Top Kenyan Model Olivia Sang On Nude Photography: “Art Comes In All Shapes And Forms”

Olivia Sang

By Kimani Judy, BMRA Ambassador & Contributor

As one of the finest models Kenya has ever produced, Olivia Sang is representing the country very well.

The passionate professional model dished out on her success journey, which has seen her getting signed to Boss Models, a leading model management agency in South Africa. She has also appeared on reputable magazine publications, including Elle South Africa, Marie Claire South Africa and True Love East Africa.

Here’s what she had to say:

Judy: : Being a BSc. Finance graduate, i am aware that you had other options in your career path, speak to us about your decision to do modeling and what was the first job you got as a model.

Olivia: My first modeling job was on a gospel music video with a few other friends of mine for a local artist while I was in my second year in college. I did have a couple of other jobs in my finance career but my passion for modeling was more and I decided to pursue modeling full time.


Olivia Sang

Judy: I understand that you were teased when growing up about your skin color, how did that affect how you saw yourself as a black model in the industry? And generally how have you dealt with the stereotypes of being a black model?

Olivia: I view myself as an individual who has the opportunity to knock down stereotypes of there being a token black model and to being hired because of how good I am at what I do. I do still have some days that are not all great which happens to us all as individuals.

Judy: Speaking of stereotypes of being black model, would you change yourself for a modeling job?

Olivia: Everyday I grow, learn and evolve into better versions of myself but I would never change my character for anything.

Olivia Sang

Judy: You have worked with leading fashion houses, leading designers and photographers the likes of, Woolworths South Africa, Mr. Price, Brandon Barnard, Truworths and others. How do you keep yourself grounded? How do you keep in shape for such big roles?

Olivia: I do take my health and physical fitness very seriously. Getting enough sleep and hydration always keeps me in high spirits and therefore I can do my job effectively. I keep myself grounded by keeping my goals in mind, where I came from and where I want to be in my career.

Judy: Being brought up in a typical Kenyan household usually entails conservative guardians, and we see the likes of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid do nude photography, tell us what your opinion on nude photography is?

Olivia: Art comes in all shapes and forms. Everything we set our eyes on is art as long as it’s conveyed in the correct way and in a manner that is not offensive to anyone.

Olivia Sang model

Judy: How did you end up working for Boss Models in Cape Town and how has it been adjusting to life in foreign country?

Olivia: 2017 has been a year full of blessings for me. Adjusting to life in South Africa has been pretty exciting because of all the wonderful people I have met and all the places I have worked. It has been an adventure. Boss Cape Town scouted me from Johannesburg where I still am signed and work from time to time and that’s how I ended up working in Cape Town.

Judy: Speaking of relocating to South Africa from Kenya, did your parents support your move to follow your dreams, despite being so far from home, and what do you miss most about home?

Olivia: My parents were very supportive of my move. Being so far from home so often, I miss my family all the time but I get to meet all kinds of people and make friends from all over the world. It’s an experience.

Olivia Sang

Judy: let’s talk about the cliché idea that most casting agents or even designers have about how models should look — body size,body type or even what eat — have you ever fallen victim of not being accepted for a casting because of such and generally what are your views about this?

Olivia: Personally I have not experienced this ideology of what to eat or how to look. There are so many times that as a model I have not been what the client is looking for which is fine because you will not always be right for the job. Models come in different shapes and sizes and I believe a model is as good as he or she believes.

Judy: Is there someone special in your life right now, and would you date in the industry, like a fellow model?

Olivia: I have always kept my personal life private because it tends to make one’s work subjective which is not the goal when you are trying to build a brand. That is not to mean that there is a lack of existence of personal life, it just means I choose to keep mine private.

Judy: What are the five things you can’t travel without?

-A rosary
-A maasai blanket my mother gave me
-A frying pan(everywhere I go I carry it, basically because I can’t stand burnt omelets .)
-A vaseline tub
-Atleast 2 interesting books

Olivia Sang

Judy: There are so many young, beautiful black girls out here that are actually being teased about their skin color and haven’t really been able to rise above all the hate, if you had the opportunity to meet and talk to them what would you like them to know?

Olivia: I would tell them, love yourself because you are a beautiful girl with skin that is gonna stop ageing at 25 lol.

Be confident because the people that are staring are wondering why you are so beautiful. So hold your head high and be the gorgeous girl you really are, hold eye contact with people and do not be afraid to wear the clothes you want to wear.

Judy: Finally Olivia who do you look up to in the modeling industry and what’s your goal in modeling or rather what would you like to achieve?

Olivia: I look up to many people in the industry. People who inspire change everyday with the pieces they create. I am inspired on how to move by what a designer creates. I specifically look up to Alek Wek because I have seen her break boundaries since I was a young girl and I have always wanted to emulate her and do a job as good as she does, maybe even better.

I have so many things that I want to achieve in life. One of them is being a person that will inspire people to be who they really want to be and to not be afraid to follow their dreams. I also have personal goals which are going to play out as time goes by so stay tuned.


Victoria’s Secret 2017: The Best Of The Black Models Who Graced The Show

Herieth Paul

By Kimani Judy, BMRA Ambassador & Contributor

This year’s Victoria’s Secret edition went down in Shanghai, China.

