As the years ends, we can’t help but reminisce on the proud moments of Africans putting the continent on the map in the international fashion scene. This piece takes a look on some of the most high profiled international models to have come out of motherland, Africa in 2018
Adut Akech Bior
Adut is one of surreal story of success to draw inspiration from. Fleeing from war that tore her country apart, her family left South Sudan, place of her birth for Kenya and then Australia when she was the young age of 7. Although scouted for at age 13 – 14, Akech began modelling officially at age 16 signing with mother agency, Chadwick Australia. After making her first major fashion debut at the Saint Laurent S/S 17 she’s gone on to make huge strides in the industry.
She became the second black model in history to clinch the coveted bridal split in a Chanel Couture show, closing the prestigious house’s haute couture 2018 autumn show.
She’s worked with moschino, Prada, Versace, Givenchy, Tom Ford and has been featured in editorials including American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Australia, covered Vogue Italia, Vogue UK and I.D magazine.
More recently, she’s been named by “industry vote” as the model of the year winning the spot over established model Gigi Hadid.
Born in Lagos Nigeria, 20 year old Mayowa Nicholas is the first Nigerian model to star in Dolce&Gabbana, Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein campaigns. She made a debut runway appearance in 2015 at the ripe age of 17 and has since then walked for Prada, Mui My, Balmain, Versace, Chanel, Michael Kors, Oscar De La Renta. She was supposed to make her debut at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show in 2017 but was denied visa last minute to Shanghai, China. She more than made up for it in the 2018 edition of the show as she shone through the haloed runway.
Born Nyadak Thot, the 5ft10.5 model was born to Sudanese parents in Australia. Introduced to modelling by her Elder sister, she appeared on the 2013 Edition of Australia’s Next Top Model and then moved to New York City after finding it hard to get jobs in her country of birth due of her dark skin. Her career took off in the US and since then she’s worked with major fashion houses including Oscar De La Renta, Moschino and Balmain. She’s been one of the frontline models for Rihanna’s Fenty fashion brand since its creation. This year was a particularly big one for the dusky queen as she scored a place to walk the highly acclaimed Victoria Secret Fashion Show.
When her family fled war ravaged South Sudan at a tender age for Ugad the US, young Grace Bol called Kansas home. She remembers being shocked at the whiteness and the coldness of snow. She was first scouted at age 19 in a local mall in her city and since then have gone on to have a steady burgeoning career.She opened the Hermes show in 2015 and has walked for Givenchy, Balienciaga, Rick Owens amongst other top fashion houses. She’s appeared in editorials such as Vogue Germany, Marie Claire USA, Harper’s Bazaar UK and has appeared on the cover for I.D magazine.
The leggy model is most famous for walking the Victoria Secret Show in 2017 and again this year 2018.
Anok Yai is the international version of Olajumoke. One day she was attending homecoming party of her college, the next she’s a super model the world can’t get enough of.
Yai, although of Sudanese descent was born in Cairo and moved to Manchester, New Hampshire at age 2. A biochemistry student aspiring to be a doctor, she was discovered by professional photographer Steve Hall at a homecoming party of Howard University in 2017. The photographer was drawn to her striking black beauty and took photos of her. The photos soon blew up on his social media pages accruing over 20,000 likes. Agencies reached out to Anok and quickly set up meetings.
“I got an email from a modeling agency,” she said. “They said they were interested in having me and they had me call them. And they just set up tons of interviews and it just went on from there.”
Anok became the second black woman to open a Prada show after Naomi Campbell. She’s been featured in Nike campaign designed by Givenchy’s Ricardo and became Estee Lauder spokes model in July 2018
By Sarah Oyedo