Models are an integral part of the design process and presentation. They bring the pieces to life. They are an actualized illusion, the physical projection, a way for us to interact with abstract design concepts. They help us visualize ourselves consuming, celebrating and co-curating design. Over the years, we have worked with several models and established a community, a camp, a family. The models we have worked with are proof on an emerging industry and of a cultural and aesthetic Renaissance in Africa. They are proof that the definition of beauty and the idea of what’s desirable has evolved.
We will be creating a series of conversations with some of the most prominent models in Africa’s modelling scene today. But first, we spoke with Laura Anjila, recognized as Kenya’s Top Female Model in 2015 and 2017. Laura has been modelling for over five years and in this time, has managed to create a name for herself. We have used her for several editorial campaigns and her look is as unique and editorial as it is commercial and coveted.
Follow the conversation we had to learn more about her journey.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
I am Anjili Laura, Kenya’s current female top model. I am a professional model represented by Icons Models Cape Town. I’m also a graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University Nairobi in Bachelor of Mass Communication and Public Relations.
How did you get into the modeling industry? Did you always want to be a model?
Not really, but I’ve always been very fashion-oriented. Growing up, I was obsessed with fashion shows and fashion programs airing on TV, my favorite being ANTM – this is where my interest began. I started modeling in 2012 when I joined Campus. It was a great way to enjoy my free time and also make extra cash. Then after realizing how effortless it was, I started taking it seriously.
What do you enjoy the most about modeling?
I love taking pictures and being on the runway. I also get the opportunity to meet amazing people, including icons I’ve always wanted to meet. The more I model, the more I love it. I also get to travel to places I never thought I’d get to, experience new and different cultures, ideas and landscapes. It has been an eye opening experience and I appreciate every minute of it.
What is the fashion Industry/modeling space in Africa like?
It’s moving quite fast. I’ve seen it grow. I’ve seen myself and other people grow and with time and everyone’s effort I think we’ll be at a much better place. I just wish people would invest more into it and support local talent because I don’t think people know how much potential there is in our country and continent. If we all came together, so much we could change. Africa is Big, so let’s shine.
What stereotypes/Misconceptions exist about African Models?
It’s not just African models – It’s models all around the world. Just to mention a few;
- Society thinks models are naturally fit but no. Just like everyone else, models struggle to keep fit.
- People tend to think models are mean people but I don’t understand why. I’ve met adorable and kind-hearted people in the industry.
- People think models are drug abusers/ addicts but I don’t think it’s necessarily a model thing. I’ve met people in different fields that over-indulge in all these things. It’s crazy.
- People think that models are big spenders and that they live fabulous lives spending their money on parties and events but that’s not real.
- I’ve heard people making comments about models being too skinny and that they don’t eat at all/ they’re sick which I think is bizarre. Having been in the industry for more than 5 years I’ve seen models eat like no one else – we love our food.
I have learnt to ignore some of these things. What matters is to be true to oneself and to stay focused.
What are some of your milestone modeling moments? What exciting designers have you walked for?
The most exciting moment for me was being nominated and winning Kenya’s Female Top Model of The year in 2015 and 2017. I was excited to work with Adele Dejak who is my favorite accessories designer in Africa. I have also enjoyed walking for South African designers David Tlale, Palesa and Sperro Villioti in different fashion shows around the continent as well as being part of AFI Fashion Week in 2018 (Cape Town) and Hub of Africa 2017 (Ethiopia). I have been featured in influential magazines like Vogue Italia, Volant Germany, Afrostyle mag and Elle magazine.
I’ve had some truly phenomenal moments in my career and I look forward to many more.
When did you first work with Adele Dejak? What has been your experience interacting with her and her brand?
Like I said, Adele is my favorite designer. She has a big personality and is creative, supportive, kind, caring and professional. I always have a great time working with her.
Do you have any Adele Dejak favorites?
Everything? This is probably the toughest question but I’m in love with pieces from her newest collaboration collection, AMI. They are absolutely stunning. I also adore the Margaret and Bellatrix bracelets, the Moon Safari Bianca earrings and the K-DAYO ring. I could go on and on.
How would you describe your own personal style?
My style is always changing but I like vintage and Tribal. Anything in Black is a Yes!
What designer(s), international or local, do you most want to walk for?
Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, Coco Chanel, Pierre Cardin, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Tom Ford …
Suermodel you look up to?
I love Gisele Bundchen, Naomi Campbell, Cynthia Bailey, Kate moss, Alek wek, Heidi Klum, Tyty, Miranda Kerr and Karlie Kloss
What do you do, when you’re not modeling?
If I’m not modeling I’m probably in the kitchen trying out some new recipe or dancing. Sometimes watching my favorite series or listening to music. Other times I just like to chill and have great conversations with family and friends.