Naro Lokuruka: Interview with Kenyan-Canada based Model

Bisious popularly known as Naro Lokuruka, is one of the most sweetest, profound and humble people I have ever interacted with. Born in Turkana in Kenya, the currently Toronto based fashion model was labeled as the to go to model when it comes to Editorials and campaigns last year.

Naro has featured on the editorials of Ellement and Elle South, ELLE Canada, Marie Claire South Africa, insider Magazine among others. During the Fashion Week at Toronto, Naro walked the runway for 12 different designers.

I had an interview with this beautiful, hardworking and successful model and I must admit, this is one of my best interviews yet. Don’t let her sweetness fool you, she can give fierce when need be.

Kenyan upcoming models, who would like to interact with Naro, stay updated because she will be here late this year.

 

First off tell us how you were “discovered” and how your modeling career all started?

My journey in the industry all started one summer some years ago when David Dixon, a dear friend and talented  Canadian designer stopped to give me his business card (which would lead me to open his fashion week show a few weeks after) as I was walking home from work one evening.

He says he just had to turn his van around and meet me in hopes of working together. I truly believe we were meant to meet and still fondly remember that day.

Was modelling something you always wanted to do?

Modeling was never really something I had considered seriously doing, no. I had been approached a few times before but I was still far too young and my parents didn’t think it a safe or secure route to go.

Naro Lokuruka

 

So, if you weren’t modeling what would you see yourself doing?

Real estate or floral work

Do you ever get shy in front of the camera?

Perhaps at the beginning I did but not anymore. It’s a familiar place to be now.

What has been your favorite shoot / campaign / work to date?

It would have to be during my trip to South Africa for some months last year. I spent a few days traveling all around Swaziland shooting a film on gender inequality with a Spanish team. It was a truly amazing experience. In so many ways, the country reminded me of my childhood in Kenya; both the people and the landscape.

When did you move to Canada?

A decade ago after completing high school

Naro Lokuruka

What’s the best and worst thing about being a model?

Traveling has to be the best thing for me I would say. It has allowed me to go to places I perhaps never would have been.

The worst mmm, I would have to say there is a fine line where one can feel somewhat like an object in the industry. Most especially so when the days are long and sometimes when the team gets sucked into the process. I have learned to voice my needs with time as needed. It’s important as its not as if they mean to forget breaks and such especially when the creative juices are flowing.

What is the Misconception about the modeling industry?

That it’s easy, glamorous and effortless. It’s a job at the end of the day and comes with its challenges along with its rewards.

Sometimes the modelling industry gets a bad rap what challenges have you faced and how did you toughen it out?

Measurements were one and still can be. I have learned to include my meal plans and excercise into my daily life; its part of my life now, and essential to my work. I found it hard when I was a little younger but it has become easier with time.. It’s hard to go through my days without a good session and proper nutrition I have found.

The work can also not be as consistent at points so its important to learn how to deal with it.This is why I have found it important to acquire agencies in a few in a few different cities.

As a black woman, you are beautiful “but” has been something I have had to deal with plenty of times while in search of agencies over the years but I have learned to not let that slow me down or discourage me. At the end of the day, there are plenty of creative people in the industry with a vision who can see past my skin color and see me as just ME first and foremost.

Naro Lokuruka

What are your goals as a model?

I am currently in the process of expanding my agencies to NY and Europe. I am  in Paris at the moment.  I will be meeting agencies in a few days while here to hopefully sign and work here soon.

My main goal is to hopefully help my people so really it is to work as much as I can to possibly make a foundation for my tribe, the Turkana, someday in the future. Famine is a huge problem at home unfortunately and nothing would make me happier than easing that burden even just a little.

What is the one thing you think you are doing right that other models can emulate from you?

Persistence is key I believe. It’s important not to let “NO’S derail you on your journey. The next door you knock on may be a “YES”. Also finding those whom you trust and who believe in your vision is key; finding your “tribe” in a way.

Naro LokurukaTell us about your most difficult pose

Jumping perhaps,. Not so easy to keep a straight face while doing it.

Do you have any limitations?

None that I have found. We as humans I believe create our own limitations.  No one else.

Do you plan on maybe mentoring upcoming models in the coming years?

Absolutely.  I always have in a way and who is to say I might not open one of my own agencies in some years. Perhaps back in Kenya.

Which African models do you believe are influential?

Alek wek has always been someone I have looked up to for her modeling, humanitarian and business choices. Iman is another as is Herieth Paul, a dear friend of mine.

Naro LokurukaFrom the cities you have visited, which is your favorite one?

Paris. There is something about the city that I just love so much

Give us 5 facts about you that people may not know

My hair has been this short since I was a child. I didn’t cut it for modeling.

I always dreamed of being a librarian as a child

I was born in Lodwar, Turkana. A small desert town by the border of Sudan and Kenya. Most people think I am Sudanese.

My skin undertone is orange (make up artist speak). The girls from Sudan have an almost blue undertone.

I went to high school in upstate New York.

Naro LokurukaHow would you describe your personal style?

I tend to not really care about trends and such. I usually wear whatever makes me feel good. I am loving anything ripped, flowing and colorful at the moment.

When was the last time you were in Kenya?

Its been a while unfortunately.  I will be returning at the end of the year in time to see my youngest sister become a pharmacist. I am so proud of her

On what do you spend the most?

Food I would say. I enjoy cooking, hosting dinners and playing around with recipes.

What is your most recent purchase?

A green vintage scarf from a small vintage store in Granville Normandy, where I just spent the weekend

Naro LokurukaBeauty must haves… 

There are no specific brands I use daily. A good non oily face cleanser & cream, lip balm, body and hand lotion are usually all I need.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Soup!. There are so many variations one can playwith.

Five things you can’t live without?

  • Music
  • Lotion
  • Food
  • The Net
  • Friends & Family

Finally tell us your hidden talents, if you have any

  • I am a good cook & host.
  • I can find my way around new surroundings quite easily and have a great memory in remembering past routes etc
  • I can whistle quite loudly.

Naro Lokuruka

Follow Naro on Instagram

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Eleksie

My name is Queen. Procurement & Logistics officer, aspiring men's stylist, Blogger, writer, Assistant editor and fashion enthusiast and this is my blog.This blog is just my way of showing my love for Africa through showcasing the amazing work being done by African fashionistas from designers, models, to photographers, as well as style guide for men.What does procurement and fashion have in common? me! I love fashion, I love Africa, this blog is just my way of putting African fashion on the spotlight. I like to call it African fashion through my eyes.Thank you for being part of this.

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