Up-and-coming biracial model Malaika Firth’s career is moving along at a rapid pace. Just months after walking in Prada’s fall 2013 runway show and starring in the label’s latest ad campaign–Firth’s first major campaign and Prada’s second ever starring a person of color (after Naomi Campbell 20 years prior)–she’s already on the cover of Vogue.
Technically, it’s a shopping supplement in the November issue of Vogue UK, but it does include a feature on Firth, in which the magazine deems the lanky Brit a “modeling wonder.” It sounds like only a matter of time before she covers the real thing.
Of course, the decision to place Firth on the cover (even of a shopping supplement) is significant not only because she’s so young, her career just beginning, but also because she’s (half) black. Mainstream fashion magazines are generally as whitewashed as fashion week runways. And at a time when this disgraceful fact is being challenged the most, Firth seems to be the face of change. From New York to Paris, nearly every runway that featured models of color included Firth. And her presence on this supplement is the latest instance of a magazine (and advertisers who likely sponsored this supplement) marketing to black people–as they well should.
However, Firth isn’t thinking too much into it, at least not yet. The Kenyan-born 19-year-old model tells Vogue UK, “I’m proud that I’m the second black [Prada] model, but I’m also biracial. It’s a positive that I’m not white and I’m not black.”