Senait Gidey is a Canadian model of East African descent, born in Toronto, Canada on May 6th, 1995. She was discovered at Elmer Olson Models ‘boot camp to bigtime’ event, a place where fresh faces can meet with some of the biggest agencies in the world. She waited until she completed high school before leaving Toronto for New York City, where she describes her first season as ‘killer’.
Of New York, Gidey tells Harper Bazzar “it's so crazy—every day you're just thinking about what's going to happen the next day, before you know it a whole month has gone by.”
Though she started her professional modeling career in Canada with Elmer Olson Model Management, she quickly signed with IMG Worldwide, and moved to New York a year later. It was a launchpad for stops in London, Milan, and Paris. She says that IMG and Elmer have ‘been with me every step of the way’. She travelled to Capetown, South Africa at the start of her career, an event she credits as a learning experience in addition to being incredible beautiful “the beach, the sunsets, the landscape, it was all unreal”.
Diversity, or the lack of diversity, has been a growing topic of conversation within the fashion industry as of late, and her appearance on the scene is noteworthy because the Ethiopian/Canadian newcomer represented a splash of color on otherwise white-washed runways. She was the only black model featured in Karl Lagerfeld’s Fall/Winter 2013 Chanel presentation.
She’s walked numerous major runways including Chanel, Max Mara, Burberry, and Christopher Kane, and says the best thing about the job is meeting new and interesting people in different areas of the world, and that the free clothes don’t hurt.
She acknowledges that modeling is not a job you can plan to do forever, and in the future Gidey hopes to own a brand which incorporates the things she loves outside of modeling. When not working, Gidey might be found baking, and is fond of crafting cookie creations for her friends.
Runway Diversity In 2013 Gidey spoke to Harpers Bazaar Magazine about diversity on the runway. “It was so amazing to see all the black girls that walked in shows at fashion week this season. I really felt like things changed—you could really see more diversity at all the shows. I love that things are evolving, and we’re seeing it first hand,” she told Bazaar.
During castings, Gidey prefers to wear all black, but she doesn’t like to limit her options. Favorite designers include Phillip Lim, Pucci, Givenchy, Nina Ric, and she lists Rachel Zoe as one her style icons because “she always looks amazing”. The list also includes pop superstar Rihanna.
One favorite clothing item is a vintage fur mink jacket given to her by the grandmother of a friend. During the day, natural is her go to look, but at night black cat eye and deep plum lips are a requirement. An avocado face mask is a must, and the beauty has a secret to keep her lips looking good: scrubbing with sugar.