Ceval Omar was working as a scout for Heartbreak model management in Norway when the agency realised that she’d be better off in front of the camera. It was a prophetic turn of events that would see Omar land two spreads in British Vogue, two Elle covers, a Charlotte Tilbury campaign, and further cameos in the SS23 collections of Trussardi, GCDS, and Courrèges. As a trans, Black, and bigger-bodied person, Omar has been celebrated for the ways in which she deviates from traditional beauty standards. As important as these characteristics are, in helping the model lay the ground for a more exciting and inclusive industry, she’s careful not to be pigeonholed.
“More than all of those things, which I am, I’m first and foremost a human being,” she has said. “That is the one thing that I represent: a person with all the intricacies and complexities that make us.” At the most recent Copenhagen Fashion Week, where she walked for Holzweiler and (di)vision, Omar was invited to speak on digital activism. “I speak from my heart, I want to bring a positive energy from the depths of my soul, rather than fuel the ugliness of the world,” she told an industry audience. What she didn’t say, however, was that she works closely with an East African foundation that provides clean water, electricity, and internet to remote villages in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. To be the face of change is a responsibility that would lie heavy on anyone’s shoulders, but Omar is featherweight. “No matter what happens in this life, I know that I am liberated. In a society where we are constantly being limited, I have chosen to be limitless,” she commented on Instagram.
Text Daniel Rodgers