are an aspiring model or just can’t get enough of the fashion scene, The ANSM Model Search has something for everyone!
On September 10th, the grand finale will be held in Ghana with world-renowned models, guest judges, live musical performances, and model search finalists all converging for an unforgettable night of fashion.
Janet Jumbo is a Nigerian model who featured on the British Vogue February edition alongside Adut Akech, Amar Akwayi and many other top African models.
The 20-year-old Jumbo was first spotted on her way back from church in 2019. Now, she has become the first Nigerian to walk for Louis Vuitton
In the same year, Jumbo strutted down the runway during the Louis Vuitton Women’s Fall-Winter 2019 Fashion Show at the Louvre in Paris.
Her agency took to Instagram to announce the exciting news writing, “Today, Janet Jumbo is the first Nigerian model to walk the Louis Vuitton show exclusively. We feel nothing but all shades of happiness and we can’t contain it.
From Nigeria to Louis Vuitton
The teenager is from Rivers State in Southern Nigeria. Her modelling career started after a scout noticed her in Lagos state. She was spotted on her way back from church on a Sunday.
Since then, she has been signed to an agency called Raw Model Management Nigeria. Jumbo is also signed to IMG Models Worldwide.
This agency manages some of the most famous models in the world like Kate Moss, Alek Wek, Gisele Bündchen, Joan Smalls, Karlie Kloss, Miranda Kerr, and Candice Swanepoel.
Jumbo also expressed her happiness online. She shared the epic moment writing,https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/CtzB1IbEO/
Here is how Nigerians are reacting to the news:https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/hhaDnXIaEZ/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/mq459R2wq/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/BGmfWcPVN/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/4GK9wMq4b/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/tpgzJaFtO/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/AaFv4PvuW/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/anKtTDjES/https://pulsembed.eu/p2em/n-aFFiuCo/
With a new generation of African models in the spotlight, fashion is at last embracing what it is to be truly global.
It’s a grey, mild-for-November Tuesday morning, in a brutalist indoor car park off an industrial road within a not particularly fashionable enclave of west London. There’s a large table, methodically laid with lateral flow tests. One would be justified in thinking that this is not where the magic happens. But then, a door opens into a cavernous studio with dramatic black drapes. Inside, nine striking Black models – their facial features varied and distinct – await hair and make-up. They are playfully conversing; I note snippets of Dinka and hints of other mother tongues peppering the conversation. They’re laughing and teasing one another while moving and mouthing the lyrics to Wizkid’s “Don’t Dull”, “Ojuelegba”, “Essence” and pretty much the entire tracklist of Made in Lagos. These women are a wholly different type of model and are currently pushing the boundaries not only of beauty but of the entire fashion world.
Adut, Anok, Nyagua, Janet Jumbo, Maty Fall and co are representative of an ongoing seismic shift that became more pronounced on the spring/summer ’22 runways. Prada, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu and many more were awash with dark-skinned models whose African heritage stretched from Senegal to Rwanda to Sudan to Nigeria to Ethiopia. For an industry long criticised for its lack of diversity, as well as for perpetuating beauty standards seen through a Eurocentric lens, this change is momentous.
“I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart,” recalls Edward Enninful, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief and European editorial director, explaining the inspiration behind shooting an all Black, all African cover. His excitement for this moment is tangible: “These girls,” he continues, “are redefining what it is to be a fashion model.” This, he asserts, is well overdue. “You know, fashion tends to follow waves. We’ve had the Brazilian wave. We had the Dutch wave, the Russian wave, the Eastern European wave… And while, in the last decade, the Black model has come to prominence, I love that we are finally giving more space to African beauty.” Unlike the trends that have gone before, which favoured a certain aesthetic – the perpetually sun-kissed Amazonian curves of the Brazilians, the strong jawlines of the Eastern Europeans – this African wave taps into a variety of aesthetics from across that vast continent.
Consider Adut Akech. At 22, she is arguably the most successful African model working today. Following her runway debut at Saint Laurent, in 2016, her international Vogue covers have run into double digits, she has notched up numerous fashion and beauty campaigns – from Valentino to Estée Lauder – and recently bought a house in LA. Undoubtedly she has inspired other African models, such as Janet Jumbo, the 19-year-old Nigerian who walked Louis Vuitton and Burberry and says the wave of success African models are riding right now “gives me hope that I can succeed at this”.READ MOREBritish Vogue’s February Cover Celebrates The Rise Of The African Model
Akech, dressed in a towelling robe, her tousled hair redolent of a protagonist in a James Barnor photograph, recalls the landscape of five years ago as a world away from what we see now. “When I first started modelling internationally…” She makes a face, eyes incredulous, and lets out a wry laugh. “I would literally be the only Black, dark-skinned girl in the show. There were no Sudanese models, no African models. Now,” she says, smiling, “I go to a show and there are girls from my country, girls from Africa who look like me. So yes, there has been a huge change. It has gone from me being the only one at a show to 15 or 20 of us. I’m just so happy that we are finally at this place. I was tired of always feeling out of place and feeling like an outcast.”
