Model Malaika Firth has told how she used to cry after job rejections — as she graces her first Vogue cover.
The 19-year-old Londoner, who has been compared to Naomi Campbell, said she was reduced to tears at castings until she learned “how to become comfortable in my own skin”.
Now Firth, who was born in Kenya, grew up in Barking and lives in Camden, is heading towards stardom. After becoming the first black model since Campbell to front a Prada campaign — its autumn/winter ad drive — she will feature on the cover of a Vogue supplement.
Firth started on her path after watching an episode of The Model Agency — a documentary about the Premier agency. It prompted her mother to phone the organisation’s boss Carole White, who took the teenager on.
At first she struggled with the ups and downs of casting, but now goes to jobs alone: “I was going to castings with my mum, and I’d cry and cry when I didn’t get selected. You have to grow up pretty quickly … I needed to learn how to become comfortable in my own skin.”
When she feels anxious she speaks to her mother on the phone, and the pair also pray together. “God keeps me on a straight path,” she said. Campbell fronted a Prada campaign in 1994. Firth said: “I’m proud I’m the second black [Prada] model, but also I’m bi-racial. It’s a positive that I’m not white and I’m not black.”
Malaika covers the More Dash Than Cash supplement which comes alongside the November issue of Vogue, on sale Monday.