Aija and her desire to make a career in fashion

Aija’s story

Aija is from Milwaukee, two hours from Chicago, in the state of Wisconsin. She studied fashion design in a private school but had to stop her studies for financial reasons. It’s his first time in Europe. She was a little apprehensive and at the same time looking forward to this new experience. She arrived in Berlin last January because she wanted to get out of her comfort zone. She is currently freelancing as a photo model.

Ajjia's portrait

Living in a city where every community lives in its neighborhood

Milwaukee is known in the United States as one of the most segregated cities. Each community has its own neighborhood. Blacks live in the north of the city, Latinos in the south, whites rather in the south-central and on the coasts and Asians in the center. Little is being done to change the situation. Aija grew up in a white neighborhood with her Scottish, Mexican mother. She also African-American and French backgrounds from her father. She always felt like she never belonged because she was black for white children and white for black children. This is the problem faced by mixed-race children, who often feel rejected by both sides.

Mixed race above all

In the United States, one is either black or white although it is more complex. Whatever the color, Americans have diverse origins, as is the case of Ajjia. Her mother offered her a DNA test for Christmas. And she discovered that she had Nigerian, British, Swedish, Jewish origins. To be black or white is a binary and simplistic vision of things. Choosing one side over the other is not an option for her although she is more familiar with Latin culture. She grew up with her Mexican maternal family. But that does not mean that this culture takes precedence over the others.

Her passion for fashion

What Aija oves above all is model design, she would like to be a fashion designer for men’s fashion. The fashion industry is often reputed to be a ruthless world if you want to make a career there. Even more, if you’re a person of color. Few people of color work in the fashion industry when it is not a question of modeling. Often when she wants to work in a company, they do not want to pay her. Besides these difficulties, many people have prejudices about the fashion industry. People often reduce it to those who predict fashion trends, something superficial, which is not so difficult to do. She is often not taken seriously by these clichés. Anyway, it’s far from discouraging her.

Being a model

From a very young age, she started modeling. Her relatives are in the world of fashion, design. Her mother is passionate about photography, her friends were studying in the field of fashion. It has also served as a model for various projects, such as the launch of a clothing line. Having the standard measurements of a model made things easier for her. Now that she’s working with people she doesn’t know, she feels compelled to know more about her hair, makeup, what suits her and what doesn’t. She also has this impression that she has many demands because she has fair skin and hair appreciated by many people. It embodies the difference while corresponding to the beauty criteria imposed.

Her expectations?

First of all, people of color should be taken more seriously.  Aija finds it more difficult to gain respect when you are a person of colour, especially when you are a woman. Then more diversity in different sectors. Often we find a lot of black American actors and actresses, musicians. In the fashion industry, however, very few people of colour are present.  But not that. People of colour are as capable as others. Hopefully, we can change that

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