Photographer: Aleksi Kokora – Editor: Sems Erik
“ I’m here to heal and cure myself again so I can stay on track “
Over the past 10 years, the Finnish media has not shared success stories from the field of fashion, embodying the various experiences of models with different cultural backgrounds in Finland. These models have proven their worth and ability to break into this field, along with their successful integration into Finnish society., Previously, multi-cultural integration was not popular because cultural diversity was not a primary goal in the Finnish milieu, among many other reasons.
On the other hand, perhaps it comes from the fear that the Western center will not accept an unfamiliar face and complexion in the global fashion market, especially in Europe and America and Finland in particular. It may be caused by the traditional criteria for measuring fashion models, which is limited to European beauty only, and an unfortunate lack of openness to other cultures and different standards of beauty that. reflect geographical and cultural diversity.
On the global stage, most of us do not remember unique faces except Naomi Campbell, the most famous black-skinned model, and perhaps among the most famous in this modern era., As a beauty icon that is difficult to even imitate, Naomi Campell was such a unique and rare case that reflects global cultural openness. Not only was she a great influence in changing the global balance of beauty and the fashion market, but she also inspired many others to follow her path.
The balances in the cultural, artistic, and social scenes have shifted globally. All around, social media revolutions have changed many concepts. Not only have the roles of fashion and the media increased, but it also has shedded light on this field. Due to the previously mentioned factors, we have seen many famous fashion models in Finland and all around the world. They come from different cultures and standards of beauty, whose main pillar is human beauty and uniqueness.
For the first time, integration in the modeling industry and the Finnish fashion arena has been brought into the spotlight, as we believe that this field is witnessing a great development. Finland also has become an incubator for many activists who have begun to break into the global fashion market. Among them is the most famous model of African origins, Monica Tor. In fact, she is Finland’s most sought-after aesthetic model – or world-class model, let’s say.
As the African queen face of Finland, Monica Tor will be the focus of our conversation as we learn inspiring excerpts about her and her experiences.
A young 31-year-old woman from South Sudan, Monica Tor immigrated to Finland more than 16 years ago due to, the war and the search for stability during that period. She also considers her father the main supporter in her life, because he always sought to provide safety, no matter what.
Aside from her modeling career, Monica also works in the field of health in Finland. As a model, she is the most prominent compared toof her modeling counterparts in Finland.
Since pursuing the fashion field about 8 years ago, she has beenis distinguished by her aesthetic uniqueness, which combines the basic criteria for fashion models: she is tall, 172 cm, and weighs 56 kg.
In addition to her remarkable smile reflecting her confidence and bright personality, Monica stands out with her glow, her unique African features, and the degree of her dark skin color, which was said to be rare.
The first spot
Sometimes life hides moments, whose importance cannot be realized and what can change them in a person’s life. Such a moment includes the story behind my entry into the field of fashion, which began when a woman from Kenya took a picture of me. Through her artistic touches, she expressed to me with astonishment how beautiful I was. With my beauty highlighted in those professional photos, this
woman showed me a Sudanese model and told me that I can be like her one day only if I believe in myself. When she asked me to model for her, that was the first time I was considered a model. Since then,, this lady constantly reminded me of my beauty and became a source of inspiration.
A lot of people saw this model in me that I didn’t understand; the brokenness in me made it difficult to see what others saw.
As a woman and, mother, I have my own flaws. While it is not easy to get undressed in front of people, modeling has taught me how to embrace my flaws and that’s what keeps me motivated.
One day, I was looking in the mirror with tears running down my face, wondering why no one from my family told me that I was beautiful. But these words broke me out of my shell, and that’s where my modeling journey began.
“My past experiences made me strong and who I am today.“
The Finnish Face of Africa competition: I was selected as the first hereditary princess in 2020.
Miss Finland 2013 finalist: I applied for this competition because I want to make my culture visible. I want to show the Finns that we are here too and we can do anything. I also want to be a role model for young people, especially because I have a ten-year-old child.
As You Are fashion agency: The first meeting was really good. They were very welcoming.
I am grateful for the gigs that I have received so far, and I know that I am capable of doing more.
Marimekko: As it is a well known Finnish brand , I will always be grateful to Marimekko. It was an amazing experience, and I can only say good things about them. Marimekko opened a lot of doors for me, along with their positive feedback. One of them told me that I was shining on stage with my really beautiful long neck, which made me smile.
Being a proud black model
I’m very proud of my roots . Coming from a strong culture, I want to showcase it as it reflects on how I carry myself. The fact that I am myself confirms my path. With my existence, I can set an example for young girls. As I move forward as Monica and as a model, I’ve accepted that I am enough.
As the world changes, we are being more open to each other, which is a beautiful thing. We are now in a better place than we were 10 years ago. I feel I have more to give to society and more things to achieve. Not only do I want to make a personal impact on the modeling industry, but I also want to share a voice of peace with the world. By doing so, I will be able to make it better, especially for those who had some difficulties in their lives because modeling can be a door to very harmful power.