The experience of not belonging resonates with Anok Yai, a fellow Sudanese model, who in February 2018 became only the second Black model ever to open a Prada show (the first was Naomi Campbell, in 1997). “In the beginning, I felt really isolated,” she says. “I got thrown into the modelling industry very quickly and I kind of had to navigate it on my own. I also have social anxiety, and so I struggled a lot with connecting with people. Backstage, there would maybe be one other Black girl, but now my tribe is backstage. I can speak my own language to my friends. They are basically like my family.”
For all the celebration of this moment, the elephant in the room remains. Why are we only just beginning to truly embrace African models on the international runways? Particularly when, as Omoyemi Akerele, the founder of Lagos Fashion Week, says, the issue cannot be put down to a lack of fresh talent: “Over the last decade, we have worked alongside agencies dedicated to discovering and nurturing new faces from across the continent. Models like Mayowa Nicholas started out walking at Lagos Fashion Week.”Most Popular
The pandemic, as well as the logistics of the African continent, have, Vogue contributing casting director Ashley Brokaw explains, played a significant role in the lack of African models on the international runways. “The reason everyone saw a lot of new faces this season was really a function of access,” she says. “Prior to the pandemic, we had sorted through initial visa issues – some countries were definitely easier than others – we got all the paperwork, we got all the necessary travel documents for the girls done in advance, and then everything shut down. So, the explosion of African girls on the catwalk that we suddenly see is a result of things opening up.”
The previous scarcity of African models, continues Brokaw, can also be attributed to outmoded casting processes. “Over the years, I have had to do my scouting through an agent, perhaps based in Milan or Paris, who would filter their choices down to me. Now, thanks to social media, I can reach out directly to scouts in say Rwanda or Burundi or Uganda and find a great girl. They can also text, WhatsApp or find me through Instagram. The level of access through social media is just incredible. This means I’m now able to choose girls through my own lens, which makes the process so much more democratic and inclusive.”
The power of social media has also been a game-changer for Piergiorgio Del Moro, the founder of DM Casting, which he runs together with Samuel Ellis Scheinman. “Every day,” begins Del Moro, who discovered Akech, “I receive tons of messages and images from scouts and potential models from all over the world.” The previous system, which, Scheinman explains, “came down to where money was invested to find models”, meant that the Black girls cast were predominantly light-skinned African Americans, and only one or two were African because the agencies didn’t have the right connections to get girls from Africa into Europe. “And so, for us, we see social media as a real change in terms of how scouting has blossomed in Africa. We are now able to have a photo of a girl sent to us in a nanosecond.”
Logistics, economics and technology aside, there is no denying how much the global reckoning around race, diversity and inclusion, heightened in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, has forced a shift in mindset towards racial inequities and unconscious bias. The casting process, agrees Scheinman, is no exception. “The industry has definitely gone through a soul search about what diversity means, what inclusivity means, and what being truly global means when it comes to casting. We really saw this starting to shift about five years ago, and so for us as casting directors, the more options we have, the more we’re going to want to explore every version of beauty. Now that we have access to these amazing girls, there’s no reason not to work with them.”Most Popular
As the casting director for Kerby Jean-Raymond’s label Pyer Moss, which actively celebrates Blackness and casts accordingly, Katherine Mateo has long been vocal about the narrow ideals of beauty perpetuated by the fashion industry. And she’s not afraid to highlight the complicity of the casting process. “For many years, we have been stuck on what society has trained us to believe is the ‘perfect’ skin colour, size, age, height. But the fact of the matter is people want to see the world that reflects their reality. Our world does not have one type of beauty, and we as casting directors have the power to directly connect with brands and publications and hold them accountable for the change we would like to see.”
Del Moro adds, “It is our job to push diversity. Diversity of age, diversity of size, diversity of skin colour. Some editors, like Edward [Enninful], have over the years raised their voices about diversity, and you also have some designers who have it at the forefront of their minds. But where they don’t, it’s our job to push for it.”
Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli is known to champion African models such as Akech; his groundbreaking spring/summer ’19 haute couture show famously featured an all Black cast. “For months, I had been nourishing the desire, the fantasy, to make couture inclusive. Simple as it may seem, it started with an iconic picture by Cecil Beaton of the Charles James salon. I said to myself, ‘What if instead of these white-swan models we had a salon filled with Black women wearing couture?’” His research took him to archive editions of Jet and Ebony. What he discovered strengthened his resolve. “Magazines [aimed at a Black readership] had to buy most of the clothes for their editorials, because couture houses didn’t want to lend to them. The more I delved into it, the more I felt I had to do something. Not to say or to promise, but to do. Fashion is the language I use to express my values and ideas, and I thought the only trustworthy, valuable statement that I could make was through a couture show with only Black models. Do I think it’s enough? No, it’s not. But every time I look at that finale picture, I know it meant something, and I know I want to do more.”Most Popular
While he is under no illusion about the mammoth hurdle to eradicate racial inequity in fashion, Piccioli is excited about the current trajectory of African models. “I am pretty sure there is no coming back from this. It is unlikely to be replaced by the constraints and unreachable standards of beauty. These must be defeated because being standardised does not belong in the future we wish to witness.”
The characteristically straight-talking Bethann Hardison, a trailblazing veteran Black model, agent and long-time activist for diversity in the industry, has reservations. She suggests caution over what could potentially be a double-edged sword. To be clear, she asserts that this isn’t to rain on anyone’s parade; her perspective comes from experience: “Remember, I’ve been around for a while, so I see these things through a different gaze,” she explains. “Of course, I believe in racial diversity, but the good news and the bad news is that fashion changes. I worry that this situation becomes this thing where, ‘If you’re Black you’re in,’ which means then at some point, you could be out.” Again, to avoid misinterpretation, Hardison adds a caveat. “Look, I’m not saying that this will absolutely be the case in this situation, but generally when you lean so hard in one direction, the natural move after a while is to begin to lean far into the opposite end.”
There is validity to her point. There is a constant tug of war within the thorny triad of diversity, authenticity and longevity. Is it real? Will it last? For how long? Scheinman admits that there is an element of casting that is performative. “We have some clients for whom diversity is embedded in their DNA, and there are others where we have had to have very active discussions with them, where they then say, ‘I really want to change, I want to be more inclusive.’ While the industry perhaps hasn’t necessarily invested much in the way of size inclusivity, I feel like the racial aspect of diversity is the one that is most embedded. It’s like a non-negotiable. For Piergiorgio and me, there’s no question that the world could go back to, say, a ‘Russian casting’. It’s just not modern. Not only is diversity an obligation, it would be irresponsible to treat it as something so disposable.”READ MOREA Famous Photo Of Grace Jones Inspired The Beauty Looks In British Vogue’s February 2022 Cover Story
This is music to the ears of Akerele, who stresses that while ensuring representation from marginalised communities to reflect our “global village”, stakeholders must be mindful to ensure no one is left out of the conversation. “Casting directors across the world must hold themselves accountable to a higher standard. The underlying question should be, ‘Who am I excluding?’” This responsibility, however, argues Abrima Erwiah of the Ghana-based brand and social enterprise Studio One Eighty Nine, extends far beyond casting directors. The onus, she believes, is on everyone, from consumers to brands to editors and anyone who engages with the industry. “Yes,” she admits, echoing some of Hardison’s misgivings, “some people might see it as a trend and a moment and try and suck it dry to move on to the next sexy thing, but whether we believe we have power or not, we all have to come together and work on this as a community. If the logistics and the infrastructure are there to support these models, I think it will work.”Most Popular
It is a sentiment, a clarion call, if you will, echoed by Enninful. He believes the way to ensure that this “moment” isn’t transient, is to ensure the models’ careers go the distance. “It’s sad and heartbreaking for me to see girls who are on the rise suddenly taper off. We need to ensure these girls last. We have to invest in them, nurture them and support them with editorial, with advertising, with shows. It has to be 360.” Recalling Alek Wek’s early modelling career, he reveals the secret to her longevity: “Alek Wek didn’t suddenly become Alek Wek. There was a group of us behind girls like her, propelling them forward. This is what we have to do in all our different roles. Getting these girls and then throwing them away after one season? That has to stop.”
Outside, the grey skies have dimmed to a blue-black. The energy among the models is still high. The infectious sound of Afro B’s “Drogba (Joanna)” reverberates around the studio, and the frisson of excitement that permeated the air earlier in the day shows no sign of abating. As the hairstylist prepares her for another shot, Akech mulls over the hope that the uprising of African models goes beyond a trend. “I mean,” she says, choosing her words carefully, “that is the goal, that it becomes more than a moment.” And then, almost immediately, as if to correct herself, she answers more resolutely: “Actually, I don’t see it being a trend. Also,” she says, laughing, “there are so many of us – we are just not going to go out of style.”
