Fatima Genise Altieri Durand is a 22-year-old model born, raised and residing in Port-au-Prince Haiti. Here she is discussing what it’s like to be a fashion model in Haiti.
Photo Credit: Fotokazyon
Kreyolicious: How did you get interested in modeling?
Five years ago, I met Steve Azor. He did the first Runway Haiti [a fashion event]. When he saw me, he told that I [should] be in it. I wasn’t a model at the time. Then I said, “Okay”. So after that experience, I told myself maybe I can be good at this. I learned how to walk, pose, and all the stuff that we models do. [Laughter] The results five years later, I was the best senior model of the World Championship for the Performing Arts for Haiti and for my own satisfaction also! I guess I’m still interested in modeling. [Laughter]
Kreyolicious: In most countries, as in out here in the USA, models face lots of pressure to be a certain size…thin, of course. What’s it like in Haiti?
[In] Haiti, it’s almost the same thing. Now, you gotta be six feet to do runway, or you will just pose, or do commercials. But, we also have plus-size models—like every country.
Kreyolicious: And while we are on this subject, are models in Haiti made to feel they have a certain skin shade, or to have a certain hair texture.
I like that question. As a natural hair girl, I found this [to be a] little problem…because sometimes the client needs you with straight hair. But, we don’t have to be a certain skin shade. [From] what I’ve seen so far, skin shade is not a problem. As a matter of fact, we adore our black [dark-skinned] models as we adore The light skin ones. But, the natural hair is kind of a problem for some clients and designers.
Kreyolicious: Can a model make a decent living in Haiti?
If the model is only about her–or his modeling career—No. As models, we work and we do modeling. Here in Haiti, modeling can’t [earn] a [model] a decent [living].
Kreyolicious: Is there a place to get training? Or do you just learn as you go along?
We have some places to get training…agencies like Hibiscus International ran by Nadege Telfort, Zoule Talent Agency, ran by Matti Domingue. So yeah we do have places to get training.
Kreyolicious: Do you thing that it’s easier to manage fame on a small island like Haiti…as opposed to other places?
Fame…I don’t think fame here can really compare to fame in other countries. But it’s not that easy, ’cause people don’t really support…I don’t wanna sound negative, but really they don’t really support. So what’s fame without supporters?
Kreyolicious: Do you think that young women in Haiti struggle with self-esteem and self-image?
Not only in Haiti…It’s everywhere. But especially here in Haiti, we young women have a lot of struggles about self esteem and self-image. It’s way more difficult for a woman to make it in every way. I just think that young women—like Viola Davis would say—we need more opportunity and more support from the society…And acceptance.
Photo Credit: Louis Albert
Kreyolicious: When do you feel the most beautiful?
I feel the most beautiful when I’m happy. To me, beautiful is fifty-percent a state of mind.
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