A 19-year-old college student has a new modeling career after her photos at Howard University’s recent homecoming went viral.
Anok Yai is now signed to Next Models, she announced on Instagram Wednesday.
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Yai, who is a biochemistry major at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, fielded offers from nearly a dozen modeling agencies after photos of her from Howard’s celebration exploded on Instagram a week ago, The Washington Post reported.
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One agency offered to fly her to New York for an interview Tuesday, the report said.
The modeling dream hit close to home for the 19-year-old, who is of Sudanese heritage and was born in Egypt before moving the U.S. with her family at the age of 2. Yai and her sister envisioned themselves as contestants on “America’s Next Top Model” and runway models in earlier years, according to the Post.
But the whitewashing and colorism of the modeling industry, as well as its seemingly growing obsession with “exotic” looking models, didn’t go unnoticed by Yai.
“My fear was being able to stand out because there’s so many girls modeling,” she told the Post.
Yai’s photogenic beauty was captured by Steve Hall, a Howard graduate, who posted her photo on Instagram. It won more than 30,000 likes before modeling agencies came calling.
“They said they were interested in having me and they had me call them,” the model said, though she was nervous about it.
Yai’s mom wants her to finish school, but is willing to compromise on online classes, the Post reported.