It may have taken a while (too long if you ask me) but African models are coming to the forefront of the fashion world. From opening shows that are notorious for their lack of diversity to gracing the cover of Vogue while still firmly in their teens, there’s no stopping this new generation. They are redefining what it means to be a top model. These eight women are on to something big; so keep an eye out!

Aamito Lagum

@thelovemagazine @kegrand @simonrobins1000 @drewjarrett1 @lotstar @bitton @dnamodels #theworldanditsmother Thankyou

A photo posted by Aamito Stacie Lagum (@aamito_lagum) on

Ugandan model Aamito Lagum won the first Africa’s Next Top Model in 2013, and her career has taken off since. From working it as the face of Kampala Fashion Week 2014 to fronting magazine spreads in Marc Jacobs F/W 15 campaign, Aamito definitely has a future ahead of her in the fashion game.

Follow her on Instagram @aamito_lagum

Imaan Hammam

SOON? @demarcdegroot #casablanca

A photo posted by Imaan Hammam (@hammamimaan) on

With a stunning debut opening for Givenchy in 2013 and three Vogue covers under her belt, Imaan Hammam isn’t playing around. Did I mention she’s 18? Imaan is of Moroccan and Egyptian descent, something she’s very proud of. Scouted in Amsterdam, she radiates cool European It-Girl. And her candid street-style shots are just as captivating as her show pics.

Follow her on Instagram @imanhammam

Aya Jones

Backstage #Giles Thank you @kegrand!? #LFW

A photo posted by Aya Jones (@iamayajones) on

Her exclusive first walk in the Prada Spring/Summer show in Milan this year is the stuff of legends. Aya Jones, the French beauty who has links to the Côte D’Ivoire, is only 20. Her career is impressive considering she’s only two years into it. She sports the most demure French accent and a certain unique grace, so let’s hope she’ll be modelling for a while.

Follow her on Instagram @iamayajones

Karly Loyce

Karly Loyce is new to the stage too. With currently 874 Instagram followers, fresh is an understatement. Debuting with Céline, she’s bringing Afros into the mainstream fashion world at an unprecedented level. Anyone who says having an Afro isn’t elegant– I’ll refer you to the photo above.

Follow her on Instagram @karlyloyce

Maria Borges

?????? @lofficielazerbaijan #covergirl #lofficiel The #May issue is Available now ??

A photo posted by Maria Borges (@iammariaborges) on

Maria Borges is from Angola and was discovered at the tender age of 17. I was lucky enough to meet her at the iconic Dior Haute Couture Show in 2013 (she probably doesn’t remember me) and she had a personality that shined through, making her beauty that more special. With legs for miles and the face of an angel, Maria is a star in the making.

The ‘fro-wearing Victoria Secret model had a busy New York Fashion week. She appeared on the catwalk for La Perla and the newly relaunched Fiorucci.

La Perla, baby. @laperlalingerie 🖤✨styled by the one and only @edward_enninful

A post shared by MARIA BORGES (@iammariaborges) on

Follow her on Instagram @iammariaborges

Malaika Firth

Till I die.

A photo posted by @malaikafirth on

Malaika Firth, was the first black woman to head a Prada campaign since Naomi Campbell in 1994 (shame on Prada for taking so long). Humble and proud of her Kenyan heritage, Firth is taking the fashion world by storm.

Follow her on Instagram @MalaikaFirth

Nykhor Paul

Dear white people in the fashion world! All women are beautiful in their own skin whether you are black, white, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, or Indian. Beauty is diverse and it deserved to be appreciated and honored by true artist who are free of prejudice or racism. I am not a racist, I am a human being expressing herself about the lack of diversity in the fashion world. Black models have never been a priority in this industry and they never will be if we don't addressed the root causes. Clearly there is a serious issue facing our world and we as a people are choosing to hide from the truth. We are a society that is too sensitive to the truth but we are hurting and have been for generations. You can't speak your mind as a black person without someone labeling you as an angry black woman, I mean how would white women feels if every time they tried to speak what's happening to them someone calls them names? How would a white girl feel to walk in my shoes as a blue black African girl in this western world? Learn to handle the truth without using racism as an escape goat every time so we can have a healthy dialogue about us and the issues facing us today. I am a child of Africa with many shades of darkness and have no hate for another human being in this world because I was raise to love all things life under God light. I am blue black and proud of it, I am beautiful in my own skin no matter how dark and scary people might feel around me. Embrace your blackness!!! #RefugeeGirl #SouthSudan #WeAreNilotic #Modellife #NiloticQueen #NiloticGirl #BlueBlack #Akobogirl #BlackModelsRock #Africangirlsrock #BlackBird #BeautyandPeace #WalkingArt #Africanstakingover #onepeople #onetribe #OneAfrica #ILOVEAFRICA. @marieclairesa

A photo posted by nykhor (@nykhor) on

Nykhor Paul. I can’t not put in a South Sudanese model. Yes, I’m a bit biased being South Sudanese myself, but Nykhor’s talents as a model don’t need explaining. She’s spoken out about the crap black models get in the industry, hopefully people are catching on.

Follow her on Instagram @Nykhor

This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list: there are so many more amazing African models cutting their teeth in the industry. Check out more on fashion on twitter using #TRUEAfricaFashion if you have more to add to the list!

Herieth Paul

Herieth Paul is a Tanzanian model who has walked for Diane von Fürstenberg, Lacoste, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, Armani, Cavalli and 3.1 Phillip Lim. The short-froed, luminous skinned model is a global spokesperson for Maybelline.

NYFW 2017 she walked for US labels Adam Selman, Brandon Maxwell, Cushnie Et Ochs and others.


A post shared by Herieth Paul🇹🇿 (@heriethpaul) on

In an interview for Elle magazine, she told us her top eight beauty secrets including how she keeps her ultra-cropped fro so fresh:

‘Every day, I use a mix of olive oil and shea butter, and on weekends I make my own mask with bentonite clay—it’s, like, $5 on Amazon; you just add water and let it coat your hair for 20 minutes until it dries. It gives a nice shine and cleans your scalp. I never use shampoo.’

Follow her @heriethpaul