We’re super excited to introduce you to Nafisa Kaptownwala and Sekyiwa Wi-Afedzi. First up, we chat with Nafisa about her game-changing modeling agency Lorde Inc., their mission for inclusivity and why selfies matter. Then, get to know Sekyiwa, the beauty behind our holiday campaign, as we quiz her on all of her favorite things.
HOW DID YOU START THE AGENCY? I started the project in London with a friend. It was actually his idea and I had all these ideas for logos and what I wanted the website/roster to look like, so I started building it and, soon after he was pretty overwhelmed doing his PhD, he had to bail. I started by contacting friends and friends of friends that had some modeling experience. I mostly wanted to just highlight the beautiful that I know and had my friend Arvida Bystrom shoot our first faces.
DO YOU THINK THE ISSUE OF DIVERSITY IN MODELING HAS EVOLVED? It’s evolved in terms of diversity becoming a buzzword and it never actually being fulfilled in a sincere way. Diversity is now used to refer to having one light skinned woman of color in Colgate commercials among mostly white women. I kind of try to refrain from using the term diversity as much as I’m working towards inclusivity. Diversity these days often still tokenizes, fetishizes, excludes many folks and still adheres to heteronormative European beauty standards.
HOW DO YOU RECRUIT MODELS? Online is a great way to recruit models because people often post photos of themselves or selfies, and it gives a pretty good sense of whether or not they like to have their photo taken.