Iman, the groundbreaking original African model, who not only paved the way but has long campaigned for diversity on the catwalk, has a message for Akech et al. “If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then let the beholder be you.” And her charge to the world? “All hail our African models with their jet-black skin, impossibly long limbs and natural hair, full of joy and absolutely no compromise.”
The February 2022 issue of British Vogue is on newsstands on 18 January
We love catwalk queens like Joan Smalls, Liu Wen, and Adriana Lima, but also get super excited to see fresh faces on the runway. Many fashion houses have been accused of lacking diversity in their casting, so we’ve paid special attention to models of colour featured in the shows. From New York, London, Milan and Paris there’s been some great talent this past season — here are 15 models of colour to keep an eye on.
1. Hiandra Martinez
Martinez opened the first Anthony Vaccarello-designed Saint Laurent show as an exclusive, and it’s easy to see why the Dominican model got that coveted spot. Her look and walk exude sexiness and toughness — a true embodiment of the designer’s signature style.
2. Lameka Fox
Fox was scouted by mega-model agency IMG on Instagram, so there’s no doubt that she’s gorgeous. She also has an awesome walk that landed her in shows Paco Rabanne, Topshop, and Thakoon this past season.
3. Halima Aden
Halima Aden has been unstoppable since walking her first runway show for Yeezy Season 5. Wearing a hijab and rocking her flawless skin, the Somali-American model made waves in the best way and has since booked more high-profile shows.
4. Marie Fofana
Hailing from Senegal, Fofana was a runway fixture in New York, Milan and Paris walking shows such as Rochas, MSGM and Altuzarra. With her luminous mahogany complexion and high cheekbones, she was absolutely breathtaking.
Khann’s glossy black hair and perfect features have landed her campaigns with Ralph Lauren, Macy’s and Lacoste in the past, but she also makes quite the impression sauntering down the runway. We spotted her at Rebecca Minkoff looking boho-beautiful.
6. Tatiana Elizabeth
We first saw this glowing goddess at the all-WOC show for Maki Oh and fell for her hazel eyes and endlessly long legs.
7. Crystal Noreiga
Pretty much no one can pull off sequins, plaid, logo shirts and face paint but somehow Noreiga mentioned to do it all and still look incredible at Ashish.
Africa is home to beautiful women from diverse cultural backgrounds. So, who are the top African supermodels? Here’s a list of the 10 top African models that have successfully broken the negative stereotypes in the modelling world, making the continent proud.
1. Alex Wek
Alek is a top black model. She was born in South Sudan and belongs to the Dinka Tribe. Alek was forced to flee the country due to the civil war. She is currently residing in Britain. Alek Wek started her modelling career in 1995 when she was 18 years old.
In 1996, Alek was signed to Ford Models. The following year, she appeared on the cover of Elle magazine. She was also declared the model of the year by MTV that same year. The African supermodel has modelled for Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce n Gabbana, Moschino, Ralph Lauren, and many other fashion houses.
2. Maria Borges
Maria Borges is one of the top African supermodels. She was born in Luanda, Angola, on October 28, 1992. Maria was discovered in 2010 during the Angolan edition of the contest Elite Model Look. Two years later, she signed with Supreme Agency. Maria appeared in Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show from 2013-2017.
She has also modelled for different modelling agencies, including the Mega modelling agency in Hamburg, IMG Los Angeles in Los Angeles, and IMG Australia in Sydney, just to mention but a few.
Maria is famous as one of the African models with natural hair. She was the first African model to rock natural hair at Victoria’s Secret show. Maria has had a successful modelling career. She was the second African model to appear on the cover of the Elle magazine after Alek Wek. Maria has appeared in beauty campaigns for Givenchy, Bobbi Brown, L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline, Tommy Hilfiger, C&A and H&M. In 2016, Maria became a global ambassador for L’Oréal, signing a multi-year deal spanning across hair, makeup, and skincare products. She is credited for using her status as a supermodel to put fashion designers from each country she visits on the map.
3. Candice Swanepoel
Candice Swanepoel is a black South African supermodel and philanthropist. She debuted her modelling career at the age of 15 years after being spotted by a model scout in a Durban Flea Market. She has appeared in many editorials and has walked the runway for Tommy Hilfiger, Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Kardashians’ swimwear and many other brands.
