*Four years ago, Cameroonian model Shamim Saidou moved to Los Angeles to be with her mother and to continue her modeling career.
Armed with a 6 feet tall frame, modeling also in Senegal and Nigeria, and fluency in English and French, while Shamim has faced a few bumps along the way with greedy agencies, she still keeps hope alive of being a top model in America.
Read the rest of her story below and check out her beautiful pictures. If you are a legit modeling manager, agency, or someone else who can advise Shamim, email her at [email protected].
EUR: How long were you a model in Cameroon?
Shamim: I started modeling (a little over) 10 years ago. Modeled since I was 15-years-old.
EUR: What types of modeling did you do?
Shamim: I mostly did runways and photoshoots for magazines.
EUR: What types of modeling have you done in Los Angeles?
Shamim: I participated in some runways like the RAW event in Downtown LA, a couple of little runways in restaurants, Metropolitan Fashion Week, and some photoshoots.
EUR: What types of modeling do you want to do and/or continue to do?
Shamim: I definitely wish and want to continue runway and photoshoots or model beauty products.
EUR: Have you reached out to modeling agencies or managers?
Shamim: I tried to go to (one agency) and it didn’t work out because they asked me to pay a huge sum of money ($8,000) for teaching me how to walk. But, I already know how to walk the catwalk. I kept going to other agencies that asked me to pay first, to teach me how to walk, and to be myself. I just think that I shouldn’t pay for the talent I have. I want people to see my talent and judge me for me and not by paying money and not getting what I want in the end.
EUR: Why should a potential designer choose you? What do you have that somebody else doesn’t?
Shamim: I always talk about Africa because of the way they make us grow up; they put it in our mind that we always have to work hard before being compensated. To any designer that will read my message, I love to do what I do because of the love I have for modeling. When I’m on stage, in photoshoots or whatever, everyone tells me that I’m different and no longer myself. I have faith in my talent that God has blessed me with.
EUR: Who’s your inspiration for being a model?
Shamim: At 15, my aunt from Nairobi, Flaridah, came to Cameroon and brought me a beautiful necklace and told me when I grow up that she wants me to be a model. Then she did the catwalk in front of me and I cried and asked her why was she showing me the catwalk and she said because, ‘I see a model in you. I see that you’re going to be a very beautiful girl and I want you to model.’ Ever since that night, she started teaching me how to walk. Now she tells me to keep modeling and God will see me through.