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    What makes a top model? Is it beauty, philanthropy, or popularity? In our eyes, it has to do with all three. However, what hits home for us most is the homage and light they bring to where it all started for them. Take a look at these four emerging African models who are not only elevating fashion, but also uplifting their countries while they’re at it.

    Model Watch: 4 Models Sharing Their Culture on the World Stage

    Words by Tia Muhammad

    What makes a top model? Is it beauty, philanthropy, or popularity? In our eyes, it has to do with all three. However, what hits home for us most is the homage and light they bring to where it all started for them. Take a look at these four emerging African models who are not only elevating fashion, but also uplifting their countries while they’re at it.

    Malaika Firth

    Kenyan-born British model, Malaika was born in Mombasa, Kenya March 23, 1994. She started modeling under Premier Model Management at the tender age of 17 after watching 'The Model Agency'. A documentary about the Premier agency on a local television channel. She frequents her hometown to help her grandmother with her local restaurant and gives back to the surrounding tribes through donations of clothing and food for children.

    ADONIS BOSSO

    Originally from the Ivory Coast, Adonis Bossa is an Ivorian model and singer. At the age of 3 he moved to Montreal and grew up volunteering at his family’s safe haven center for kids with cognitive impairments. He started modeling in Canada when he was 17, but he found it difficult to get work there.

    Sharing his difficulty of diversity in the modeling world, he wrote a mid-tempo hit entitled “Jungle” that shined a light on separation and hate across the world while also highlighting a more positive and accurate light on the African diaspora.

    FERNANDO CABRAL

    Born in Guinea-Bissau and raised in Portugal, this elite model has worked with notable brands from H&M to GQ and Balmain. In an interview with The Wild Magazine he shared how his native county will always be at his heart. “My goal in life is to eventually open up a school for children in my native home country Guinea-Bissau. My personal plan in the future is to work with non-governmental organizations to help African development.” He donates his time to a charity that a friend started called There Is No Limit Foundation. A foundation dedicated to empowering women and children in education and job creation. “What she is doing is very close to my heart, seeing the opportunities she is creating back in Africa for women and children.”

    KHOUDIA

    A Senegalese fashion model and actress at the top of her game is Khoudia Diop. Born and raised in Senegal, Khoudia moved to Paris at the fresh age of 15. Once bullied for her dark complexion, she turned her struggle into a passion project. As a new face of diversity in beauty, she continues to propel her natural beauty through diverse branding agency, The Colored Girl Project. A self-proclaimed “melanin goddess”, activist for anti-bullying and advocate for acceptance and inclusion, this model is on everyone’s radar.