Sally Jatta, 19, is an aspiring model who recently won Senegambia’s Next Top Model, which took place last October. As part of her prize, she was cast as one of the runway models for Fashion Weekend in the Gambia. The 5ft 9 beauty is currently a student at Unity Comprehensive and resides in Serekunda. ingambia.com’s Justin Anantawan talked to her. Excerpts:
How many years have you been modelling?
I’ve been modelling for 11 months since last  November.
How did you get into the modelling industry?
I was competing in beauty competitions and practicing modelling at home, perfecting my poses. One day, a man saw me and asked if I was a model. I told him no but that I loved the idea of modeling. He asked me to join his agency and that his how I joined the industry. My first show was at Night of Excellence where I had a lot of fun.
Who was the person who discovered you?
It was Lamin Emityang.
How did you get involved with Senegambia’s Next Top Model?
I got involved with Senegambia’s Next Top Model because of Emet. They were having a casting and I did not want to go but Emet insisted. They were looking for a specific height and I wasn’t sure if I met the requirement. However, I gave it a go. I walked for them, they asked me a few questions and I was cast in the competition shortly after.
How did you prepare for the competition?
Oh, I prepared day and night. I was told they were going to ask me questions in the last round of the competition. So I was going on the Internet researching some questions about modelling. I was going to the tailors asking them to make my clothes for me. You know… working upside down, struggling to win this competition.
Where do you get your inspiration for your posing?
I inspire myself by watching modeling TV shows, like Naomi’s Campbell, “The Face”.
Did you think you were going to win?
I did after the second round. I think part of it was my dress. People were shouting, supporting me and it gave me confidence.
How did you feel when you won?
[Laughs] I was crying! I was very happy. I was also a little sad though because my parents were not there to share in my win.
How have your parents supported you in your chosen career?
Yes, they support me in this career. They give me courage and confidence in myself. At one point I wanted to give up but they said everything is not about money. Some days you are going to lose, sometimes you are going to win. Just continue. Maybe one day you are going to win.
What were some of the prizes you won?
I received a cash prize, free photoshoots to help me create a portfolio – which is very expensive to make, and was spotted by the FWG management team at rehearsal (Soma Njie who was a Judge, Lena Nian and Adi Conteh). I was cast in Fashion Weekend Gambia so the competition has already led to work!
What are your goals and dreams for your modelling career?
My modeling career… I want to be a very well known person, a supermodel. Also, I want to help the Gambian youth. They are not represented in the modeling industry. I want to travel and model in different countries and get Gambian people recognized in the fashion world.
Who are your favourite designers?
I have two of them. They are Mass Mizzle and Yawz. Yaws designs clothes that have Jamaican style and European style which are very attractive to the tourists who are coming here.
Who is your favourite model and why?
Naomi Campbell because she is sexy, she can pose, she can talk….she can do anything that she wants to do. Also, she is a black model and I think it is important to support black models. I would really love to meet her one day.
And Adama Jobe (speaker at FWG’S first Fashion Talks event earlier last year) She is a Gambian model. She is a responsible person and everyone knows her. She knows how to do her job.
How would you describe your style?
Natural. Even my hair, I don’t like to put too many products in it. I just leave it as it is, natural and curly.
Describe your beauty regimen
I go to the gym. I moisturise with cocoa butter. I also moisturise my hair with cream. I don’t believe in skin bleaching.
Besides modelling what other talents do you have?
Besides modelling, my talent is drawing. This is because my father is also an artist. Sometimes I help him with his art.
What advice would you give to other aspiring models?
I would advise them to take care of their body, skin and hair. Also to have a good attitude and respect themselves and other people around them. Also, they should know and love what they are doing. They need to believe in it.
By: Justin Anantawan