By Eartha Watts-Hicks
Celai West (pronounced suh-LAY) is a go-to runway model for Style Fashion Week and major commercial print ads, including Gap and Tommy Hilfiger Kids. Most recently, Celai has gained sudden notoriety, as hair tutorials and footage from several runway (million + views) videos quickly went viral. Celai has launched her own T-shirt line and currently transitioning to film and other major opportunities. Celai chatted with Harlem World Magazine’s editor, Eartha Watts Hicks, about what is going on in her world….
Eartha Watts-Hicks: You are such a wonderful example of confidence and cultural pride. Who do you feel most inspired by?
Celai West: I’m inspired by my parents because they teach me to love myself exactly the way God made me and they teach me to always do my best.
EWH: Which model that you have encountered do you feel most inspired by?
CW: Liris Crosse. She inspires me because she never gives up and she speaks up for model diversity.
EWH: Growing up, who was your favorite television or movie star?
CW: My favorite is definitely Zendaya.
EWH: What is your favorite hobby?
CW: My favorite thing to do is make slime and I’m actually pretty good at it too!
EWH: Do you know how to cook? If so, what is your favorite meal to prepare?
CW: I love to help my mom, Auntie and grandma cook. I help make lots of things, but if I’m cooking alone, my favorite thing to make is quesadillas.
EWH: What is your favorite movie?
CW: Definitely Black Panther. Definitely.
EWH: Who is your favorite music artist?
CW: Zendaya again *giggles*
EWH: If you could have a conversation with any celebrity past or present, who would you choose?
CW: The Obamas and Chadwick Boseman.
EWH: What is your favorite book?
CW: Holes is my favorite book, so far.
EWH: In your wildest dreams, what would you love to see happen in your career?
CW: To own a chain of huge boutique shops around the world, to be on a billboard in Times Square and to do runway all over the world for all the biggest designers. And I want my own TV show like ANTM… except for kids.
EWH: Thank you.
CW: Thank you.
Roughly, two years ago, with the love and support of family and friends, Celai launched The Chatty Chick, an apparel line that features bold statement tees and inspired affirmations, as a stylish way to encourage self-love in children of all ages. Proceeds from The Chatty Chick t-shirts are earmarked for college savings and to offset travel expenses to and from bookings. Those who support Celai’s growing apparel line are taking an active part in helping this young lady, as they say ‘slay the runway.’ The Chatty Chick tees are available on TheChattyChick.com website, #TheChattyChick, #TheChattyChickTees
.Eartha Watts Hicks is editor-in-chief of Harlem World Magazine, member of The Harlem Writers Guild, author of Love Changes, and publisher of Earthatone Books. www.earthatone.com. Connect @Earthatone.
Photo credit: 1) Celai West. 2) Model Celai West Runway Submission Images Style Fashion Week Palms Springs 2018. Photographer Mark Gunter Mark.