Kenyan Model Who Broke a 19-Year UK Record [PHOTOS]

  • Malaika Firth is an award-winning London-based model. She was born on March 23, 1994, in the coastal city of Mombasa.

    Her father, Eric, is of British, Seychellois and Ugandan descent, and mother, Jecinta, is half-Kenyan and half-Swiss. Malaika and her family lived in Kenya until she was seven, when the family moved to Barking, East London. Eric worked as a French polisher at the Four Seasons Hotel.

    Though now successful, Malaika revealed that she did not have it easy growing up.

    "I don’t come from a posh or high-class background. We lived in flats in the ghetto, our version of 'the Bronx'. We weren’t poor, but there wasn't a lot of money. I shared a room with my sister and my auntie. I struggled getting by in school," Malaika revealed to Hello Fashion Magazine.

    Malaika Firth models for Salvatore Ferragamos in 2018.

    "Home is Kenya or New York," stated the model, who has not been back to Barking after shew blew up, "The family has all moved to Kenya, so there are no ties to East London left."

    Her grandmother runs a restaurant in Kenya.

    Malaika was first encouraged by her mother to try out modeling in 2011, after watching an episode of "The Model Agency", which featured a documentary about the Premier Model Management. Her mother phoned the agency's founder Carole White and arranged a meeting with them. 

    After attending an open-call casting, Malaika was signed on the spot.

    Beginning her modeling career at age 17, Firth soon began modeling internationally: She gave her runway-debut at the New York Fashion Week SS2012 for Odilon. 

    Malaika Firth for the Porter Magazine

    Malaika’s breakthrough came after being shot by Steven Meisel for the Prada Fall-Winter 2013 Campaign, making her the first black model in 19 years to appear in the campaign, since Naomi Campbell in 1995, as well as an appearance on the Prada runway modeling their resort collection.

    Continuing to go from strength to strength in 2013 she was chosen by Victoria's Secrets, a highlight for any model. 

    The fashion world is smitten with Malaika, being deemed by as one of the Top 50 models in the world. Malaika was nominated for Model of the Year at the 2015 British Fashion Awards and received the Harpers’ Bazaar UK award for Model of the Year in 2016.

    "When they picked me I was ecstatic, I remember praying to God and saying, Thank-you for this," she stated in an interview with Hello Fashion Magazine.

    Malaika Firth models for a nature magazine

    Since then, Malaika has graced the catwalk in over 40 shows for designers including; Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Topshop Unique, Erdem, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Celine and Miu Miu.

    Malaika has appeared in campaigns for Burberry, Prada, Topshop, Valentino, and Marc Jacobs Fragrance. Editorials include Vogue Paris, British Vogue, W Magazine, LOVE, Interview, AnOther, and i-D.

    Here are more photos;

    Malaika Firth modeling
    ​ Malaika Firth models for Salvatore Ferragamos in 2018.
    Malaika Fith

    Malaika Firth
    Malaika Firth

    Malaika Firth

    ​ Malaika Firth