Real Housewives of Dubai: How Kenyan Girl Married at 14 Became a Multi-Millionaire

  • Kenyan-born supermodel Chanel Ayan living in Dubai.
    Kenyan-born supermodel Chanel Ayan living in Dubai.
    Bravo TV
  • American philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, saying 'Success usually comes to those who are too busy looking for it,' seems to be the force driving Kenyan-born model, Chanel Ayan.

    Unveiled as one of the newest cast members in the Real Housewives of Dubai, Ayan's journey to the top has not always been a straight path, stemming from her struggles in a remote village in Kenya.

    The beauty entrepreneur has previously opened up about her challenging childhood in the country, noting that her father tried to forcefully marry her off at a tender age of 14 years only.

    When she turned 18 years old, the long-limbed beauty of Ethiopian and Somali descent moved to Brazil where she started her career in modeling before eventually moving to Dubai, known as the 'City of Gold and everything sparkly.'

    Kenyan-born supermodel Chanel Ayan in haute couture.
    Kenyan-born supermodel Chanel Ayan in haute couture.
    Instagram
    Chanel Ayan

    She was ecstatic when unveiled as one of the members of the international franchise of the Real Housewive's series noting that she is the first from her village to achieve such a feat.

    "I’m the first black supermodel in Dubai. First-person from my village or from my generation to do something really big as this. So I feel so proud!" she noted with ecstasy.

    In her 18-year stay in Dubai, Ayan has achieved success in modeling as well as appearing in campaigns of luxury brands like Valentino and Cartier.

    After hobnobbing in the industry for over 22 years, the model dipped her toes in the entrepreneurship pool where she founded her own talent agency and created a cosmetics line, Ayan by Toni Malt and Ayan Skin.

    Today, her net worth is pegged between Ksh117 million and Ksh176 million.

    “My style is as big as my personality: outrageous. I bring drama with my fashion. I show a lot of things. I show simplicity sometimes, but honestly, I’m not a very simple person. I’m not a basic person. I’m definitely one of a kind.

    "Like someone you’re only going to see in this lifetime. I love that people are going to see me like that because I’ve never been the type of person that likes to fit in. I’m the type of person that likes to live my life the way I want to live it," she revealed in a past interview with Women's Wear Daily, a US fashion outlet.

    Her entry into the modeling industry was made possible after she was 'approached by a guy saying, ‘Hey, you can be a model’." A challenge she took on and has been rewarding since.

    She is married to Luca Salves who she met in Brazil and the two are blessed with a 14-year-old son. Lucas is an artist and model from Idaho in the US.

    Kenyan-born model Chanel Ayan (left) and Real Housewives franchise creator Andy Cohen.
    Kenyan-born model Chanel Ayan (left) and Real Housewives franchise creator Andy Cohen.
    Instagram
    Chanel Ayan