From graphic designer and art director to international model, Carine Nguz is now making waves in London. Gerry Cupido chats to her about her new adventure.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a full-time model living in London. I studied advertising back in South Africa so when I’m not modelling I freelance in graphic design and art direction. I’m a Capetonian, not born but definitely bred, and it’s been exactly one year since I moved to the United Kingdom.Defining myself is often contradictory: I’m a creative and a nerd, an entrepreneur and an aspiring student... I am a life-loving, curious and adventurous human being but then again also very resilient, very determined and trying very hard to make this sound like a Tinder profile description.
How did your modelling career start?
Mine is the stereotypical story of the young girl discovered at the tender age of 14 whilst strolling through the shopping centre. I was at the V&A Waterfront for Sunday lunch with my family, when a lady approached me with her business card and asked if I ever had thought of modelling.I got very excited by the prospect of becoming a model but my parents, who were both accomplished academics and whose real decision it was at the time, encouraged me to delay getting into it until after I finished my studies. So I put modelling in the back of my head and got on with it.
As if by fate, exactly one month after graduating from AAA (School of Advertising, Cape Town), I was scouted again. This was my chance to make up for lost time and the “business of modelling” came naturally to me: networking, collaborating with various creatives, expanding my social circle, organising shoots to fill up my book with strong photos, getting the right representation in Europe and South Africa in order to be busy both halves of the year.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the easiest job in the world. There’s a lot of trial and error but it’s a beautiful learning curve, and the highs are very rewarding.
My big break came two years ago when the global retailer H&M And Other Stories contacted me to be the face of their Autumn/Fall Campaign.
What is the best part of your job?
Whether it’s driving up the coast to the most exquisite natural setting just an hour away from Cape Town, or living it up in the fanciest part of Stockholm, travelling is hands down the best part of the job. Hot off the heels of my campaign for H&M And Other Stories, which was shot in Sweden, I got booked for a fashion project in Greece. I spent eight weeks living in Athens, eating delicious food, building lifelong friendships, visiting mythological sites and island-hopping during my time off became a way of life. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up - in fact, Cape Town is the only city I’ve ever lived in for more than three years. Travelling is my favoured way of consuming time. I thrive when experiencing different cultures, discovering new places, and modelling has definitely made the world a little more accessible.
Other good things about modelling are: working with various types of people, being exposed to different types of creativity, plus the feeling of authorship and connection you get when you’ve created something truly beautiful.
What’s been the highlight of your modelling career?
I’ve been super busy in London lately, I’ve been walking shows for The Graduate Fashion Week). I’ve booked 15 fashion shows in the last three weeks. It’s been a great experience and besides keeping me on the ball, it has come with perks such as being featured in publications such as Dazed, Dezeen, and Vogue.
Do you have a special beauty and fitness routine and what is it?
I use as many natural products as possible - tea tree oil to clean and clear, odourless coconut oil to nourish and heal, camomile tea to calm tired and irritated skin, especially after a day of shooting or shows with many make-up applications.
I ensure that my daily moisturiser contains sun protection, and I opt for the sheer matte formulas. For my shaved/short hair, Cool Gel is my ultimate secret weapon: it moisturises, soothes and refreshes my scalp all in one go.
For fitness, I engage in still hot yoga about two to three times per week. In Cape Town, I used to hike twice a month and surf occasionally. It’s been hard adjusting to BIG city life, as I’m not a BIG fan of the gym. Another thing is that I walk a lot, and I like to think that this plays a part in maintaining my silhouette.
To keep up with Carine’s adventures follow her Instagram account: @carine_nguz