NEW ERA with : CAREN JEPKEMEI
Makeup directed by Christabel Draffin and applied by Caren Jepkemei.
2020 will be a year that marks the history books for many reasons. We are experiencing a pandemic of historic standards whilst simultaneously writing new history books for the future, welcoming diversity and equality for all. For the majority of us work has been a write off this year but nevertheless our minds have still been challenged and expanded. Covid-19 has demanded we pause to think on what really matters and the Black Lives Matter movement has forced us to question and examine how we live our lives, paving a way for a new and improved future.
You’ve been modelling for 8 months now. What has been a career highlight?
Being able to work with top designers like Olivier Rousteing, Christopher Kane, and many more. Also working with top brands and magazines like Vogue, L’Officiel, Numéro, and many more.
What do you enjoy about modelling the most?
Gracing the runway, that’s what I love most since it makes me feel like I’ve achieved what I have always dreamt for since I was a young child, because I grew up watching models make their debuts for shows and always wanted to be like them and prayed that one day I get to walk these shows.
Travel comes hand in hand with working in fashion. Where has been your favourite place to travel to? What would you recommend our readers do/see/eat there?
So far I’ve fallen in love with England/London because of it’s diverse culture, the hospitality, the good markets that I can get every kind of African food that I miss as an African. Also bowling, since that’s what I love doing during my free time.
If you weren’t modelling what would you be doing?
I would definitely be in school making sure I finish my degree.
Where and you have you been quarantining with?
I was quarantined with one of my model friends Precious Kevin and miss Yvonne who has been our parent and a great inspiration to both of us.
If you could choose one famous person to quarantine with, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Lupita Nyong’o. Through her I’ve learnt the virtue of self confidence and self acceptance. Growing up as a kid was quite difficult since I felt I was different because I was this tallest and skinny girl in my class and having all the negative comments from my peers. But by watching her and reading her books she made me realize the importance of self acceptance and I’m always looking up to her as my mentor.
It’s very easy to get bogged down with the negatives of Covid-19, but what positives have you taken from this period?
It has made me realize the importance of having some time alone and learning to enjoy the solitude. It gave me some time to focus on myself without any disturbance or distraction from the outside world.
Lockdown has afforded us the time to pause and reflect. What have you learnt about yourself over the past few months?
This period has been really great since I’ve been focusing about my life, be it my past or present, and trying to see my mistakes and how I can correct them and make myself great again. In my attempt to become great again I tried turning my lazy self into somebody productive and in the process I noticed I can really be good cook and a great poet.
What are you most looking forward to post lockdown?
Going back to work again and visiting my family back in Kenya.
Only 9% of people would like to return to their former lives pre lockdown pre lockdown. What changes would you like to put in place in your life post lockdown?
No changes yet, I just to keep focusing on my career as a model.
On the topic of change, the Black Lives Matter movement is rightly changing the world one march and petition at a time. It’s been couple of weeks with a lot to process. How does this make you feel?
It made me feel really bad seeing and hearing about people being treated differently because of their skin colour. I think we have all been holding back our tears because honestly its hurts to a very big extent. It’s sad that it had to take so many years for the Black Lives Matter movement to be taken seriously. But then now seeing people from all races in the world coming together to protest for change brings some relief that at least there will be change and the world will become a better place for everyone.
The fashion industry may be celebrating diversity but its still has along way to go. From your own experience and knowledge, where would you like the industry to improve and change for the better?
The industry is slowly diversifying, however, there are issues that still need to be addressed like tokenism and colourism. Also the industry should have more knowledge on black skin tones.
Whilst the BAME models are gracing covers and campaigns worldwide, behind the camera this isn’t necessarily the case. Are there any BAME creatives you would to shout out and share with us?
George Alagiah who is a newscaster on BBC because he lives on the street where I am staying. When we were clapping for carers on a Thursday night he came up to me and started talking and made me feel very welcomed.
Often the best way to implement change is through educating ourselves and inspiring others. Do you have any stories or people you would like to share with our readers?
I want to be an inspiration to young girls since I come from this community where everyone looks down upon them and so many of them end up getting married and having children at a very young age. When I am at home I spend time with them talking about things I have done and seen and hope to inspire them. When I started my career as a model most of the people felt I was doing something bad but with my parent’s and siblings support and inspiration they made me realize that everything is possible when you go for it and that’s the kind of energy I would like all the young girls around me to have as they grow up.
Caren appears courtesy of Titanium Management.