Danniella Morgan on Resilience In The Face Of Adversity In The Kenyan Creative Economy
BY HARUN MOMANYI FOR KUNG'ARA STORE
Modeling may seem like a walk in the park to most, but that’s certainly not the case as evidenced by Danniella's journey. Despite the numerous challenges she’s faced, the bold model has worked with leading photographers in Nairobi, popular fashion brands and notable events. In our conversation with her, Danniella opened up about her most recent collaborations, her battle with alopecia as well as starting her own modeling agency!
Here’s what she had to say.
Daniella, you've been working on a lot of exciting projects lately after a hiatus that saw you start your own modeling agency. Tell us what you've been up to in the past year?
Truth be told, I had neglected my creative side for a while and wasn't really investing much into my visual dreams and then I decided to make it happen and channel all my energy into recreating my portfolio…so far so good! Hard work has brought on a lot of amazing opportunities and my brand is better than ever.
What is Morgan Modeling Agency all about and what was the inspiration behind it? You’ve worked with major lifestyle brands for TV ads. How has that prepared you for your current endeavours in the modeling industry?
Morgan Model Management was inspired by the lack of proper guidance and mentorship in the industry that preys on just exactly that, the lack of knowledge which paves the easiest path to exploitation, infringement and much more. Working with various commercial brands and editorials prepared me for the way things work. When you're familiar with procedures and the way things are done in the industry, it prepares you to know better and when you know better, you do a lot better. When you take your craft seriously and professionally, you will reap just that from other people and create a professional brand which leads to well-paid jobs.
You dealt with alopecia, a condition which saw you lose some of your hair. However, you chose to share your recovery journey with your fans, and in the process ended up inspiring them. How has the experience impacted your life?
Alopecia is an auto immune disease that attacks your hair, resulting in hair loss. That's every bloody girl’s nightmare obviously, however I saw an opportunity in that; to be brave, push and challenge beauty standards, to be the realest version of myself. It impacted me negatively at first, playing around with different wigs, people picking on me, I lacked confidence. When I owned who I was because it was a part of me, I realized that it really wasn't that bad. It was actually something I conquered with positivity, patience and spunk. A great lesson in deed and my hair has never looked better!
Who would you say inspired you to be a model the most and why?
To be honest, nobody. It isn't something I thought I'd ever get into yet alone be good at. I just went for it and boom, this is a big part of my life now. No inspiration, just God giving you a nudge in the right direction. After being bullied a lot because of my looks, it's a great way to bounce back and prove to yourself that people were all wrong about you. My inspiration is that girl in high school, I'm glad I never let what other people said about me, affect me.
What drives you...keeps you going despite challenges that you may have faced?
The person I'm gong to be, I really like who I am becoming . That's what keeps me going, I know who I am, despite the many adversities, I really like how I handle myself in this roller coaster called life. I get knocked down a lot but I never stay down.
Your fashion sense has evolved in the past two years. You seem to have gained more confidence and your look is edgy but still classy. What's changed over that period?
Oh man, Pinterest was invented and everything changed ha-ha! I get inspired by all that is around me, I love taking risks because if you’re constantly in the spotlight and being watched, then you might as well give people something worth their while, something to inspire them and push themselves.
I love standing out and evolving. Also, pushing the norms that women have to dress a certain way to be addressed a certain way, it’s all rubbish to me . I believe I can be in the sexiest body suit, have a top notch degree, be a feminist and still respect myself all at once. Society inspired this.
You're a fun loving girl. What are some of the fun things you do during your free time besides modeling?
I love to read different articles tackling stuff I never knew about, I have a motto, every day I read about something I knew nothing about. I also love mentoring people, animal rights activism is a cause close to my heart, yoga on occasion and working out!
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five or ten years?
Having my own thing going on. Something I can call mine, whether it's expanding my agency or having my own foundation or making international waves. It has to be big and it has to have an impact. I see myself having an impact.
If you’ve been invited for an event, what would you choose from the Kung'ara online store to compliment your look?
Definitely the sunglasses. Kung’ara has some killer sunnies!
What's your advice to young people out there?
Be smart and know yourself, it's so important to know yourself.
Be thoughtful, better yourself yearly and push your boundaries. If you want something, go get it, period.