Malaika Firth is having a fashion moment. Her sweet lips, cat’s eyes, willowy limbs and caramel skin give the 19-year-old an exceptional beauty that seems so right, right now.
She was born in Mombasa to a Kenyan mother and English father and also has Ugandan, Seychellois, Swiss and British blood. She moved with her family to Barking, east London, aged seven. She grew up being mesmerised by the “pretty girls in magazines” and signed to Premier in 2011, cutting her teeth at ASOS and select editorials. Then came the big one – Prada’s A/W 13/14 campaign – shot by Steven Meisel. The casting caused ripples, largely because Firth is the first black woman to appear in a Prada ad since Naomi Campbell in 1994.
Fashion instantly fell at her dainty feet, which went on to walk all over the S/S 14 and A/W 14 catwalks for brands including Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier and Kenzo. She then appeared in S/S14 campaigns for Valentino, Burberry Prorsum and Prada again. Her credits also include i-D, Love and French Vogue magazines and she once got star struck while modelling for Beyoncé’s House of Dereon label.
Despite her dizzying success so far, Firth isn’t showing any signs of becoming a party girl just yet. She’s a Christian and prays before each show. She’s modelled for Victoria’s Secret but won’t pose nude. Her icons are Tyra Banks and Jourdan Dunn because of their hard work ethic. And as she revealed on Instagram, her Christmas holidays weren’t spent on an oligarch’s yacht but back in Mombasa, delivering school supplies to local children and helping out at her grandmother’s restaurant, “learning secret recipes” and “eating delicious creole food”.
Watch this face because she’s one good girl who won’t go bad.