From: Burundi
Agency: Dulcedo Management
Discovered: When she came to Canada to study four years ago.

ON BEING PART OF A SHOOT FOCUSING ON NATURAL HAIR “It’s amazing. We are getting there; diversity is what we’re fighting for. [We need to do] more things like this.”

FAVOURITE HAIR CARE PRODUCTS “Basically, oil and conditioner and masks. I like argan oil and coconut oil. I’m not picky [about products]. When my hair is wet, I just comb it. And then when I have time, I just let it air dry. It’s going to be frizzy I know, but in that way it’s going to be healthier.

HER DAY-TO-DAY MAKEUP “The only thing I do is just mascara. L’Oréal Telescopic Mascara. I love that one. I’m not a foundation girl. I tend to avoid that because I’m always on set and I like to let my skin breathe.”


From: Toronto
Agency: Elmer Olsen Model Management
Discovered: At 14. “People were always saying, ‘oh you should be a model.’”

ON BEING A PART OF THIS SHOOT “I’ve never been in a photo shoot where it’s all black people. Usually there is one black person and seven Caucasian women. We all come from different backgrounds and we can share stories together. And I kind of feel at peace because at other shoots, nobody would talk to each other.”

ON HER RELATIONSHIP WITH HER HAIR “My sister is a hairdresser. I started with braids. My mom wouldn’t let me wear a weave because she said it would be too grown-up for me. Grade 5 graduation was the only time I could wear one; it was a clip-on ponytail. In Grade 8, I got to wear a long weave. I loved it! I would get it sewn in. But I would have to straighten it and comb it out, or brush it out. In high school, I started wearing all natural. [Wearing a weave] is too much time. You have to maintain it.”

MUST-HAVE PRODUCTS “I wash my hair probably twice a week. I use Moroccanoil shampoo and conditioner. I put more [conditioner] than I’m supposed to be, just to cover my whole hair, and then I wait two minutes and then I wash it out. Then I towel dry it and then let it air dry. After, I just moisturize it with a grease. And I always have Blistex in my pocket.”


From: Toronto
Agency: Dulcedo Management
Discovered: Three weeks before our shoot at a Beyoncé concert in Toronto. “I got stopped by one of the agents. I got her card and I emailed her. This is my first shoot.”

ON BEAUTY IN 2016 “I grew up in Toronto in a predominantly black community. Everyone had my hair…. I think our perception of beauty is changing. [The acceptance toward] sizes are changing, heights are changing. The look is changing. It’s really nice to see. It’s good to live in our time.”

FAVOURITE HAIR PRODUCTS “I wash my hair every day. I use SheaMoisture. I comb it with my fingers. [After my shower] I leave a little bit of conditioner just on the ends. Then, I use coconut oil on the top of my hair and leave conditioner on the bottom so it keeps up that curly. I scrunch it up and let my hair air dry.”

MUST-HAVE MAKEUP “I use Nars foundation in Syracuse and M.A.C concealer and powder. Sometimes it’s hard to find my exact skin tone because I have a yellow undertone, and it’s really hard to get coverage that isn’t too white or too dark. On my lips, I prefer a nude colours, but for fall I like burgundy.”

FAMILY SECRET “My mom told me to put olive oil in my hair. She tells me to sleep with it, and then in the morning wash it and it you have softer hair.”

BEAUTY ICONS “I like doing me. But if I do have a beauty icon, I would say Iman. I relate to her because she’s Somali like me. And she’s a timeless beauty.”


From: Kenya
Agency: Next Models Canada
Discovered: In 2007 at a Bay Street Tim Hortons while visiting from Guelph

BEAUTY ROUTINE “I don’t use a lot of makeup to be honest. I just cleanse with Clearasil and use moisturizer. I fill in my eyebrows and use a bit of foundation on my T-Zone, a bit of coverage under the eye, any blemishes. I keep it very simple.”

FAVOURITE FOUNDATIONS “I usually use M.A.C., Nars or Make Up For Ever.”

