Celai West is a 10-year-old girl who is making serious waves in the fashion industry. During New York Fashion Week SS19, she became the youngest professional runway model to walk among an all-adult lineup. Footage from the show instantly went viral. However, it was not because she was walking with adults, but because her posture, mature and graceful walk on the runway went beyond a person of her age. She was walking just like the adults.
West began modeling at the age of three, when she did her very first photo shoot. It was at that moment she fell in love with the profession. She later signed on with a modeling agency at five. When things slowed down, her mom signed her up for a local fashion show. Once again, at age seven, she revived her love for modeling, but this time doing it on the runway.
At age seven, she started her own t-shirt line, TheChattyChick.com, as a way to empower little girls with big hair. She believes everyone should be proud of his or her hair because it is God’s gift. From little girls, her tee line expanded to include adults and the entire family.
West has worked with different companies, including Target, Walmart, Gap, Disney and Allstate. However, modeling is not all she does. She is also a talented actress and one of her most recent films, I Am My Own Mother, was premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
West says Liris Crosse, her ‘model mother,’ is her biggest inspiration. Her mother’s recent Model Diversity Project really inspired her because she spoke about how much representation matters, which is something West strongly stands for.
West and her platform are known for always being positive and helping to inspire others. Each quote represents something she has experienced, or is currently experiencing, and those same words helped her to continue on her path and build confidence.
Her mom says: “I am big on pouring (information) into my children, and if it helped them, why not share a few of those drops with the world? Each little girl who has been inspired by Celai has also inspired Celai to keep going. So, we just want to give back that support that people have given us.”
As with anything, there have been challenges, but West would not allow them to discourage her. She has experienced her share of negativity, when it comes to her hair, but she immediately turned it into something positive. She is making it a point to show little girls her beautiful hair texture.
West and her mom have also started doing hair tutorials to show people how to style and care for kinky or coiled hair textures.
West is currently in the 5th Grade. She is an outstanding student and does not like missing too much school for work, and when she does, she always makes it up by completing school homework, and not making excuses. Her favourite subjects in school are mathematics and the sciences. She has been an Honour Roll student since kindergarten. She wants to set the example that models can be smart too.
West wants to encourage kids to pursue their dreams, and never to give up on them. “If there is something you love to do, keep doing your best at it, set goals and never give up on your dreams! But make sure you are having fun and keep doing good in school.”
We are so excited for West and we cannot wait to see what she accomplishes in the future!