Oumou Kandé is a very smart 25-year-old woman with a background in catering who drastically changed her course of career by founding a modeling agency like no other. The freshly CEO from senegalese origin received us in the parisian fashion hot spot, Etienne Marcel.
Why such a brutal change?
Because of my slender physique, I have always been interested in the world of photography. I tried out as a model but nothing concrete came out of it, and I do not necessarily find myself photogenic but when I took a good look at castings’ ads, I realized that there is no calls for ebony models. After a market research, I spotted a big lack, so I started thinking of ways to set up an ethnic agency “Diao Model”. Eventually, I would like to represent all types of skin.
When was the agency created and what is the feedback?
We have been working on the project for a year now and the agency has been created 2 months ago with a staff of 4 people. The feedback is positive, we are doing a lot of editorial collaborations.
Collaborations are good but the goal is to make a living off of it, right?
Why is the industry so closed off to black models in France?
France is ready for us, it just needs to be shaken a little bit. The fashion world is closed off, but within a month we have accessed to press agencies and photographers. We are planning to open an office abroad. This is a business based on networking and relationships, the slot is very thin, one must have been introduced, respect the codes and be serious. We are not armed with a black power spirit. We must be patient, pro-active and bring about change.
Where can the change come from?
10 years ago, the agencies were reluctant to have more than two black models, the new industry is composed of young people from different backgrounds. France is ready, there is room!
What are the objectives?
We must build solid foundations in order to become the first agency of ebony models in France. It’s as simple as that.