When it comes to spotting the right talent in modeling in Kenya, it’s pretty easy to confuse a socialite wannabe for a model. They all pose for pictures, the only difference being one is a form of art while the other is just a shortcut to fame.
I am lucky to have a keen eye for genuinely talented in fashion, which has made it easier for me to bring you amazing features from all over the continent. This time round, I chose to highlight Nayanka Singh, a fast-rising, free-spirited model of Kenyan-Asian descent. She has been nominated as upcoming model of the year in the 2016 Kenya Fashion Awards.
Nayanka comes across as a bubbly girl, always feeding her social media fans with interesting tidbits from her life.
“My hobbies include belly dancing, athletics (these long legs can be useful), swimming and strutting on the runway (smiles). Oh also, I LOVE poetry. Something about poetry hits my heart in every way possible haha. I can also play the drums. And I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue (laughs). I also LOVE glitter and the colour pink and anything sparkly. I also like to eat ALOT despite my body size. I am also obsessed with cats and goats (chuckles) like, I don’t want children, I just want 72 cats!,” she reveals.
Whoa, she’s quite something, I need to warn you in advance. In this regard, she has worked with top-tier brands in her fashion and modeling engagements, something that not many models her age get to do.
The gorgeous model started her craft slightly over a year ago.
“May to be exact. I met a designer who suggested I audition for a runway show: East Africa Fashion week. I’m a VERY shy person so I was so hesitant, but I went for the audition, and I was actually selected! I was then signed to an agency called Knitwear Models Africa, and since then, the runway has been my favourite place to be,” she says.
She might be shy but talkative. I wonder how she gets to get things done when she’s admittedly shy. Despite that, Nayanka is not afraid to point out the challenges she’s been facing.
“It’s kinda hard in the monetary area being a model in Kenya, but then again I plan on taking it abroad and earning what an everyday runway model earns,” she dreamily says.
On working with top notch modeling and fashion stables, the always positive girl has a long list of the projects she’s managed to work on. It is superb and inspiring I must say.
“I’ve worked with local as well as international designers. Local ones such as Co-Be (where I started), House of Kaji, House of Dannielle, Mohamed Bana, Vaishali Morjaria and several others. And internationally, I’ve modeled designs of Barbara Gongini from Germany, Lisete Pote from Angola, Deepak Perwani from Pakistan, several from India including SVA couture, and Laquan smith from the USA. I’ve done several runway shows, such as East Africa Fashion Week 2015 and 2016, Nairobi Fashion Market, Kenya worldwide fashion week, Nairobi street fashion, and DIVAlicious,” she boldly says.
Now, just to point out, I met Jaqueline Cooper, a senior representative from LaQuan Smith. She told me how LaQuan has graced major magazines because of his work…think of ELLE, Vogue, New York Times, Forbes, Essence and other major outlets. He has also dressed every big celeb, from Beyonce to Kim Kardashian. For Nayanka to model for his brand, she must have stood out for her talent and ability.
Not only is she good at modeling, she’s also so amazing at fashion and beauty. I recently spotted her rocking kick ass braids and asked her how she does it so well.
“Most times, it could depend on your face shape. I used to think skin colour was a factor, but clearly I was wrong. But then again certain braid colours look better on certain skin tones. For example, blonde braids happen to look gorgeous on both dark and light skin tones, and then again bright colours such as pink may look really out of place on dark skin tones. In terms of the type of the braids, I think that’s simply preference, I personally love box braids and afro kinky braids, but I stay far far away from cornrows, simply out of preference,” she says.
If you are reading this and you are not sure about using your good looks for modeling, here’s a tip from her:
“Modelling is simply my passion, it started out as a hobby, and now, it’s an important part of my life. On the runway, it’s like I transform and become some kind of diva haha!,” she wittily says.
So, only do it if you’re passionate about it, or you’re gonna end up disappointed. All the best in modeling!
Interview conducted by @harunmomanyi. Harun is an accredited lifestyle and entertainment journalist, known for working with the likes of Yemi Alade, Vanessa Mdee, Sauti Sol, Eddy Kenzo, K.O and other big celebrities. You can check out more of his work at www.momanyiharun.com.