This week’s Model of the Week, Daniella Morgan, sat down with Zen’s editor to talk about being Kenyan, her beauty secrets, favorite African designers, models and her plans for the future.
Zen: Tell us about yourself. Where are you from?
Danniella: I’m originally from Kenya and England but identify myself as a Kenyan. It’s where I grew up and it’s the only place I have ever known to be home.
Zen: When and why did you get into modeling?
Danniella: I really didn’t choose modeling as a path, it kind of chose me. My best friend from high school thought I could do it but I never took her seriously until one day when she secretly enrolled me into the Surazuri Modeling Agency. A few weeks later I got my first big break, a Coca–Cola advertisement. After that I decided to venture deeper into modeling not only to see what it offers but to also see what I offer and bring to the table. It completely redefined me as a person and boosted my esteem in more ways that I could never imagine. Like I always say to myself: confidence is the one outfit you can not buy. You have to own it!
Zen: Who are some of your favorite African models?
Danniella: I will start with my absolute favorites right here from home. I love Lola Hannigan, Steffi Retti, and Tendai Makeri. On the international scene, I love Alek Wek, IMAN and Malaika Firth!
Danniella: Modeling liberated me from the chains of insecurity and low self esteem. I can now confidently put out there that I really like who I’m becoming. Most if not majority of successful models are not your typical beauties. They are usually labelled as strange or weird looking. Modeling gives a way to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. It is a beautiful form of self expression where you can be anything you want to be; with the right styling of course (Laughs). Some people see art and some people are art. Modeling enables me to see the best in myself, even the parts I didn’t know were there. I wouldn’t just restrict modeling to just models, everyone deserves to feel beautiful.
Zen: Your favorite shoot or campaign work to date?
Danniella: My favorite shoot would have to be shooting my very first portfolio work done by the incredible Thandiwe Muriu. It was my very first shoot and it opened up a lot of doors for me.
Zen: How would you describe your style?
Danniella: My style is based on my mood. I am very diverse. If I’m feeling retro I will rock the big hair with some Ray–Bans and maybe throw in some denim. If I’m feeling girly I will dress up in a dress.
Zen: When it comes to what makeup you put on. What beauty products or tips can you swear by?
Danniella: Ironically given my profession I am dreadful at doing my own makeup however I do have a few tips up my sleeve. MAC lipsticks are everything! What you see is what you get and they never disappoint. Always avoid using too much foundation. I am not sure about other skin tones but mine in particular doesn’t suit MAC foundation. It makes me look too over done so I’d recommend Black Opal and lip liners, they are very sexy and a great investment.
Zen: What do you think about African fashion?
Danniella: It’s on the rise that’s for sure. More young adults are venturing into design fresh out of university so I’d say Africa is definitely going to be out on the map and more designers are thinking out of the box which is exactly what we needed. For a while I was skeptical because every fashion show I attended seemed to show the same fabric with the same designs being utterly exhausting. It’s time for a change and I think this time we are going to like what we see.
Zen: Who are a few of your favourite African designers?
Danniella: I love Firyal Hussain of NURS Creations. They are authentic and I can actually wear her dresses! A few other favorites of mine are Dave Cloth, Anthony Mulli and Moo Cows Designs.
Zen: If you could go on a dinner date with one celebrity, who would it be?
Danniella: Russel Brand of course. I adore him and I love his train of thought. He was voted top ten most influential thinkers of our time and you can see why because he has a brilliant combination of wit, humor and intelligence. It would be a very intriguing dinner date, I also have a major crush on him.
Zen: 5 things you can’t live without
Danniella: The 5 things I can’t live without are my family, my childhood friends, my boyfriend, my dog and my music.
Zen: Your favorite African musicians.
Danniella: My favorites are Sauti Sol, P-Square, Fuse ODG and Wyre.
Zen: 5 facts about you people may not know
Danniella: The 5 facts about me no one else knows are my mother and grandmother were both models before, I’m allergic to tequila, I don’t want to model my whole life though I would love to own my own agency, I have been raised by my very beautiful very hard working grandmother Belle Njambi Morgan my entire life and lastly I speak fluent Kikuyu.
Zen: What’s next for Danniella?
Danniella: I’m working on a very exciting new project titled ‘The fashion revolution‘. I will be teaming up with some of Kenyans finest up and coming photographers, stylists, models and make up artists so stay posted. I am a part time host on Wednesday nights What’s good LIVE mid night hump show (love and lust segment). I am hoping to venture more into media and travelling more this year because I love to travel a lot. I’m also starting a model mentorship program that’s still in the making. I am also an active animal right activist and I’d love for people to get more involved in such initiatives like Tsavo Trust Fund, KSPCA and KWS.
To connect with Danniella on social media, join her on Instagram Danniella Morgan