No runway is complete without the models that give real life to the beautiful designs. African models continue to set a standard on international runways and set the pace for other models to follow. From her amazing personality, graceful and unique walk, Georgie Badiel has become the favorite of many in the fashion industry. She has walked for top designers such as Oscar De La Renta, Marc Jacobs, Halston and Diane Von Furstenberg. She has also graced the covers of top media publications like Arise and many others.
Besides the fashion shows and the glam connected to them, Badiel shows her beauty by giving back to her community. Talk about a model with a difference, she is a social entrepreneur dedicated to helping her country-Burkina Faso and Africa.
Georgie Badiel, the award winning International model speaks to Ventures Africa about her journey. She gives us insight into her modeling career, her non-profit work and opinion about the African fashion industry.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
Im Georgie Badiel, from Burkina Faso. I’m a model; The co-founder of Models 4 Water and the founder of the brand Georgie’s Garden.
How did your modeling career begin and why modeling?
I started modeling when i was 15 years old in Africa. This was because i needed to do something on the side besides going to school. Today, modeling is my passion.
From your walk, personality and uniqueness, you won the admiration of many during ARISE Fashion Week Lagos. How does it feel winning the best female model of the year award? What are your thoughts about the ARISE event as a whole?
I thank God for this price. I was honored to receive this award. The award was a revelation that we should never give up on our dreams. Once you have the potential and the talent, put it to work. It’s a great feeling to have most of the African young models look up to me as a reference to their dreams. I always looked up to the French supermodel Katoucha. This award is dedicated to upcoming African models who see me as an inspiration.
Arise Magazine is working hard to leave a giant mark and restore the Africa fashion industry; I think it is a great project that we should all support for a better future and for our beloved continent.
I see you have alot of positive energy. Where does it come from? Who or what inspires you?
My positive energy is natural and it comes from God. Most of my inspiration comes from beauty, the beauty of nature and our being.
Most people believe that African models are not well recognized for their work. What are your thoughts about this and what do you suggest can be done to change this issue?
Modeling is very challenging for the African in New York and in Europe. Our real beauty has to be understood and accepted first. Realistically, we still have a long way to go. To make a big difference to change this issue, I think we need to develop the African Fashion Industry (just like what ARISE is doing). We must choose to promote the best African designers in the continent and around the world; and also encourage upcoming designers. We must create more high fashion magazines and also give our best into our work to achieve the best quality.
African designers have to think about making more ready to wear clothes, which makes things easier for the clients. I believe if we start by first creating the African Fashion industry as a whole, we will start changing many things about the African model’s career. Most importantly, this will create more work within the African continent and beyond.
What has been your most fulfilling achievement as a model? What are your future career goals?
I have done a lot of runway shows which has been fulfilling and fun. One of my future modeling goals is to be the face of a top beauty campaign.
I also created my brand called- Georgie’s Garden, which specializes in women lingerie. Georgie’s Garden is a lingerie brand highlighting African culture through the use of African symbols, colors and styles. My vision is to create lingerie that flatters the figure of the African woman- we have rounder hips and thighs. My goal is to capture the African market by becoming the Victoria Secret of Africa.
Items for Georgie’s Garden are being handcrafted by women in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. The traditional fabric of Burkina Faso is called Faso Dan Fani. Most tribes have their own popular pattern. I am working with the pattern of the Mossi tribe, which is cotton cloth, woven in blue, white and black vertical stripes. Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world, but our greatest resource is cotton. The products I am developing for my line include scarves and hats. Ellen Christine, one of the biggest hat designers, has created three designs for Georgie’s Garden. She will travel to Burkina Faso with Fashion 4 Development to teach the women how to make hats.
My future goal with my brand is to help those women to develop other skills, so their talent can blossom and they can create a better future for themselves and their families. These women are the future of Africa. With a higher self-confidence and enhanced skills they can attract more businesses from the fashion industry to my country. My hope is to provide an opportunity for these women to get better education, health care and domestic counseling to improve their lives in general.
What advice will you give to upcoming models?
My advice to upcoming models is to be patient, persevere, work hard and be happy despite the challenges in the industry. The modeling industry has changed alot over the years. Patience is key.
As an advocate for community development, i applaud and admire people like you who change the world in their different ways. Tell us more about your organization Models4Water. Why did you set it up?
Thank you! Models 4 Water is a non-profit organization to provide access to clean water to the people of Burkina Faso and Africa. I personally have experienced being thirsty and in need of water; i have walked miles to get water on my head. It is very painful and difficult, especially for a child to focus in school when he/she is thirsty and still has to walk long distances to fetch water. In Burkina Faso 80% of the population die of thirst and unclean water —that means more than 12 million people are without clean water. Only 20% of the population has access to clean water. The life span for children in my country is very short; more than 80% of the children die very young. The elderly and the sick suffer as well, since they have no choice but to drink the germ-infested, dirty water. The daily dream of the women of Burkina Faso is to have “Clean Water near my home.” My dream is to make their dream come true. I have been blessed with two angels on Earth who are dedicated to fulfilling this mission. Heide Lidgren, a model for GUESS by Marciano, has become my partner in this project and Max Crepo our director. We have created high visibility for our project through fundraising events and through public appearances. On February 1st of this year Heidi and I were honored with the opportunity to open the day at NASDAQ by ringing the bell. It was so inspiring to see the video of our work done in Burkina Faso flashed upon the giant NASDAQ screen in Times Square. Our goal in the future is to provide access to clean water to Africans and other nations of the world.
How do you combine modeling and social entrepreneur? Do you ever get overwhelmed by the work?
All our work is pro bono — we all donate our time, talent, and money for this cause. We are partnering with The Water Project, which is a water foundation that finances the drilling for clean water around the world. They are also involved in educating the people about how to keep the water clean from human and animal pollution. It is difficult sometimes to focus on many things at the same time. My partner Heide and I have to travel all the time to be able to attend meetings and events, which gets really challenging. The main motivation is the fact that, we are always happy to serve! The greatest challenge for this project is raising money. We are positive and believe that patience and publicity are key to our success.
What projects have you achieved so far and what do you hope to achieve with Models4Water in the longterm?
We have completed our first water well in the village of Nakar, near the biggest school in the village. Now 5,000 people now have access to clean water. We have already started the construction of our second location of drilling water. Our goal in the future is to provide access to clean water to Africans and other nations of the world.
How can people support and contribute to your organization?
People can donate to our organization through our website www.models4water.org . We also offer Models 4 Water teeshirts for sale on the website.
WATER FACTS: (According to water.org)
-Every 20seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
-Women spend 200million hours a day collecting water
-3.41million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene related causes
-884 million people lack access to clean drinking water
-An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day
We take certain things like water for granted, but a drop of water is everything to many people. Water is indeed life. Please support a great cause by helping the people of Burkina Faso. Check out Models4water donate and give life.