Candice has appeared in FHM’s annual 100 sexiest women poll multiple times, which makes her one of the most famous African female supermodels. In 2010, she was one of the featured models in the SWIM catalogue. The same year she became Victoria’s Secret Angel, and she officially opened the first Victoria’s Secret retail store in Canada. She was named the cover model of Victoria’s Secret Swim Catalogue. Swanepoel was chosen to wear the royal fantasy bra and its matching belt, which featured over 4200 precious gems. She won the Launch of the year award at the 5th annual Daily Front Row Awards in 2018 after launching her own swimwear collection.
4. Herieth Paul
Herieth Paul is a Tanzanian model born on December 14, 1995, in Dar es salaam. Her mother, a diplomat at the Tanzania High Commission, got a work transfer to Ottawa, Canada, and she moved to Canada with her. Her modelling talent was discovered when she attended an open call at Angie’s AMTI, a modelling agency located in Ottawa, Canada.
UGC She has walked the runway for brands such as Armani, Cavalli, Calvin Klien, and many others. Herieth has also appeared in editorials for Vogue Italia Magazine, i-D, Wonderland, and Teen Vogue. In July 2011, she was the cover model of the Canadian Elle. She was one of the three models in the Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2013 campaign, which was named one of the top ten campaigns of Fall. She is one of the African models with natural hair.
5. Gelila Bekele
Gelila Bekele was born on September 4, 1986, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She spent her early years living in the village before moving to the City at the age of 4. Bekele relocated to Europe with her family at the age of eight years. Bekele began her modelling profession when she was still studying at UC Berkeley.
However, she was hesitant at first because she feared her parent’s reaction to her new career. This made her begin the career at 19, unlike the other models who start their modelling careers in their mid and early teenage years. Her first signing was Ford Models. She has worked with big brands, including Pantene, Tony Burch, Diesel, and Levis. Bekele has featured in several fashion and beauty campaigns and has appeared in leading magazines. Gelila is the longtime girlfriend of famous actor and film producer Tyler Perry.
6. Ajuma Nasenyana
Ajuma Nasenyana is a Kenyan model born on January 14, 1985, in Lodwar, Turkana County, in Kenya. She began her modelling career after completing her studies at Greensteds International School. In the beginning, she dreamt of becoming an athlete and enrolled for truck running training.
In 2003, she participated in New York’s Fashion Week alongside Naomi Campbell And Alek Wek. She also modelled for fashion houses during the Italian Fashion Week. In 2012, she was named the African Fashion Week Model Of the year. Besides modelling, Nasenyana leads a campaign that helps appreciate the dark African skin and kinky hair.
7. Ajak Deng
Ajak Deng is an Australian fashion model born on December 7, 1989, in Tonj, South Sudan. Her family moved to Kenya after being displaced from South Sudan due to the civil war. She then moved to Melbourne, Australia, when she was eleven years. Ajak was spotted when she was still in high school. She signed to FRM model management in 2008. Her modelling career grew steadily, and she was absorbed by the Milk management and Esee management modelling agencies.
Her first international modelling jobs included an advertisement for United Colors of Benetton and fashion shows for Valentino, Givenchy, Marc by Marc, among many other brands. She has also modelled for Louis Vuitton, MAC Cosmetics, Topshop, and Valentino. Ajak has been vocal about how it feels like being black in the modelling industry, which made her quit modelling in 2016 briefly but made a come back later on.
8. Tanit Phoenix
Tanit Phoenix is a South Africa born fashion model, actress and a makeup artist. She was born on September 24, 1980, in Durban. Tanit began her modelling career at the age of 14 after being spotted by a modelling scout in her hometown, Westville. She is known for her famous swimwear and lingerie photoshoots. Tanit was ranked among the FHMs 100 sexiest women in the world between the years 2004-2006.
In 2011, she won the IGNs sexiest woman of the year and was the most famous girl ever photographed for Babeology by IGN. Tanit Phoenix has appeared on the covers of magazines countless times and has frequently been shot for sports illustrated swimsuit issue. The 40-year old has appeared in TV commercials and has starred in several movies.
9. Yasmin Warsame
Yasmin was born on May 5, 1976, in Mogadishu, Somalia. She relocated to Toronto, Canada, with her family when she was 15 years old. The model was noted by scouts from SHOK Models in LaChapelle. Her first modelling assignment was with Fiorio salon for the ABA (Allied Beauty Association) Annual hair show. Yasmin did the modelling while pregnant but later requested leave from modeLling to concentrate on her pregnancy.
She modelled for Ford Models from 2000 before switching to NEXT Models Canada, where she was featured as the cover model of Lush Magazine. Yasmin has done advertising campaigns for Valentino Couture, Dolce n Gabbana, Escada, among many other brands. In 2007, the 44-year-old model became a judge on Canada’s Next Top Model series. Currently, she is signed with IMG Models.
