Regina MannehWe’re 3 minutes into our interview and Regina Manneh, a 23 year old Gambian model suddenly pauses. “I’ve to be honest,” she says, looking out into the snowy UK weather. “Modelling for me started while I was in Stockholm in 2009 and I couldn’t have done it without the love and support I got from my step mother.” You’ve got to admire young models who are totally passionate with their work – especially one who is always optimistic and is seriously down-to-earth. “I got inspired to get into modelling after watching supermodels like Naomi Campbell, and IMAN on TV,” she says. “I remember watching fashion shows a lot and people always thought I was a model because I loved taking pictures, loved everything about modelling and I used to dress like a model though, at the time, I wasn’t a model.” It wasn’t long before Regina got a taste of real modelling when she got signed by Megan Modelling Agency in Stockholm. It was a fresh challenge for Regina, and one she was seriously excited about. “I was really excited when I got signed to Megan Modelling Agency,” she says with a smile on her face. “In fact, if it wasn’t for my agency, I would never have been able to work for top brands like Zara, Gina Tricot, Bjorn Borg and Hunter to name a few.” After a short spell at Megan Modelling Agency, Regina decided it was time to take her career to the next level. In the summer of 2011, she got signed by Dubai based agency Diva Model Agency with the support of her mother Therese Carvalho, a move which has seen her walk at the 2011 Dubai Fashion Week, and The Longest Catwalk in the world. She has also been featured in a commercial for Emirates Fashion Week 2012, participated at the Galatasary fashion show in Turkey for their football team and has worked with a host of local designers including Debora Velasquez, Easton Pearson, Rocky Gathercole Atelier, and Amber Feroz. Apart from being signed to the agency in UAE, Regina is also signed to Cliche Model Management agency in the UK. “I feel blessed,” says Regina. “To be represented by 2 top agencies though in different countries is a good feeling because it means I can work with a larger network of professionals and we all know to be successful as a model, you need that push from an agency.” This year has been an amazing year for Regina as she became the Face of Africa Fashion Week London 2013. She also got to strut her legs on the catwalks in London, Dubai and Los Angeles and, according to Gina, being the Face of Africa Fashion Week London 2013 opened many doors for her. “Being the Face of Africa Fashion Week London 2013, has opened and is still opening many doors for me in the industry,” says Regina. “Because of that opportunity, I was able to work with so many talented designers and I must say, each designer had their own unique style and I was so pleased to have worked with them.” Now with the year coming to an end, Regina says she is super excited and can’t wait for 2014 to begin. “I have always wanted to be a model,” she says. “Now I am in a position to fulfil my dreams to the max and I want to give my career my all. There are so many designers and brands I would love to work with. One designer I am itching to work with is Tom Ford. I have been watching a lot of his shows for years now and I think he is amazing. His style is amazing, his dresses always leave me speechless and I would really love to work with him someday.

2013 has been an incredible year for Regina with so many amazing moments to cherish. We love models who inspire others to become better people and Regina is one model who inspires us so much. “Always believe in yourself and always be willing to work harder,” Regina says in response to the question about any inspirational words for aspiring models. “Don’t take no for an answer and learn from every situation.” These are truly great words from a great fashion model!

Photography: Teemi Unistar
Designer: Fumsol London