On a cool Thursday afternoon in 2012, up and coming model Cianneh Brown had a terrible accident that left her face and leg scarred, which greatly affected her dream of becoming a model.
Hospitalized for more than a week, upon her recovery Cianneh tried to break the odds with the scare to jumpstart her career despite the industry’s demand for beauty and smooth skin.
But her effort to break the odds was short-lived, as she was turned down from one audition to another because of the scars on her face and leg.
In fact, at one audition, a judge told her that though she possesses a unique modeling skill, she could not be selected because of her face.
“When I heard such a remark, I became sick and traumatized. It was not easy, every day people use to criticize me for my look. The criticism and rejection was too much, so I decided to stop dreaming of becoming a model and quit.
“However, with the help of close friends and families, I was able to still have the hope that one day I will become a model,” Cianneh said.
Not deterred anymore by the rejection, she came out of her comfort zone in 2016 and auditioned for the Minnesota Fashion Week (MNFW), where she met award winning designer Danielle Everines who asked her to become the face of her design.
Months later, Danielle contacted Cianneh and did a shoot for her fall design, which was featured on the designer’s website, a local newspaper in that states, and the Minnesota Fashion Week page.
“That was the turning point in my career. From that day, I started to work harder and in no time, I was doing photo shoots and fashion shows for designer in my home state in Minnesota,” she said, adding: “The biggest moment in my career came when I walked the runway of New York Fashion Week last year February; I still hope to do so again.”
Despite the success, Cianneh still finds it difficult to be booked by some major modeling agencies because she is black.
“Last year, I saw two black models turned away because of their color. Many agencies are not willing to book black girls. Some may disagree with me, but the truth is racism is high in the modeling industry in America.
“People don’t really see, but it is real. Racism is one of the factors why black models find it difficult to be on the same level as their peers.
“However, I have learned that success does not come easy and it requires hardwork, patience and determination. No matter the level of racism, I’m not going to be deterred anymore from pursuing my dream of becoming an international model,” she explained.
Like our previous guest, Cianneh Brown was born in Liberia but grew up in a refugee camp in Ghana.
“Thing was not easy, but my parents tried their best to provide for me and my sibling. They taught us the importance of education and resilience. Despite growing up in a refugee campaign, my parents were loving and caring,” she said.
Cianneh continue to succeed as a model despite her age, and earned a Liberia Entertainment Awards nomination for the Best Model category.
Note: This article is part of the LIB Life series highlighting the story of women who are fighting the odds to succeed in the music, fashion and movie industries and much more.