Iman is a Somali fashion model, actress, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. Her official name is Zara Mohamed Abdulmajid. She was born on July 25, 1955, in Mogadishu, Somalia. Iman began her modelling career in 1976 after being noticed by an American photographer, Peter Beard, in 1975. She then moved to the United States to begin her modelling career. Iman’s first modelling assignment was for Vogue.
With her long neck, slender figure, and fine features, Iman gained a lot of success in the modelling industry. Signed to the modelling agency Wilhelmina, Iman began a career on haute-couture runways and in the pages of fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. She was instantly a favourite with designers and editors alike and was one of the first models in her day to be successful in both print and on the runway. Iman is the spokesperson for Keep a Child Alive Program and the Children’s Defense Fund. There you have it. A complete list of the most famous African supermodels in 2020. As you have seen, black supermodels are making it big in the global modelling industry. They have modelled for the top brands and fashion houses, and they have appeared on the covers of magazines. With the introduction of plus-size modelling, it is expected that the number of African models will be much higher than it is now in the near future.
Supermodel Adut Akech – as a global fashion industry darling that’s walked for all the top luxury houses and landed coveted magazine covers across the world – is hardly an unknown face. But her recent appointment as the newest ambassador for cosmetics giant Estée Lauder is set to catapult her from fashion industry notoriety to household name, and the significance and magnitude of such a role isn’t lost on Akech.
“To be part of the Estée Lauder family is a dream come true. Estée Lauder has such an amazing heritage, and the story of Mrs Estée Lauder continues to be an inspiration to women around the world,” the South Sudan-born model said in a statement announcing the partnership. “Like her, I hope to inspire girls everywhere to never give up on following their dreams.”
In a post on her Instagram, Akech further detailed her excitement about the opportunity. “Mrs. Estée Lauder said, ‘I never dreamed of success, I worked for it.’ Words cannot express how Proud and excited I am to share I’m now a part of the @esteelauder family as their newest #EsteeGlobalAmbassador,” she wrote. “All my hard work has led me to moments like this.”
Akech has spoken openly about being unable to see herself reflected in the fashion and beauty realms as a teenager in Adelaide, Australia. She revealed that she hopes her ambassadorship for a global brand will be able to change that for others. “Growing up in the western world I didn’t really see a representation of myself in [the] fashion and beauty world on television or magazines until I got into the fashion industry,” she continued.
“To now be the representation in the fashion beauty space I didn’t have a growing up means everything to me. My little sisters will now also see their faces in my beauty ads and campaign billboards, little back girls in South Sudan, Africa and all around the world will now see themselves in me through the work I will do in this space,” she wrote. “I hope you can see though we are more than WORTHY of being faces of the biggest iconic global beauty brands. I do it to break down barriers, to prove we are here, we are unique & beautiful, for the little girls and boys not seen and heard.”
The brand appears just as excited to be working with Akech, who spent her early years at a refugee camp in Kenya before emigrating to Australia. “Adut is one of fashion’s biggest and most influential stars,” said group president for the Estée Lauder Companies Stéphane de la Faverie. “We believe her incredible story, personality and beauty will help us continue to inspire and connect with our consumers and establish her as a beauty icon of her generation.”
Any aspiring model, at the beginning of their career, dreams of getting signed to a modelling agency that will bring a successful career. However, being signed by an agency is not the only way to work as a model and it does not necessarily mean that your career is going to be a success. It is common that the most popular models are represented by an agency. This is why finding an agency is one of the top priorities of aspiring models. In this post, we are going to reveal 5 important facts about modelling agencies you need to know before signing to one. Take notes!
1. Meaning of working with an agency
Before making this decision, it is essential that aspiring models know exactly what it means to be represented by an agency. Modelling agencies work to find job opportunities for their models. Once the model is selected for the job, the modelling agency takes care of all the paperwork needed, such as agreements, contracts and payment. In exchange for all the work they do on the model’s behalf, they take a commission of the initial payment, which is usually around 20%, but it will depend on the country.
2. No payments needed
Regarding money, you have to know that it is not usual that the agency asks the model for money. The money the agency gets is from the model’s commissions, period. Otherwise, you may be being scammed. –– We recommend you to check ourSafety & Trust page, where you can find more informationabout scams, fraud, and tips on how to stay safe.
When you are trying to find an agency to represent you, you have to take into account that not all agencies seek the same types of models. Actually, it is common that modelling agencies are focused on a field, whether it is high fashion, commercial, talents agency, plus-size, or kids.
