Some people pursue modelling; Khadijah Shakir was pushed into it. It all started at a model search for rapper P. Diddy’s Sean John clothing line.

She thought she was there supporting her sister, Tiara Ming, until she was handed a number for the casting call.

“I was like ‘no’, but they pretty much pushed me on the stage,” she said. “The crazy thing is the organisers were like, ‘You’re perfect. Let’s do this’. I was 16 years old and too young at the time, so nothing came out of it, but it was still a big thing for me.”

The 22-year-old is now a regular face on the Bermuda Fashion Festival catwalk. Organisers got her a meeting with Wilhelmina Models. She heads to New York this month to see representatives from the talent management agency, recognised as one of the world’s best.

“I’ll be meeting with them to see if they want to represent me,” she said.

“It’s exciting and I’m glad I’m able to do it because being from Bermuda you can only go so far here and I feel like I’ve done pretty much all the shows I can do on the island.

“Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of great people, but to take it to the next level if I’m trying to do that I would have to go away.”

Danilee Trott, the festival’s executive producer, helped to arrange the coveted meeting. Miss Shakir works alongside her as an intern in the city’s events department. She spends her days making phone calls, running errands and doing video-editing work for some of the City of Hamilton’s social media posts.

“I’m working two jobs at the moment, so I can save up to go back to school,” the aspiring model said.

“I want to study communications at Kean University in New Jersey. My heart is very much into modelling, so if I ever got the chance to sign a contract I would in a heartbeat, but it’s important to also have a plan B.”

Miss Shakir comes from a “conservative family” and never imagined she would enjoy modelling so much.

She was hooked the first time she stepped on to the catwalk — for the city’s Evolution Fashion Show in 2011.

“I just like the rush of being on the runway,” she said. “I don’t know what it is. The thing is you practise and practise and it all seems to go by so fast. The show starts and then it’s over and you’re sitting there and thinking, ‘I want to do it again’.

“It’s the lights and adrenalin rush of it all; you get to wear nice clothes and have your hair and make-up done. I enjoy runway modelling more than print work or photoshoots.”

She says she has learnt a lot in the past five years.

“When I first started, my face was too serious,” she said. “I would look in the magazines and see everyone was so straight-faced so I would try to emulate that.

“Evolution had a runway coach named Dean Parris and he said, ‘Your walk is fierce, but try not to look so angry’. So I had to try to work on that.

“[But] even if you have on the best outfit, hair and make-up, it won’t matter if you aren’t confident when you walk that runway.

“You know it inside and everyone watching can see if you’re not confident. So no matter how old you are or what size you are you have to be confident and rock it out.”

 

From: Royalgazette.com