Meet Nicole Bryant, Kenya's Quintessential Millennial Model
BY HARUN MOMANYI FOR KUNG'ARA STORE
Nicole Bryant is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after models in Nairobi. Her striking beauty, irresistible charm, hard work and go-getter persona has positioned her for immense future success. From Kung'ara Kenya to Coca Cola, Nicole has collaborated with iconic lifestyle brands. She is living proof that when done right, modeling is a rewarding occupation in Kenya.
Nicole has attracted the attention of various media houses, with her most noticeable project being the Mpasho News Unplugged Vlog. The aspiring fashion entrepreneur has her eyes on the prize, with plans to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology and scaling her Bomb Sunnies signature line that she launched in 2016. Despite the numerous challenges, she is making strides. “The modeling industry in Africa is growing rapidly but unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the compensation rewarded to commercial models in Kenya,” she opened up in her 2016 interview with Best Model Reviews Africa. The 22-year-old is truly an unstoppable train to stardom. So what are her immediate future plans? We caught up with the vibrant Nicole and here's what she had to say:
Kung’ara Kenya: Nicole, you're a fast-rising commercial model in Kenya. We're aware you've worked with many lifestyle brands before and collaborated with several entertainers in the showbiz industry. Tell us, what's your take on the current state of the modeling world in East Africa and beyond?
Nicole: The industry in Kenya has lots of potential to create a sense of livelihood for aspiring models, as there's a large base of untapped talent and rising stars; it's only a matter of time until the world really begins to take notice of the diversity of models in this country. We also have skilled and talented photographers. I feel that Kenyans should really take notice of this industry, appreciate it and create systems that will protect the rights of our own models because agencies tend to take advantage of the gullibility of new models. Awareness too should be created amongst models in order for them to know when their rights are being infringed upon. As a model, this also starts with educating oneself by doing lots of continuous research.
K: What should be on one's checklist before venturing into commercial modeling?
N: Be open minded and have lots of confidence! You really have to be confident in who you are and your abilities! Secondly, invest in your modeling portfolio! Get professional photos done of good quality and ensure you appear interesting, approachable and happy - stay away from crazy hairstyles. Avoid too much jewellery (laughs) and make sure the photos truly represent you. The worst thing you'd want is showing up at a casting and the agents say, "hold up?!" Keep it simple, natural and vibrant.
As a commercial model, it's crucial that you work on your acting skills...practice makes perfect. Look at yourself in the mirror and rehearse. While auditioning for adverts you will be asked to act out a role and you’ll only have 2-3 minutes to do so! The key is to be versatile and marketable! Be coachable and open to instructions from those involved and also convey emotion. Don't beat yourself up if you don't get the job; just keep getting better and eventually you'll get a gig with your name on it.
You've got to identify someone in the industry who inspires you and pay attention to their character. The more you study your muse the more versatile you get. Be connected! Find an agency with amazing reviews! There's a lot of agencies in the Nairobi CBD that are only out to exploit with little to no compensation. Make sure the agency you’re getting signed with is legit by doing your research.
K: You have worked with Kung'ara Kenya on several promotional photo shoots. How was it? What was going through your mind throughout the sessions? What's your most memorable moment?
N: Oh my God working with Kung’ara is so much fun! I always enjoy it. The energy is always vibrant! Hahaha...I remember shooting with Tatiana Karanja for Kung'ara last year and there was a bicycle lying around. I unleashed the boy in me and hopped onto the bike and asked Tats to get as many shots as she could while I was cycling! That was so much fun! I love how we make the most of our time when we’re working together. The Kung’ara directors are chilled and easy going ladies! I always have a blast working with them. What was going through my mind... Does the picture look good? Is my pose okay?
K: As a fashionista, we're sure you browse and shop for key pieces online. Please share with us an indispensable online-shopping tip that we can give to our Kung'ara customers?
N: Ladies! Kung’ara really is THE major key! They've got everything! I remember walking into the store for fittings and having such a ball because everything looked so good! From their casual apparel to their gowns to their heels! Purses and accessories! Kung’ara really is the plug you guys!
K: When you go through the Kung'ara web store, what are some of the cool outfits that you would shop for your friend's birthday appearance?
N: So... I love looking classy and sexy when I'm dressing up. A knee-length bodycon dress would be my go-to outfit. It brings out my curves right and makes me feel confident. Or better yet a jumpsuit! I love, love, love jumpsuits! Anything that makes me feel classy and sexy works for me!
K: Do you have muses, mentors or supporters that you are either inspired by or model success from?
N: My biggest inspiration as a model would be my future self. That’s because I see the potential in me and work towards becoming her.
K: Living by the beach is such a cool thing! Where would you recommend Kung'ara readers to visit in your hometown if they were to go on a honeymoon?
N: I love being on the islands! The vibes, the breeze, the smell of the ocean all excite me! I was at La Marina the other day for the first time and I fell in love! Galu Beach Lantana is also beautiful! The ambience there is to die for! Perfect for a honeymoon getaway.
K: You recently launched your own sunglasses line. How has it been working on that project? Do you plan to fully venture into retail in future?
N: As you would know with business, sometimes you learn when you fail. There's a lot I didn't put into consideration when I founded my brand! I just thought to get the sunnies and sell them! Since getting into retail has always been a dream of mine, I decided to learn more about business, fashion and marketing. I do plan on venturing into retail, in fact really soon. I can't wait to share details with you all and Bomb Sunnies will definitely be part of it!
K: As an ethnically ambiguous model, what are some of the challenges that you've faced while looking for jobs?
N: Aargh, I can’t tell you how many frauds have come up to me offering "modeling jobs" only to realise they had other motives! That really is one of my frustrations!
K: Finally, give Kung'ara readers that one big reason why they should shop at the Kung'ara store!
N: Kung'ara has the latest trends and I love that they support local. The store caters to diverse tastes and preference and that's what I appreciate about them!