HAIR DRESSER “My boyfriend is a barber, so he just cuts it for me. I cut it every month or so. I like to keep it short.” [Editor’s note: Naro naturally keeps her hair shaved.]

FAVOURITE MODEL “Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.”


From: Pickering, Ont.
Agency: Sutherland Models
Discovered: Ten years ago. Her dad took her into a modelling agency and she left that afternoon with a contract.

ON HER SIGNATURE RED HAIR “My sister has really dark, dark, dark hair. And she’d always be like, ‘Kiera you’re adopted!’ So, I’d cry. Nobody has red hair in my family. And nobody has freckles either so I was the oddball. I never really noticed my texture. I wanted it darker like my sister. But then modelling happened and then I got used to it. I’ve never coloured my hair ever! When I was younger I was super orange. Now it’s a dark auburn.”

BEAUTY ROUTINE “I never, ever, ever use shampoo. I always just condition and then sometimes I use a leave-in conditioner by OGX. Then I have this leave-in conditioner called Parnevu, which I’ve been using for years. And then a curl cream.”

LEAVE-IN TREATMENT “When I’m off of work, I load up all my good products and that’s when I let them soak in. Sometimes for a week! I comb it out and then I twist it almost like little braids and then I tie it up. You really notice a difference; it’s so much softer.”

FAVOURITE PRODUCTS “I use Maybelline BB cream and Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Last Multiplying Volume Mascara. I swear by it.  My grandma would always get me the Estée Lauder gifts for Christmas. That was probably when I was in high school. And then, also for skincare, the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II.”


From: Toronto
Agency: Elmer Olsen Model Management
Discovered: Two years ago on the Danforth with her mother​

ON SELF-ACCEPTANCE “Being multi-racial, I had mixed feelings about my hair. When I was really young, I wanted straight hair and I kind of resented my untamed hair. It was quite fuzzy, and it had a mind of its own. I used to get bullied for it a lot. The kids weren’t racist, it was just different and they didn’t understand. I didn’t know how to deal with my hair either, so it wasn’t the best kept. As I grew up and there was more awareness of how to do up my hair, I felt more comfortable. My hair is something that really launched my career, so I have begun to accept it and like it.”

ON BEING A PART OF THIS SHOOT “I’m happy it’s happening. I’ve never done anything like this…[In university] I want to study social science, race and ethnicity, and how race is just a social construction. We’re all humans.”

BEAUTY ROUTINE “I have very dry and brittle hair. I wash it once a week, and I condition it a lot. I use a lot of natural products. SheaMoisture and Live Clean are the two brands that I use a lot. SheaMoisture is my favourite because it’s for people who have curly or coily hair. I use at least three tablespoons of conditioner and I finger comb it through my hair. I like SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. It smells really good and it makes my hair lightweight. I feel like a lot of mixed girls put too much product in their hair and then it looks way too weighed down. Then I use coconut and olive oil on top of the curl cream and let it air dry because that results in the least amount of damage.”

BEAUTY ICONS “Tyra Banks. [On America’s Next Top Model] she always talked about being black and that opened up a platform of acceptance of all types of everything. On Instagram, I follow all models, not just mixed ones or just black. I see them all as inspirational and people to look up to.”

FAVOURITE PRODUCTS “I love makeup, but I have very sensitive skin. I like to let my skin breathe when it has a chance. But I love M.A.C. lipstick. I would buy all the colours of the rainbow if possible. I just bought one called Chili and it a burnt orange colour that’s really nice. I love bronzer because I wish I was slightly darker than I am. Highlighting is a new thing so I’m testing it out. I like it because it makes everyone look dewy and healthy.”

“Natural Anthem” was originally published in the September 2016 issue of ELLE Canada. 

Photographs by Saty + Pratha; Beauty direction by Vanessa Craft; Hair, Justin German (; Makeup, Sabrina Rinaldi (; Manicure, Miyuki (; Fashion direction by Juliana Schiavinatto; Art direction by Brittany Eccles.