In this case, you will have to inform yourself of all the different options available to find your modelling discipline or talent. Once you know what type of modelling you want to do, you will have to find the right agency. This can take you some time, but it will be definitely worth it. –– You can find all the information about modelling types in the first chapter of the Model Academy which you can access for free!
4. You might not get jobs either
Unfortunately, signing with a modeling agency does not necessarily mean you’ll get hundreds of jobs. In any case, it is important you know what it means exactly to sign exclusivity with an agency. Exclusivity can be local or international and it is an agreement between the model and the agency where the model commits to only work with that agency in a specific territory –as mentioned before, it can be local or international. Exclusivity could be a good option for the model if the agency really tries to find jobs. However, if your modeling agency fails to do this, exclusivity can be a barrier to take on other projects you might be interested in.
5. Payment can take some time
Let’s be honest: when we are working, money is one of our top motivations, there is nothing wrong with admitting it. You may adore your job, but you are doing it for a living, so money is important.
When you are working through an agency, payments can take longer than expected, and longer means many days. Payments through modelling agencies can take on average from 30 to 120 days. It will depend on the country you are working in and how fast the client pays the agency.
These were 5 facts about modelling agencies every aspiring should know. However, remember that working through an agency is not the only way you have to start your modelling career. ModelManagement.com offers you thousands of job opportunities from your pocket and you can use it even if you’re signed to an agency ––as long as you don’t have an exclusivity agreement. At ModelManagement.com models manage their careers at 100% and there are no commissions, which means the model receives the entire payment.
Besides, many modelling agencies around the world seek new models to sign to through ModelManagement.com, so create your account and open up to the modelling world!
Digitals A.K.A ‘Polaroids’ are an important set of photos that you’ll continuously update as a signed or independent model. Digitals are photos that are taken of you with natural lighting and in your most natural state; no makeup, excessive hairstyling or dramatic poses are needed. They show clients how you appear naturally before hair and makeup are set. Oftentimes when one attends an open call, if the agency is somewhat interested in signing you; then they’ll take a few digitals in front of a solid colour wall.
HOW TO POSE FOR DIGITALS
To get an idea of how to pose for digitals is by going on a reputable modeling agencies website. Under each model’s portfolio is a category called digitals. From there, you’ll see simple photos taken of that model in natural lighting in front of a plain white wall. Another way to figure out if your photos are correct is by going under the ‘Become A Model’ section of the agency you’re interested; from there they’ll have examples of exactly how your digitals should look.
WHEN YOU’RE TAKING DIGITALS FOR AN ONLINE SUBMISSION
KNOW THAT THE AGENCY YOUR INTERESTED IN IS LEGIT
Take some time out to do a little Google/Social Media Research. Google Search ‘the modeling agency’s name – SCAM’ and see if anything pops up. Go on any of their social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Is there any community interaction? Are they posting photos of THEIR own models? Agencies like to keep the community updated on their models. Most of the time you’ll see candid photos of models at their agency, agents celebrating each other’s birthday, and runway videos near fashion week.
GET READY FOR YOUR DIGITALS, ALMOST LIKE YOU’D GET READY FOR A TYPICAL OUTING.
Your hair needs to be clean. No flakes should be visible.
Your skin needs to be moisturized
Remove your nail polish and fake nails
No Jewelry or headbands are allowed. Remember you’re photographing in your natural state
You may wear light makeup. Although no makeup is preferred, light makeup is okay.
For example A light foundation or tinted moisturizer and a light application of mascara and eyeliner are fine.
USE NATURAL SUNLIGHT
Wait until the weather is nice enough where the sun is shining brightly so your best features are visible. Wait an hour before sunset, to refrain from using harsh lighting.
Be sure that the background of your photo is clear from any distractions.
No plants, Christmas trees, or other people should be visible in your photo.
Ideally, a plain white wall is what agencies prefer.
ASK SOMEONE WHO YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH TO TAKE YOUR DIGITALS, OR USE A TRIPOD.
Having someone take your photos can allow the process to be quicker. If you live alone and you get an email from an agency asking you for more digitals, then a tripod will come in handy.
Set the timer on your camera
Allow yourself to sit comfortably in a subtle pose
Be sure you’re in focus and the image isn’t blurry
YOUR OUTFIT NEEDS TO BE SIMPLE FOR DIGITALS.
Once in a while (but not always) agencies state on their website for digitals to be taken in a solid color bathing suit. To feel the most comfortable with submitting swimsuit images is to know that the agency your submitting to is LEGIT! Most often, modeling agencies want images of you in simple attire.
