Celai West is the name ringing all over Los Angeles and New York! Recently featured on Vogue Italia and Good Morning America, this 11-year-old is surely kicking up dust. Boasting nearly 200k followers throughout social media, Celai is taking center stage with her electrifying energy, individual style, and undeniable beauty.
Jimmy Star caught up with Celai West to learn more about how she emerged in the industry at three years old when she was first discovered, to her journey as a model/actress and entrepreneur, and where she’s headed. Take a closer look at his candid Q&A below.
Jimmy Star: How did you get started in the industry?
Celai West: Well, when I was three years old, I was in a skating rink and some guy came up to us and said, "I want to shoot her!”. We were like, "WHAT?!" and then he said, "Oh I'm sorry! I'm a photographer!". After I did the shoot, I fell in love with modeling. A few months later, when I turned four, I got my first modeling contract, but mom wasn't really sure if that was really what I wanted to do, so she didn't sign it. A year later, when I was five, I got another modeling contract, and mom signed it! When print modeling slowed down a bit, I tried runway for the first time. I was seven.
Jimmy Star: Did you know you had what it took to make it as a model?
Celai West: I didn't really think I had what it took to be a model. I mean, I knew that I loved it, and the photographer kept saying I was a natural, but I had no idea because I had never really done it before. As far as runway, I really had no clue. I just got on the runway (at Madison Square Garden during NYFW) and the crowd went crazy. Mom was kind of confused though because no one had taught me how to walk.
Jimmy Star: Does success feel how you thought it would feel?
Celai West: I'm not really sure what success feels like. I know I have goals, and I know I have accomplished a lot of my goals, but I also think I have so many more goals to do…so I'm not really there yet.
Jimmy Star: Do you think models can come in all shapes and sizes?
Celai: I definitely think models can come in all shapes and sizes. My "model mother,” Liris Crosse from Project Runway 16 is a plus-sized model, and she's proving that plus-sized models are good too. And then there is me, I'm short for a professional runway model, but I still walking with the adults. It think it's good that people can change the standards.
Jimmy Star: What do you wish you knew then that you know now?
Celai: Something I know now that I wish I knew then is...that it is really hard for Black girls to get into kids runway. Most of the times I walked, I was the only Black girl in the lineup, especially in NYFW.
Jimmy Star: If you can sit down with any model or celebrity in the industry, who would it be and why?
Celai West: If I could sit down with any person, it would have to be Michelle Obama because sometimes we get lots of mean comments, and I just would like to ask her how she dealt with all the mean comments people made about her.
Jimmy Star: You're an entrepreneur and still only 11 years old. What does a day in your life look like?
Celai West: Being an entrepreneur at eleven years old, my average day looks a lot like other eleven year olds' days. I go to school full time, have homework, chores, and then every so often, I have a talk with my mom and dad, like a meeting, and we figure out what we will be working on. We are really good at only working on one thing at a time so I don't get stressed out or work too hard.
Jimmy Star: Are you hard on yourself in regards to what you eat or portion control?
Celai West: I never worry about what I eat or controlling my portions. Mom always says I eat like a billy goat *giggle*. I love salads, fruits & veggies, and I really like meat, but mom doesn't buy any sodas, junk foods or stuff like that because she wants us to be healthy. My dad is a vegan now, so I try some of his food too.
Jimmy Star: Do you like candy, if so, what's your favorite kind?
Celai: I LOVE CANDY! Mom doesn't usually buy it, but sometimes I use my own money when we go to the store or movies, and I buy Watermelon Sour Patch Kids or Swedish Fish.
Jimmy Star: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Celai West: In five years, I will be sixteen, and I definitely see myself walking for some cool designers internationally and starting to really learn how to design.
Jimmy Star: Do you have a brand you would love to be the face for? If so, what brand and why?
Celai West: I think it would be really cool to be the face of a major hair company because my hair is a really big part of who I am, but I would also like to be the face of a major beauty brand like Fenty or Cover girl or something big like that. I just think it would be cool to walk into my local Walmart or Target and see myself on a big poster. I mean, I would be too embarrassed to actually go and see it, but it would be cool.
Jimmy Star: What are some up and coming things you have scheduled?
Celai West: I have a few things coming up but the one I'm most excited about is that I'm producing a show in NYFW this September. I will be working with The Industry Fashion Show as their Runway Coordinator and I'm really excited about it. I think I have OCD because I'm really particular about how the runway looks and how the chairs are lined up so they put me in charge of designing that.
Jimmy Star: How can we be a part of your journey?
Celai West: You can be a part of my journey by following me on social media. My handle is @celaiwest on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr and LinkedIn. And it's @celaiwest1 on Twitter. You can also subscribe to my blog posts and be the first to know about all my stuff at www.CelaiWest.com.
Top image via Facebook