Our collaborators: Model and Forensic Odontologist, Amritpal Kaur Kalsi

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Our work is made possible by a host of people – from our dedicated team of artisans, to the dynamic duo, Carol and Morine, who keep the business running. There is another group of people with whom we could not achieve all that we do: our brilliant suppliers, collaborators and partners. We want to celebrate their involvement with a series of posts and first up is one of our favourite models, the multi-dimensional Dr. (that’s right) Amritpal Kaur Kalsi.

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A fourth generation Kenyan Asian, Amritpal was born in 1980 in Nairobi, Kenya. When she was younger, Amritpal wanted to be a forensic scientist, a fashion designer, a supermodel, a world-famous actress, be an evangelist, write stories, marry a chef or photographer and be a princess! Although she isn’t married to a chef and and has resigned the aspiration to become a princess, Amritpal has ticked several of the other boxes.

Mastery
Academically, she ended up pursuing studies in forensic dentistry and became Kenya’s pioneer forensic odontologist by late September 2011. A university lecturer, Amritpal also works for the Government of Kenya as a forensic odontologist and leads forensic anthropology and forensic radiology. Before 2007, these fields were non-existent but Amritpal’s passion and persistence is paving the way.

Dr Amritpal Kaur Kalsi modeling for Adele Dejak Tribal Chic fashion shows
Amrit in our 2010 (left) & 2011 Tribal Chic shows

After entering the Miss India Kenya pageant as a joke in 2006, she went on to win the crown and subsequently began modelling for charity events. In no time, she was on every runway and major fashion show in the country (including modelling our designs at the annual Tribal Chic shows!). One day Amritpal hopes to design her own fashion line; for the moment, she exercises her creativity through pursuing several artist disciplines from painting to photography, from poetry to acting. “Don’t let anyone put you down for being a jack of all trades and a master of none,” Amritpal affirms. “Do it all well – if you don’t succeed, at least you tried.”

An advocate for Africa
Amritpal believes in promoting local designers and showcases their goods at every opportunity. This is simply an extension of her pride in where she comes from. Extremely passionate about her country and continent, Amritpal is concerned about what she sees as a second scramble for Africa and her resources. She worries that while donor aid focuses attention on Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS, areas such as crime reduction through funding for proper forensic mechanisms, biosafety in hazardous workplaces, irrigation of dry areas and efforts for food production, take a back seat.

Dr Amritpal Kaur Kalsi Adele Dejak shoots
Amrit for Adele Dejak (left photo by Abraham Ali, right by Dean Zulich)

Life lessons
Amritpal believes that whatever it is that we love, if we speak it and believe it with our whole heart it will come to pass, one way or another. That is why she advocates for positive thinking, prayer and acquiring knowledge from wherever we can so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. As a model, she has learned her greatest lessons from the marketing industry and the idea that Africa is black and any other representation is unnecessarily rocking the boat. She’s learned that one day you are in and the next you are not but regardless, who you are is valuable, important and should not be taken for granted.  Every woman, model or not, should remember that always.