It takes a lot for a model to break through into the industry; looking to become the next big thing. Only a handful have that special ‘wow’ factor – and this time – it’s a 16-year-old girl from Cardiff.
Laiqah Omar is one of those people who has just got ‘it’: a certain star quality and a look so striking that fashion giants such as Prada, Tommy Hilfiger and Chloe snapped her up for their runway shows in September.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Laiqah, on a gloomy Thursday morning; along with her managers Clair Rawlings and Duncan Ord, partners at FUTURE MGMT, the agency who represent her.
Clair has been modelling since she was 15, and has 25 years of experience. She now works as a model agent and is one of the top model scouts in the industry. Duncan, a world-renowned model agent, is a former director of major model agency IMG. He is responsible for booking huge campaigns such as Calvin Klein, as well as 33 British Vogue covers between 1999 and 2006.
Duncan also worked at Women in New York, managing supermodels like Gisele Bündchen, Heidi Klum and Jourdan Dunn. So, between them, they certainly have the repertoire to launch real superstar models from Wales.
Clair and Duncan have pioneered the untapped territory of FUTURE MGMT in Wales, which they feel is budding with potential talent.
Wearing a red puffer jacket, jeans and trainers, and without a lick of makeup, Laiqah looked effortlessly stylish as she sat down to answer our questions…
Firstly, what was it like walking for iconic fashion houses like Tommy Hilfiger and Prada?
“Well, obviously I loved it. It was unbelievable, I haven’t got my head around it, but yes I really enjoyed it; I’m really happy.”
Have you met any big models in the industry, like Gigi Hadid or Jourdan Dunn?
“I saw Gigi, but didn’t get to speak to her. Duncan introduced me to Jourdan, she’s amazing. It was really cool, and that was backstage at the Tommy show. I also saw Hailey Baldwin and Georgia May Jagger, which was really good. I met Kaia Gerber, she was really nice, just really normal, and she’s 16 like me – there weren’t many other 16 year olds at the shows.”
How do you juggle your school studies and modelling?
“At first it was difficult after I’d been at Paris Fashion Week, but I get all the work emailed to me and my college are really supportive, so it’s fine now!”
How would you describe your personal style? Do you have a style icon?
“No, not really. I wear completely different stuff every day. I like bright stuff. I like big clothes as well.”
Do you have any favourite designers?
“My favourite designers are Prada, Louis Vuitton and Chloe.”
Do you have a set beauty regime? If so, what is it?
“Not really, I make sure I wash my face. I don’t spend too much time on it, but I do take care of my skin and take all my makeup off before I go to bed. I don’t really wear much makeup anyway, unless I’m going out. I’ve just discovered Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, it’s amazing!”
It must take a while to develop your ‘walk’, is it hard learning to walk in big heels?
“Well, learning to walk in heels is important. Especially since most of the shoes at fashion shows are brand new and haven’t been worn in. At the Chloe show I had to wear size 8 shoes and I’m a size 6!”
If you could go anywhere in the world to model, where would it be?
“Right now, I’m just loving America. I love New York, I think it looks really cool.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
“I don’t really know. Obviously, I’d like to be a model, but I’m just taking it as it goes. I’d like to model regularly for big brands, like Prada and Louis Vuitton. I’d love a Vogue cover!”
As well as having already been interviewed on Vogue’s website as per the request of recently appointed/inducted editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, and organised by Duncan, Laiqah was also featured on their official Snapchat account, which she was immensely delighted about, since Snapchat is so popular among people her age. We can’t wait to see what Laiqah will go on to achieve, and look forward to seeing her soar.