Malaika Firth on race, success, and Naomi Campbell

Malaika Firth for Prada

Malaika Firth for Prada

Kenyan-born, UK-raised Malaika Firth was interviewed by WWD. She's been making headlines as the first black model to book a Prada campaign in 19 years (when Naomi Campbell was cast). Ms. Firth identifies as neither black nor white, but recognizes the importance of her casting and Naomi as her predecessor.

WWD: You are the first black model to be featured in a Prada campaign since Naomi Campbell in 1994. How does that feel?
MF: I’m proud that I’m the second black model, but also, I’m mixed. I’m biracial. I find it really good that I’m not white and I’m not black. It’s amazing. Naomi Campbell is so big, so for me to be compared with her is wow.
WWD: Who do you look toward as role models within the industry?
MF: I look up to Jourdan Dunn and Joan Smalls. I met Jourdan in Oxford Circus two years ago when I just started modeling. She was supersweet. I thought she was going to be a diva, but she was so friendly.
WWD: How does it feel to be booking these major jobs so early in your career?
MF: It didn’t just happen like that. I’ve worked so hard for myself. I’ve done a lot of editorial shoots to get this Prada job and stuff. I feel like I’ve worked so hard to be where I am right now.

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