Ciru Maina does it all, modelling, acting and charity work.
At an imposing 5’10’, she is set to become the new supermodel of this generation. Ciru is different in that she uses her visibility with activism to raise funds and bring attention to worldwide charities and causes.
Ciru, aged 23 was born and raised in Nairobi. Her primary education began at a boarding school called Pleasant View Academy and she then went on to The Kenya High School for her secondary education.
Her modelling career started after high school when she was 19. ‘I was asked to do some local fashion shows and it all developed from there.’
She got her break after being chosen by a Sudanese designer to be in South Sudans first major fashion show in Juba. ‘I was spotted there by Greyology Inc who have worked with big stars like Usher, Leona Lewis and Lady GaGa,’ she says. ‘Greyology saw my potential to work in both the Western and African markets and took me on.’
The London and Atlanta based Greyology Inc. is responsible for the development and creative direction of international ventures and its work covers fashion, film and music production. It is associated with major international projects such as double Oscar and double Grammy Award winner A.R. Rahman as well as the hugely popular Oscar Award winning film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
Ciru has always had a passion for fashion but never thought she would be strutting down a runway. ‘I have always been generally quite a shy person but looking back I don’t think another career would have suited me,’ she says.
‘I love it all, I love the runway, meeting new people from different cultures and of course I enjoy the travelling that comes with it.’ This year alone she will be working in India, America, Jamaica and South Africa.
As well as her busy modelling schedule Ciru finds the time to help and support a number of charities. ‘I try to use my work in fashion to raise awareness for good causes,’ she says.
She has been working with an organisation called CAPTAS which is based in the UK and Nairobi and provides medical programmes and education to disadvantaged and underprivileged children.
‘I have been working with CAPTAS to give scholarships to under privileged high school and university students in Kenya who are unable to finish their education,’ she says. ‘We are also trying to build multi-purpose sports courts in deprived areas of Kenya and the first one will be built in Mobassa this year.’
Ciru is also proud Global Ambassador to The Heart 2 Heart Foundation who work to control, prevent and treat heart diseases in children. ‘My desire is to help disadvantaged children,’ she says. Attending various events and functions on their behalf, Ciru does her best to use the press she gets as a model and humanitarian to raise awareness of their agendas and activities throughout the year.
As well as this she is the newly appointed Ambassador to Beauty of Rwanda’s ‘Only one Basket’ campaign. ‘Its focus is to eradicate poverty from the survivors of the genocide through the sale of their local arts and crafts.’
‘I love helping these charities as it makes me feel like I am doing something meaningful with my life while I am also pursuing my passion for fashion and acting,’ she says. ‘God has given me the opportunity to be able to do something and make a difference.’
Biba fashion designer Barbara Hulanicki has specially designed a range of T-shirts for Ciru to promote and create revenue to benefit the causes that she supports. They will be sold around the world in stores and online.
Ciru will be moving her base to London very soon which she is looking forward to. Her family remain in Nairobi as her brother is taking his university degree there.
At first, Ciru’s family were a bit sceptical about her choice of career, but now they are her main supporters. ‘I try not to feel pressured by other peoples expectations,’ she says. ‘They are very happy about my achievements and success as a model,’ she says.
She holds a great love for her home in Kenya. ‘I love that it’s very cosmopolitan country and that people from all over the world want to come and visit because of its natural beauty and culture,’ says Ciru.
‘The beautiful people, great wildlife, lakes, mountains and beaches, what more could anyone want.’
Although Ciru tries to live by her own standards and be herself, some of her inspirations are Kate Moss, Milla Jovovich and Iman the African beauty. ‘Milla Jovovich inspires me as an actress and I love that Iman has an entrepreneurial mind.’ Ciru has various quotes that keep her grounded and focused. ‘One of my favourites is ‘never let even a drop of water on your fire,’ she says.
Over the next year she will continue to develop her charitable activities as well as modelling around the world. ‘I will also be promoting a new book that I’ll be featured in, that has contributions from lots of big names in film, fashion and music.’ Ciru will be featuring in 2 new feature films, one in the UK and one in Hollywood and also has plans to feature in a documentary about young inspirational people around the world.
Keep an eye out on the big screen for Ciru Maina!
If you want to find out more about Ciru and her charities visit her website here.