The main aim is to tap into the burgeoning Chinese fashion economy. The event took place at the Mercedes Benz arena. The theme was pink, glitter and more pink, focusing on sportswear and nightwear.

The occasion was one of its kind. Usual models like Gigi Hadid, Behati Presloo and Kendall Jenner were nowhere to be seen and a lot of new faces were spotted and more importantly plenty of melanin was served.

The inclusion of black models in the show speaks volumes to young black girls all over the world who feel that some jobs or dreams are not achievable. Here’s a quick summary of the black models that owned the runway and are on their way to being angels.

Grace Bol

Grace Bol
In her pink custom Victoria Secret robe.


Grace Bol
With Balmain Creative Director Olivier Rousteing

She started her modeling at age 19, when she was scouted at a mall in Kansas City, Missouri. Her family had relocated to the USA from South Sudan when she was just a child. Grace has a number of agencies representing her i.e. New York (The Lions), Paris (Oui management), London (Core Artist Management) etc. Bol is all the black girl magic we needed and so much more for the Victoria Secret.


Grace Bol
Grace at the after party of the Victoria secret show 2017

Herieth Paul

Herieth Paul

The Tanzanian model joined the list of the few African models that have made it to Victoria Secret Fashion Show. She has worked with various agencies in New York (Women Management), London (Elite London), Paris (Women Management) etc., since the tender age of 15, before finally strutting the Victoria Secret runway.


Herieth Paul
Herieth with her fellow angels backstage at the Victoria’s Secret show

Amilna Estevao

Almina Estevao

Amilna has already made her mark in the fashion world at only 18 years, by walking for one of the world’s biggest and exclusive fashion house. The beauty hails from Angola, and was discovered at 14 years when she starred in elite model look contest and won the competition in Luanda, Angola. She has worked with other agencies apart from Elite Paris, Elite London i.e. The Society Management New York.

Almina Estevao
Amilna showcasing her lingerie piece at the Victoria Secret runway.


9 Reasons Why Malaika Firth Is The African Queen Of Runway And Style

Malaika Firth

By Kimani Judy, BMRA Ambassador & Contributor

Many of you may not know her but you’re about to start paying attention because she is putting Kenya on the global map.

Ladies and gentlemen meet Malaika Firth, the Kenyan born top model who has been wowing the Internet with her astonishing beauty.

Born and bred in the coastal region till the age of 7 until she relocated with her family to London, Malaika would never have thought in her wildest dream that she would become a supermodel until she was encouraged by her mother to try it out. And so her journey to stardom began at 17 when she was signed after only one casting by Premier Modeling Management, a UK based modeling agency.

The highlight of her promising career was when she was picked as the face of Prada, making her the second black girl after Naomi Campbell to become the face of the world acclaimed brand. She has since graced runways for famous designers like Burberry, Jean-PaulGautier, Dolce and Gabbana, Valentino, Kenzo, Victoria Secrets, Marc Jobs…the sky is the limit for Malaika.

Malaika has in the past talked about being bi-racial and takes pride in being both white and black. On being compared to supermodel Naomi Campbell, Malaika said that she was amazed and honored but also wanted to build her own name and image. Growing up as a shy kid in the East London, Malaika spoke about how modeling has helped her become more confident around people. We wish her nothing but success in her modeling career.

Here are her 10 most iconic moments on the runway:

1. Malaika Firth for Anthony Voccarello Spring/Summer 2015 collection – Paris Fashion Week.

malaika firth

2. Malaika Firth for Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2015

Malaika Firth

3. Malaika Firth for Versace Spring/Summer 2015 collection- Milan Fashion Week.

Malaika Firth

4. Malaika Firth for Chanel Spring/Summer 2015 collection – Paris Fashion Week.

malaika firth

5. For Dolce & Gabbana at Milan Fashion Week, Fall 2014

Dolce and Gabbana is just among the big names that are on Malaika’s modeling CV.  This beauty is truly representing the Kenyan talent on the runway and here, she rocked this Purple and pansies “Enchanted Sicily Collection” by Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2014/Winter 2015 Milan Fashion Week, Italy.

malaika firth

6. Malaika Firth for Valentino, Spring 2014

malaika firth

8. Her off duty looks are fun, fresh and trendy

When Malaika is not busy being a supermodel she still pulls off her A game with this off-duty looks, talk about being a model and having a sense of style.

malaika firth

8. Victoria’s Secret Campaign

Malaika Firth has been featured in several campaigns – think of IVY PARK and Marc Jobs – her major one being the Prada one that led to a lot of people comparing her to Naomi Campell, as she was the first black model to be featured after nearly two decades. Here Malaika does a pajama campaign.

Malaika Firth

9. Missioni, Spring 2016 – a continental expedition through color and pattern

malaika firth


Exclusive Interview: What Does Fashion Icon Fawwie Really Think Of “Mitumba” Clothes?

The first time I got to know Fawwie Sol was during Coke Studio Season III. I was drawn to her aura; her eclectic approach towards fashion styling. No wonder she was chosen as the wardrobe stylist for the show.

Continue reading “Exclusive Interview: What Does Fashion Icon Fawwie Really Think Of “Mitumba” Clothes?”