Malaika Firth: 'Modelling shows the real me'
Malaika Firth views modelling as the perfect way to express herself.
The 22-year-old fashion star was born in Kenya but moved to London when she was seven years old, where her mother encouraged her to pursue modelling after watching an episode of TV show The Model Agency. After being signed on the spot by Premier Model Management aged 17 Malaika’s career quickly soared, with a notable job being the first black model in 19 years to land a Prada campaign in 2013.
“I really do love modelling,” she smiled to Britain’s Harper’s Bazaar magazine. “For me it’s like dancing, performing. I’m not a great talker, so expressing myself physically is a joy.”
Her star status saw her named the publication’s Model of the Year for 2016, but she hasn’t let fame go to her head. When she isn’t busy posing or walking the catwalk you’ll find Malaika at home with her family, who she puts first no matter what the occasion.
“They are everything to me,” she noted. “I am the only one working, and I am so happy about that. My dad has worked so hard and now he can relax.”
Her mother still accompanies her to fashion shows and the pair often pray backstage before the model steps out into the spotlight. Malaika actually means ‘angel’ in some languages, and she chose the moniker herself after her real name clashed with another girl.
“There was another model with my name – Tamara – when I was starting, so I had to pick a new one,” she recalled. “I love it that I have a work name. Malaika is the more confident side of me.”
The star’s confidence and stunning face has seen her compared to supermodel Naomi Campbell, who Malaika describes as her “idol”. She’s thrilled to be seen as similar to the fashion legend and is even more pleased that models of colour are more prominent in the industry nowadays.
“It’s great there are so many more (black) girls up there now. This is important,” she concluded.