Herieth Paul is a 22 year-old, much-sought-after “it girl” in the glitzy and glamorous world of high fashion. She jets around the globe for fashion events to work for the industry’s visionaries with the likes of Tom Ford, Roberto Cavalli and Calvin Klein. Her beauty has been likened to big names such as Grace Jones and Naomi Campbell, both of whom are supernovas in the modelling universe. But to her, being at the center of it all, still feels like a lucid dream.
“Is this a dream, I still can’t believe it,” she says, looking back on her career and how she started from humble beginnings as a young girl in her hometown of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, a long way from the busy streets of New York City.
“It’s literally the most beautiful place in the world,” she reminisces.“It’s so warm and the air is so crisp and it smells like-do you know the smell after it rains?… The sun rays just kiss my skin, and the ocean water is so clear; it’s so blue.”
She was a shy girl growing up in East Africa and never did she think that her face would be in the glossy pages of magazines all over the world. But there was something she is quite sure of and that is her love for her beautiful country and its people, inspiring her to give back and uplift her community in whatever way she could. She wants to use the success she has gained to help other girls live to see their dreams come true. Much like the way she started.
Herieth’s mother helps run Sachia Society, an orphanage in Tanzania where the beauty started out volunteering at a young age, teaching her the value of compassion and respect towards others. It was there that she learned that despite different circumstances, upbringing and backgrounds, people can still get along and become friends. It is through the compassion and aid of others that she was able to begin her journey towards a successful career in fashion and it is through this that she also wants other girls to know that it is possible to live their dreams.
When Herieth was 14, her mother signed her up to audition for an acting and modelling agency based in Canada. She wanted to become and actress just like those young stars that she saw on television but, because of her shyness and her inability to speak English fluently, she failed the audition. However, despite not making the short-list of acting talents, the timid 14 year-old’s presence was still noticed. She was given an opportunity not to act, but to model for the agency, a career option that was never on her mind. Four years later, she accomplished what she set out for and wanted, to become one of big-name brand Maybelline’s spokes model.
Her deep affection for her East African origin is also evident on the way she presents herself. Her short afro signature hairstyle keeps her grounded, embracing her natural beauty and showing how she never wants to forget about Tanzania and the people there. She has continually supported the Sachia Society and the Tanzanian Children by sending money to help cover the basic needs such as power, food and educational reading materials.
The 22 year-old’s philanthropy doesn’t end in Tanzania. The African beauty also mentors girls in a New York City organization called The Lower East Side Girls Club, providing support and encouragement for them to believe in themselves in the similar fashion that other people have believed in her and helped her become the role model she presently is. She believes that everyone is here for a reason and that message is what she passes on to those she helps encourage by discussing with them how to believe in themselves despite the obstacles blocking their way. Her experience living in beautiful Tanzania has helped her realize that beautiful dreams can become reality.
“I see beauty everywhere…I see beautiful people, but not because of how they look, but with their hearts and their beautiful minds. I feel like beauty is just the energy that you give out into the world.”
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Source: Upworthy via True Activist