I first noticed Celai West because she follows our daughter Ayah on Instagram. I looked at her profile and saw this little girl with big natural hair and proceeded to scroll down. I thought “This young lady is doing amazing things!” What inspiration she brings to many kids her age, even someone for my one year old to look up to. I can tell that she has parents guiding her in the right direction. I then contacted her mom to ask for an interview. The most interesting thing is Celai, is pronounced “slay”. She definitely does slay during her runway shows, commercial and print ads! She has worked with Target and so many children fashion lines, music videos and movies. Celai even has her own t-shirt line (The Chatty Chick). I had a chance to speak with her and here is our conversation:
At what age did you know you wanted to model? The first day I modeled on a real set, I was like “Omg! I really like this!”
What is your favorite type of modeling? Print or runway and why? I can’t choose because I love them both. I love print because I can be silly and wear nice clothes. I love runway because I can wear really nice clothes and I get to show my personality.
Do you work with an agent or manager? Yes. I have lots of agents.
I noticed you ripped the runway at this years New York Fashion Week. What was the absolute best moment you’ll never forget about the show? That when I first walked up, the show was on a huge ship! It was like “Whoa! I get to walk on water!”
I love your big natural hair! Our hair is the black womans crown and I can see that your mom teaches you that. Solange made a song about our natural hair titled “Don’t Touch My Hair”. Do you get many request to touch your hair? How does that make you feel? YES! It makes me feel happy. They usually just want to touch it because they really like it. Mom doesn’t like it but I don’t really mind. Sometimes they are just curious.
What advice would you give someone who may feel compelled to relax their hair or change it for the industry? I would tell them they should keep it the way it is because it is beautiful and they should love how God made them. We aren’t all supposed to look the same, that’s why God made us differently.’
I heard you have a fashion line. Yes, I do.
Tell me more about it! What inspired you? I started www.TheChattyChick.com so that little brown girls are inspired to love their big, curly hair. We have natural hair t-shirts as well as trendy tees for kids and adults.
What is some advice you have for aspiring models? I would just say to do your very best and don’t let people crush your dreams.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you want to share? Well, I shot 3 films recently (and 1 earlier this year) so I’m looking forward to those premieres. I’m just not sure when yet, but hopefully soon.
At only nine years old, this young entrepreneur has a lot to offer!