Name: Amira Natanne
Agency: We Speak Models
Claim to Fame: Natanne was featured in the inaugural launch for Pattern Beauty. She has also appeared in campaigns for American Eagle Outfitters, Pyer Moss and Nordstrom.
Amira Natanne was studying pre-med and bioethics abroad when she “accidentally fell,” into the modeling industry. “My friend who models for the agency that I’m currently with, took a photo of me, to the candid photo and posted it on her Instagram,” she told HelloBeautiful. “Later, she was like, ‘My manager is interested in signing you. And when I got back to the US I had a contract, that was it.”
She didn’t expect it to lead to much. “My focus wasn’t really like primarily on, you know, like starting a modeling career.” She told herself, “I’ll have a degree. I can get a job. Like, it’s fine. It’s not, I’m not missing out on anything essentially, and then it happened.” She was jetting off to a photoshoot for a major campaign for American Eagle underwear line Airee before she even made it across the stage. “At the end of the semester it’s finals week and I’m flying to Palm spring to shoot my first major job,” said Natanne. “It was kind of an exciting experience. I had an interest in fashion and interest in modeling, but I didn’t think it would come to fruition.”
The agency that her classmate introduced her to did not adhere to the old standards. She was welcomed to ask questions and actively navigate her own career. “The agency that I’m signed with, We Speak isn’t a traditional, like modern agency. It’s much more like health positive, body positive,” she said. “It’s much more like a personal experience, that I have with my agent, which I think makes it a lot more of a quality experience.”
Unfortunately she was still subject to experiencing the discomfort of being the only Black model, (and sometimes the only Black person) on set and occasionally having to “nudge her way into the hair conversation.”
Inspired by her positive experiences in the field with her agency and companies like Pyer Moss, Natanne is working to expand her presence in other markets. “I was working a job in Paris doing showroom. And while I was there, you know, we reached out to a few agencies,” she said. “Unfortunately I don’t really fit the market.”She is currently seeking out new directions and remains excited about the possibilities of her unexpected path. “This is kind of a once in a lifetime like opportunity, you know, won’t be young and 23 forever, you know, and I know like the window was kind of small, so, I’m trying to push myself to commit to it as much as possible.”
Her experiences as a student allowed her to navigate the traveling required for the job. “Being a Black woman as a solo traveler is like its own, you know, unique experience. So having to navigate new environments that are not used to interact with people, you know, socially who are from a completely different culture, you may not even speak the language, crosses over into modeling because sometimes you don’t, you know, speak the language or the lingo that they may be referring to. So I definitely think it’s helped me to adjust, incorporate myself into new environments.” One of the environments Natanne had no trouble navigating has been the set of Pattern Beauty. “It was a very positive set and very Black set, which I was very happy about. I got her entire twists out done onset,” she said. Privacy concerns about the anticipated launch meant non one could have phones giving her the opportunity to observe and connect with the Black professionals on set working to create the beautiful images that would make their way onto social media platforms and store window displays. It showed her what a set could be like.
“It was a good foot to start off on. ‘Cause I’ve had experiences on set where my hair wasn’t prioritized so that really showed me that it could be a priority. You could have a team and a casting director and, you know, a creative director, whoever it is who is committed to fulfilling the project and contributing to your overall experience,” she said.
She is interested in replicating that experience for others by getting into, “assisting styling and creative directing,” later on in her career.
“I’m open to it all. I’m willing to learn.”