Dark Solid color jeans (Dark wash or Black)
Solid color tank top or T-Shirt (White, Grey or Black)
Heels: Black or Nude
Barefoot is fine if the agency doesn’t state to wear heels.
Although, wearing heels is more flattering and elongates your legs.
Be sure to size your photos according to what is asked for, or else your submission won’t be accepted. Some agencies will state that each photo needs to be under 2MB. You can google search ‘Image resizer’ and sure enough, a few websites will pop up!
Once you’re satisfied with your images, send them out to modeling agencies and post them to your social media. You never know who’s watching. You may get scouted via Social Media!
The most common question that modeling agents and scouts receive from aspiring models is, “how do I become a fashion model?.” There is so much information in books, on websites, and swirling around in modeling forums that it can seem very confusing and overwhelming to a new model who is just starting out. Here are 5 simple steps to help you get started.
1. Take Some Basic Snapshots (Polaroid) In the beginning, the only photos you need to present to modeling agents and scouts are some basic snapshots otherwise called Polaroid. They are looking for a nice face shot (smiling and not smiling), left and right profiles of your face and body, a full length shot and a back shot. Wear form-fitting clothing like skinny jeans or leggings and a simple tank top or t-shirt. If you are comfortable wearing a swimsuit, then include a few swimsuit shots as well, either a one-piece or two-piece swimsuit is fine. Male models need to show the agents their fitness level, so it is recommended that male models wear swim trunks or boxer shorts, or wear jeans without a shirt in at least one of their photos.
2. Get Evaluated by a Professional Model Agent or Scout Most new models start their quest because their family and friends have said “you should be a model,” or they are the prettiest girl or guy in the school. They may have even won some local modeling competitions or pageant.That’s a great start, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into what the agencies are looking for. It is essential that you get your modeling potential evaluated by an experienced model agent or scout before you invest too much time or money into your pursuit. This step can get a little tricky. How do you determine whether the agent or scout who is evaluating you has the experience and knowledge to help you?Also, many new models find that they live in a smaller market where many of the agents are affiliated with a modeling school or photography studio. As a result, they may not be getting an accurate evaluation if the “agency” is more interested in selling courses or photo shoots.It doesn’t mean that the agent isn’t good or that the courses or photo shoots they are offering are bad; it just means that you need to think about what is motivating them to tell you whether or not you can be a model.
3. Get as Much Exposure as Possible
Many agencies specialize in only one particular area. Some may only represent high fashion (editorial) models. Others may only represent commercial models, or plus-size, petite, or child models. If one agency is unable to represent you don’t get discouraged, it’s important that you get seen by as many agents as possible and on a routine basis. If you live in one of the major markets you may be able to attend an open call or go-see at the agency. If you live outside one of the major markets the best way to get exposure is to send your photos to as many agencies as possible.It can be a very time-consuming and expensive endeavor, especially if you are making copies of all your photos and then mailing them. The cost of prints, envelopes, and stamps can easily add up to over a thousand dollars. Another option is to email your photos–but with thousands of photos being emailed to model agencies every day, it is very easy to get lost in the mix. To increase your chances of being signed by an agency, it is important to work with people who have experience and direct connections to all the agencies in a wide variety of markets. ModelScouts.com is a great place to start and offers the most legitimate and cost-effective way for you to get the exposure you need to be seen by many agents around the world and in the quickest way possible.
4. Know the Best Modeling Market for YouThe term “market” refers to the various geographical locations in which models work and earn a living. “Market” can also refer to category your particular look falls into such as the fashion market, commercial market, plus market, or petite market. Internationally New York, Paris and Tokyo are various “markets,”. In Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa are rising continental “market” that new models may want to break into before making a plunge. While the supermodels you see in major magazines and walking the runways for top clients generally work in every market, there are many successful models who only work in one or two markets. So, even though you may not get represented by an agency in Paris or South Africa, you could very well be perfect for Tokyo, Singapore, and other Asian markets. An experienced agent can help guide you to the right market for your particular look.
5. Be Persistent Becoming a professional model is a process. It rarely happens overnight. Even the models who say “I was just walking down the street one day and the next I was on the cover of Vogue” are exaggerating.Becoming a professional model takes time. Many of today’s top models didn’t get signed to an agency the first time out of the gate. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen was turned down over 40 times before she was finally signed to an agency.Stay positive and remember that just because an agency wasn’t able to represent you today, it doesn’t mean they won’t be interested tomorrow. Trends change
ANSM is a new modelling competition organised by Mode1 Management that aims to bring undiscovered faces across Africa the opportunity to be seen, sponsored and managed by top agencies.