The 19-year-old model was scouted at Howard University’s homecoming celebrations just this past fall. According to USA Today, she was attending Plymouth State University in New Hampshire when she was spotted at the event by photographer Steven Hall who took her photo and posted it on Instagram. The image quickly went viral, garnering almost 22,000 likes and the attention of modeling scouts. Just a few weeks later, Anok was signing with Next Models.
“It was an honor and I’m proud that I was the one chosen to open, but this is bigger than me,” she told Vogue. “Me opening for one of the top fashion houses is a statement to the world — especially for black women — that their beauty is something that deserves to be celebrated.”
Being a Prada exclusive is actually Yai’s first job in fashion.
“I only found out I was going to be opening about an hour before it started,” she said, “When I was backstage, I noticed that the production team was really going crazy about making sure my hair and make-up was done, but I didn’t really think anything of it. Before we all changed into our looks, the production team had me do a walk-through of the runway for a third time. I asked her why I was the only one doing it and that’s when I was told I was opening. I was pretty anxious before walking but the second I got on the catwalk all the nerves went away.”
She posted this photo of her walking on the runway few days ago
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PRADA WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE. This is something that I'd only dream of. Thank you Ms Prada, Olivier Rizzo @willyvanderperre @ashleybrokaw @kylehagler and the Next team for giving the little girl from Manch a chance. Can't believe I'm the first black woman to open for Prada since queen @iamnaomicampbell, forever grateful. And thank you to @patmcgrathreal @cheriejohnson56 and @guidopalau they made me look extra chic – PRADA CHIC 😂💋
Congratulations to her as she pursues her modeling career.