When she started modeling, some people within the industry thought that she looked ‘weird’ and ‘too Khoi-San’. Little did they know that this Khoisan girl from Kraaifontein would someday become an international sensation.
This month, the 26 year old Carmen Solomons became one of the faces for Fenty’s new line of cosmetics. The Fenty brand is owned by singer, Rihanna, who shared a picture of Carmen on her Instagram account. One of the models being featured alongside Carmen is none other than Rihanna herself. However, this gig did not just land on her lap.
Carmen has worked hard to make sure that she reaches all of her goals, and one of those goals was to be part of the Fenty campaign. She says that she received the message (about getting the Fenty gig) while she was boarding a plane and literally burst into tears with excitement. She says that she is a huge Rihanna fan and feels like it’s a dream come true to work with the singer.
Carmen describes herself as bit of a shy and awkward nerd who likes to read whenever she gets the chance. On school she was always teased for her unconventional features and this did not make her feel confident about the way she looked. Even when she was being approached by agents, she never really took them seriously, but it was her mother who told her to rather just go for it and see how it is.
Carmen got her first modeling job at the age of 16 and by the time she was 17, she had already started modeling on the international stage. Given the criticisms about her look, she was at first not very confident about walking on the runway. She is not very tall and she describes the other models to be as tall as buildings. However, after taking the stage and seeing the reaction from the crowd, she slowly began to grow the confidence needed to become an international success. However, she still did not think that this would become a career, and for a time, she worked as personal assistant for a doctor.
Carmen continued to take part-time modeling jobs and it was only when she was 23, that opportunities started flooding in. Currently living Los Angeles, Carmen has appeared in Usher’s 2014 ‘Good Kisser’ music video, Drake’s ‘One Dance’ music video, was featured in Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s 2016 holiday clothing campaign, and modelled for Kanye West’s clothing line.
Carmen says that she is grateful for the support from South African’s and she will continue to fly the South African flag high wherever she goes. On her Instagram account, she credited her unique Khoisan heritage and features for her success in the modeling world.
Carmen says that because she looks ‘different’ to other models, some people will love her and others will hate her. She does not however believe that any negative comments should stop her from achieving her dreams. Says Carmen, “It’s nice being different, but what’s normal to me may not be normal to someone else. You won’t always fit in.” She believes that you do not need to change who you are to satisfy others. Just take the criticisms with a pinch of salt and continue striving for your dreams.