The Gambia might be a small nation on the surface of the earth, but this is one country that is fraught with huge talents that continue to shape its image both locally and internationally. With time, so much has been discovered about The Gambia – that it is not only a Smiling Nation and a choice for many European tourists, but one that has given so much of its talents to international organisations, platforms and fora around the globe.
Just earlier in August this year, one of its daughters, Regina Manneh (the focus of this article), mesmerised thousands of spectators at the 3rd edition of Africa Fashion Week London, which took place from the 1st to 3rd of the same month at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London. Model Manneh rocked the runways as the ‘2013 Face of the Africa Fashion Week London.” She won the title after a fierce competition on Facebook with Nasai Forna and Vanessa Simpson.
Raised in Denmark, Sweden, Ivory Coast and lived in Dubai, the UK-based 24-year-old model and Interior Design student speaks English, French, Danish, Swedish and Wolof. Modeling since 2009, Manneh had walked at Los Angeles Fashion Week and Dubai Fashion Week.
Weeks after the London showdown, I managed to get Regina again to share her experience with the wider readership of TheGambia.nu.
TG: Thanks Regina for the interview. Well you recently participated in the Africa Fashion Week London after being chosen as its Face for 2013 shows. What can you tell us about this experience?
Regina: I was very honoured to be the Face of Africa Fashion Week London 2013 as a Gambian and it was a great experience. I had the chance to meet new fashion designers to wear their fashion collections and met lovely models. I have never been the main model of a huge event before, so for me to be the Face of Africa Fashion Week 2013 was a new experience.
TG: To what extent has this contributed in re-shaping your career?
Regina: The Africa Fashion Week 2013 has contributed to re-shape by opening many doors in the fashion industry. Many people are starting to know me more, especially in my home country The Gambia by having amazing interviews from Africa Fashion Week London 2013. Due to this it has exposed me more, now many fashionistas and designers have contacted me to be part of their events for instance; I had a show in Turkey this month September.
TG: How important are platforms like the AFWL in the development of African talents and creations?
Regina: Africa had been excluded from the quality of world fashion business.
This is the beginning of a movement that will put Africa on top of the Fashion world because Africa has a lot to offer in the industry. There are many talented African designers and will be a follow for them to express their talent in the global market place.
TG: What next for you after the AFWL events?
Regina: I’m now in Dubai and I’ll be having few more shows. In October, I have a show in Switzerland and I might also be in Germany for the Africa Fashion Week.
Regina: Definitely, I would crown my participation in the AFWL shows successful.
And I thank my family, friends and fans for showing me love and for the support.
TG: What project are you currently working on and how important is it?
Regina: Actually, I am currently working on a surprise project for The Gambia in December Insha’Allah (laugh).
TG: How do you intend to use your influence to develop Gambian modeling industry?
Regina: By trying to work harder and it will help many models to follow my footsteps. The most important thing is to also focus in your education. Like for instance I’m a model, but also an Interior Design student.
TG: Any final words.
Regina: Thank you Hatab, it’s a pleasure to have another interview with you.
Photographer: MOSHOOD ADEKUNLE