Watch our exclusive backstage interview with Malaika Firth
Grazia Daily has a major model crush a-brewing and the lady is Malaika Firth. The Kenyan-born British model from Barking in Essex first landed on our radar when she posed in her first ever campaign last year, for Prada no less. Not only did the coup catapult her into the next level of modelling fame, but it also made her the first black face of the Italian brand since Naomi Campbell back in 1994. That's almost 20 years ago!
Now Malaika is strutting her stuff all over the catwalks of New York Fashion Week and we can. not. get. enough. We spotted the 19-year-old getting beautified at the Michael Kors show earlier today so took the chance to discuss how it feels to be the model-du-jour.
For starters, is she getting any rest? 'Right now, I'm actually not that busy so I get a decent amount of sleep. And I have my mum with me as well as she helps me out as well which is great. Thank you, mummy!' she says, beaming at the camera. This is the very same mummy who was watching The Model Agency on TV and decided to put her daughter forward to Premier models boss, Carole White. And the rest, as they say, is history...
Malaika is taking NYFW by storm [Getty; Instagram]
This season, she's walked for Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Diane Von Furstenberg and Prabal Gurung as well as Michael Kors - and we're still only in the first quarter of fashion month. Next it'll be London where she's looking forward to walking for Burberry after starring in the Brit brand's Spring Summer 2014 campaign. 'I hope I get to do that, it's going to be fun,' she says.
Yes, Malaika is now part of the close-knit Burberry family, which includes the likes of Cara Delevingne. We wonder whether the young catwalker feels pressure to follow in Cara's footsteps by creating a public persona via social media. 'You know what, I love Instagramming and it comes naturally to me,' she tells us. 'Whenever I like something, I can just take a picture - I don't even think about it. If it's food or how I look or what I wear or what I see, it's just easy.' Follow her pronto!
But ultimatley, Ms Firth isn't bothered about peer pressure. 'I'm just being me and seeing where life takes me. I'm happy and grateful that these [designers] still want to use me.' Something tells us she's not going anywhere.
See more of what we're loving at NYFW with our editors' diary below...