Lupita Nyong'o is her role model! Interview with model Binta Sillah

Written by F Mbaye

Binta Sillah is a Gambian model in the diaspora, who is making a name for herself and is rapidly rising to the top. What’s On-Gambia got the opportunity to chat with her about all the exciting things going on in her career.

What’s On-Gambia:Tell us about yourself please?

Binta:I’m originally from pipeline and a graduate of St. Joseph’s in Banjul.  I hold a diploma in graphic design and a former Gambian national athlete. I currently live and study in Italy, where I also pursue my dream as a model.

When I was in The Gambia, I worked as a tourist guide, freelance journalist and also as a marketing manager. My hobbies are taking photos, swimming, and researching.  I am a woman of principle, determine, strong, and caring..

Did you always want to be a model and how did you get into the business?

Yes, it was my dream! I was discovered by my late mum, RIP. She always called me a model when I was 15, because I was growing tall, and I loved wearing unique clothes and high heels.

In 2002, I joined an agency Milly’s Models, and then I moved to Yaw’s Modelling Agency, where I did lots of runway shows. One of the biggest shows I did was at a trade fair held at Paradise Hotel, with over 27 African countries participating to promote Gambian tourism. I also did a group advertisement for Vega on GRTS.

Recently, in Italy I have been signed by Joes Modelling Agency. I also have a contract with one of the famous cosmetic shops that deals with professional make ups.

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Who are your role models?

My role models are Tyra Banks and Lupita Nyong'o. I love them because they are great women to learn from. I always watch Tyra’s show, American Next Top Model, and for Lupita, she is just amazing, her look, her skin and her beauty.

On what magazine's cover would you like to be and why?

I would love to be on the front cover of The Vogue, this is one of the biggest magazines known in the world. It has featured very strong and powerful women of the world like Beyoncé. I think my image is perfectly fit for its cover with my natural black skin.

Who are your favorite Gambian models?

Gina Manneh! I have never met her in person, but I love her style and I believe she is a lady of personality. She is humble, beautiful and respects her job. And she is raising the Gambian flag high!

Why do you like flaunting your butt on social media?

(Laughs) that is a saucy question to ask, but honestly, my intention is not to attract anyone. I just love to be me, taking pictures are just fun for me - am just a free and lively person that’s all. I don’t see anything wrong with that and beside everyone has their opinion to say, but people should not always judge the book by its cover.

How often do you visit the gym?

It’s been a while now I have not visited the gym. I am naturally fit, but I keep my weight by eating vegetables.

Let’s talk about love. Are you single or?

I am single for now, and not searching. I want to focus on my career, and make my dream come true and then think about giving someone space in my life.

Any final words?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has contribute in the success of my career as a model, my family back in The Gambia and Ya Awa Conateh, the owner of Yaws Creations. She has been like a real sister to me and encourages me always.

Not also forgetting Mame Balla Diouf, Senegambian artist. He is like a mentor to me.

For the young models in The Gambia, be focus and know what you really want in your life.  Have courage, never take no for an answer, keep on trying. God has given everyone a talent and it’s up to you to discover it.