Afiya Bennett doesn’t just model. She designs now, too.
Model Afiya Bennett is a woman of many trades.
You’ve likely seen Afiya’s face before: she’s blessed spreads in L’OFFICIEL and Glamour, just to name a few things (nbd).
Though Afiya is clearly a natural, her road to becoming the successful model she is today has been somewhat unconventional. She began her career trajectory wanting to be a veterinarian, and now designs clothing for strong, fearless young girls much like herself.
Afiya’s life may consist of fun events, exciting travels, and luxurious clothing, but Bennett has worked extremely hard to arrive at the point she’s at today. We asked her about her journey and what she’s learned along the way, and of course, learned all about her new hat line.
Check out the interview and photos below for more!
Has modeling always been what you’ve wanted to do? What’s your trajectory been like, and how did you arrive at where you are today?
Believe it or not, modeling wasn’t always my ‘dream’ job, becoming a veterinarian was. Animals have always been my first love and what better way to help them than becoming a veterinarian?
The idea of becoming a model came into my life around the age of 14. Friends, family members, and even neighbors started saying to me, “You should be a model.” What started as a mere suggestion transitioned into dream and an unwavering desire to be ‘great.’
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My journey has certainly had its ups and downs but progress is an uphill battle and nothing worth having isn’t worth fighting for. It’s so important for you to believe in yourself and the vision you have for your career more than anyone. The clearer you are, the easier the direction it takes to get there becomes.
Two of the most exciting modeling projects that I’ve worked on this year are the New Look Holiday Campaign and the Nine West Holiday Campaign. The New Look Holiday Campaign is plastered all over London, in store, outside, on billboards, and even on bus stops.
This project was exciting for me because as a child I would take the bus to school, so to go from taking the bus to school to being posted on every other bus stop in another country is pretty amazing and very humbling.
Nine West on the other hand is my mom’s favorite shoe store and no matter how old I get there is always that little girl that just wants to make her mom proud.
I wouldn’t say that I am transitioning from a model to designer, more so adding designer to my resume. I’m not looking to retire from modeling anytime soon. Nonetheless, starting my own company has been one of the greatest decisions I could have ever made. The Afiya Collection has so much room to grow and expand and I am beyond excited to where we go from here.
The inspiration behind The Afiya Collection comes from my previous business trip to London where I fell in love with the structure and street style fashion of the caps, something that I will never forget.
These military styled caps not only represent fashion and style but also remind women that they are strong, powerful, and virtuous. This brand embodies women empowerment, standing together in solidarity and for those ladies who do not take NO, for an answer.
The Afiya Collection is here to inspire young girls to keep their heads up by following their dreams and not backing down. This collection is for women around the world to be reminded that strength is always in numbers, and it is time to make those numbers count.
Each chapter of my life and of my career has presented new challenges and struggles. It’s ironic how as you’re progressing you don’t even realize that you are walking through doors that you once prayed God would open.
My challenges have shifted over the years from trying to get signed to a top ten modeling agency, to never feeling thin enough and battling with broad shoulders and hip measurements, to not looking ‘different’ enough and now fighting for that one spot for a model of color on set.
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Models of color have to work twice as hard as our counter part, but for me, every ounce of success becomes a mountain of inspiration for girls following in my footsteps and that makes it all worth it.
I measure my success by my accomplishments within my industry including campaigns, magazines, runway shows, being a spokesperson and by being an example for others. I also measure my success by my eduction, my happiness, my financial growth, my ability to give back, to empower, and to uplift the next generation of girls with a dream.
My experience as a global brand ambassador for Fiji Water has been nothing less than fulfilling. Being apart of this brand has opened so many doors for me and has introduced me to so many amazing people.
I have taken Fiji Water all over the world and been able to promote the brands values as well as incorporate them into my every day lifestyle. Whether it be during the hustle and bustle of fashion week or even helping me achieve my fitness goals Fiji water is always their hydrating me along the way.
What isn’t next in store for me? Building and maintaining my brand will always come with new challenges and success. I will always continue to be a mentor for young women by breaking barriers for those who look like me. My brand represents not only me but every woman in the world who may think she isn’t enough.
The Afiya Collection lives by the quote, “Where purpose meets luxury.” This brand will not end with just hats, we are working on new pieces as we speak so stay tuned or feel free to subscribe to TheAfiyaCollection.com newsletter for all of the newest products and updates for each season.
CLICK HERE TO SHOP THE AFIYA COLLECTION.