Diversity and inclusivity are two words that run deep through the fashion industry. The projection of the standard of beauty to be Eurocentric has been deeply rooted, from beauty brands not making foundation shades suitable for people with darker skin tone, to light skin models being mainly featured on runways and on covers, until quite recently. Even though there is yet more way to go, the industry’s committed effort to ensure increased representation of various races in the fashion industry is an improvement of the situation.
Making a break in the modelling industry is no easy task and it is even a more difficult task to do as a person of black descent. But major strides to break this status quo have been made, and are being made, and one such person striding the runways in elegance to break this status quo is model and founder of a skincare brand, Sira Kante.
Describe yourself with 3 words?
Charismatic, Funny and Caring
What was growing up like?
Growing up in the Bronx, NY was definitely a fun experience. When I was younger, before social media was a thing, I vividly remember playing in the fire hydrant water with my siblings and friends. We would play games like ding-dong ditch, red light-green light, jump double dutch with internet cable chords, throw house parties with my sisters, and more! I still remember those days like it was yesterday.
Let’s relive your first modelling experience. How was it like?
WOW! My first modelling experience was very untrusting to say the least. I remember attending a local fashion show that one of my friends was walking in. Because she was nervous, I came backstage to help calm her down and help her with her runway walk. The designer saw my walk and said very loudly “NOW THAT’S HOW YOU WALK!”. Moments later, the designer ended up throwing me in the show. I was so nervous at first but the more I understood what I had to do, I started to get the hang of it and the rest was history.
As a black model growing up in the US, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
As a black model in the US, there are a few challenges I’ve faced for sure. Unfortunately, most of them were centered around racism. I remember a photoshoot that I took part in alongside two other white models. When I got to hair and makeup, the makeup artiste didn’t have a single shade of foundation or concealer for my skin tone. I couldn’t believe I ended up shooting in blue eyeliner. Thankfully the industry is changing but it’s still unfortunate that Black models still deal with this type of ignorance from time to time. It’s up to us to be vocal about our experiences and stand up for ourselves in order for things to change.
What are some of the notable brands you’ve walked for/worked with so far?
I’ve been honored to work with L’Oréal, H&M, Calvin Klein, Clinique, Amore Pacific, Gucci, Valentino, Neutrogena, Cle de Peau, Coach, Marni, and UNICEF. I’m super proud of myself to have worked with these brands as a freelance model. Throughout my entire career, I’ve never been signed to an agency until March 2022 with Yanii Models! Super excited for what’s to come!
What inspired you to start your skincare brand?
As a kid, I’ve always been super interested in hands-on/crafty activities. When I was younger, I would always see my mother mixing up different natural products and essential oils for herself and the family. In my family, everyone has combination and sensitive skin types so we have always been super careful about what we used for our skin. Whenever I would help her mix up the products, I saw it as a bonding experience for the two of us. That’s how I fell in love with skincare. Trying out products that were beneficial to having healthy skin became my favorite thing to do. My skincare brand, Aris Beauty Skin was created as a reflection of myself and my Guinean heritage. Very excited to show you what we have in store for the future!
What are your 3 beauty tips for a glowing skin?
When it comes to exfoliation, it’s VERY important to be gentle on the surface of your face. I always recommend using a gel-based exfoliating wash instead of a sugar base. Sugar-based exfoliators can be very damaging to your epidermis. Unfortunately, it would also take a while for the damage to be reversed.
The second tip that I highly recommend is, after cleansing your face, for glowing skin, I always follow up with toner. Toners can help minimize pores which will reduce impurities from entering your skin.
The third and most important tip for glowing skin is moisturizing. When you moisturize every day, you reduce the chances of your skin drying out. If you neglect this step, you will eventually end up with a tough texture to your face which will also lead to having flaky skin.
How does it feel anytime you come back home and which African countries have you visited so far?
Whenever I come back home, I always feel like my soul truly belongs in the motherland. The food, the palm trees, the sun, the beautiful people, the cultures, I could go on forever. It all feels like part of me because it is like the saying goes “America made me, but Africa is in me”. So far, I’ve visited Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Ghana.
You visited Ghana over the holidays. How was the experience like?
Visiting Ghana for the first time was by far my top 5 best experiences. I was sent out to Accra with the Afrochella team handling backstage press. As a kid growing up in the Bronx, my family and I were living in a predominantly Ghanaian and Hispanic community. We were very fond of popular artists such as Ofori Amponsah. So, to be in Accra and actually listening to the music felt so nostalgic. I honestly can’t wait to go back!
When you are not on set/runway, or working on your skincare brand, what will you be found doing?
During my free time, I truly enjoy painting, cooking, and spending time with my family. It keeps me sane through the chaos of work.
How do you stay fit and in shape?
From time to time, I actually enjoy going on a keto diet. The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb diet that forces the body to burn fat rather than carbs. I also enjoy going for a run to clear my mind.
You are an inspiration to many black girls. What advice will you give to your 14-year-old young self?
Thank you! Believe me when I say, I’m truly honored and grateful to be! The best advice I can give my 14-year-old self would be to stay focused on your vision. Remember what makes you different from everyone, be persistent and ultimately remember, if it’s always on your mind, it’s 100% worth going after. Stay humble throughout your journey and put God above all!
INTERVIEW: Faith Senam