Naj Jamai

From Barking to Burberry: 8 things you didn't know about British model, Malaika Firth

1. She's 24 and already more successful than most of us *sigh*.

12 Mar 2019

She's been modelling for over seven years, but Malaika Firth is still considered a relatively fresh face on the fashion circuit - and not just because of her incredible complexion.

Somehow balancing both her experience and relevance, she's a force to be reckoned with within the industry.

Time to wise-up on one of the hottest names in British fashion...

Naj Jamai

1.She was born in Mombasa, Kenya, but moved to Barking when she was seven

She was brought up in the East London suburb, while her father, Eric, of British, Seychellois and Ugandan descent, worked as a French polisher at the Four Seasons hotel.

2. Starring in the Prada AW13 campaign saw her become the first black model in 19 years to score a Prada campaign

Speaking to the about representation within the industry, she said: "People are allowed to talk about my race. I like it. After that Prada campaign when I was being compared to Naomi Campbell I was so happy. She’s a legend. And if things aren’t changing in fashion, they need to."

3. SS14 was her breakthrough season, where she walked over 40 shows

Some of the biggest names included Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier, Bottega Veneta, Kenzo and Marc Jacobs.

4. She's relatively short in 'model' terms

Five foot eight and a half... to be precise.

5. She narrowly missed out on'Model of the Year' at the British Fashion Awards

In 2015, she was up against Georgia May Jagger and Jourdan Dunn for the coveted gong, the latter of whom won.

6. She's a strong advocate for banning models under the age of seventeen

According to , she believes their emotional health suffers in an industry that can be incredibly tough - especially on young models.

7. She once walked the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

In 2013 she made her first appearance on the Victoria's Secret catwalk in New York.

Naj Jamai

8. She used to share a bedroom with her sister and aunt

"I don’t come from a posh or high-class background," she told The Guardian. "We lived in flats in the ghetto. We weren’t poor, but there wasn’t a lot of money. I shared a room with my sister and my auntie. I appreciate everything that has happened. For me to have this career is life-changing for my family."