Being a model in Kenya is a continuous process. Past taking care of your hair, nails, body, skin, and the tangible. It means learning how to handle yourself as you walk through the modelling industry.

4 Tips on how to be a successful model in Kenya


Years ago model a turned designer Namnyak Odupoy told me she was autonomous after realising modelling agencies were not working out.

The model got aggressive in getting gigs, developing relationships with designers and reasoning her way through her career path. Ajuma Nasenyana is complimented as the single most successful model and celebrated as a supermodel. She worked in the US where agencies honour and look out for their models hence beginning her agency.

In her December/January exclusive interview with Couture Africa, she describes City Models Africa collaborates with international agencies by connecting local talent with global possibilities.

“I could start scouting the girl here, and then they I would sign her and get her out of here. That was the original thing — but of course, it’s once in a blue moon that you’ll find that girl.” Her golden find was Chanel. Without any agency, Ajuma adds, models, will fall through the cracks.


Contrasting these two environments. Locally modelling is at best disregarded. Moreover, for every one girl who says no to an opportunity that lessens her 20 will say yes. Modelling Agencies were cited on the thread as the devil’s spawn, not to be entrusted with some leading girls down the path of known pornography. The trials are not unusual to Kenya.

There have been several documentaries unearthing the mistreatment and exploitation of models particularly with the explosion of sexual harassment lawsuits. It is not simple making it in the enterprise for anyone.

Not even Kendall Jenner whom at age 16 began out being chaperoned and managed by her mother. This has been the case for pretty many young underage models whether American or even immigrants. Tyra Banks is another great example. Mothers have had to be watchful and fierce on their daughter’s behalf. The modelling industry is not kind to the solitary and the naive.

Contracts kept coming up. Which is great. Proof of a brand’s legitimacy. Bringing your own deal for signing as an unrepresented model though makes you seem intrusive and unlikeable. Rather, work at creating a settlement in real time with a brand. That, or have someone else present to manage the administrative phases of the modelling business because eventually, that is what it is – a business. Word to the smart. If you want to be treated well as a business, then be a marketing, woman. Look out for yourself in all the means you can.


Discover ways to step out of the shadows of a thousand different girls by having a reliable work ethic, channelling more than one interpretation of severe, keeping up with your preferred field, sharpening your people professions – because let’s face it. It is the interpersonal stuff that makes you on top of the board. It is not all enough to look the part. You need to, say it with me now, become a model. Oh, and names on the billboard don’t owe the model funds. It is the agency pledged to make it.

Distinguish the variations between the runway and editorial shoots, looks and poses. Emphasise that physical feature that makes you stand out. Moreover, this is important. Be useful, alert, helpful, and easy to work with on set and location. It is the little things which make models remarkable. Anyone remember who Malaika is? She has since moved to Tanzania and is now a successful radio presenter.


The designer was all of 5’5 if not less, three inches shorter than a runway model ought to be. However, designers loved having her on the runway.

Do not think of Naomi as a role model when it gets to temperament and style. What worked for her well – and even this is controversial – will not work for you. If you have seen her Oprah interview, and why haven’t you, you will get that it was an essential thing. There are hoops in every career opportunity. You need to put on your real Wonder Woman outfit and fight for yourself and if Sheila Kanini is anything to go by, move into the ring on behalf of others as well.


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