African-American youth runway model inspires as a natural hair advocate

She's not even a teenager and she's already walked the runways at New York and LA Fashion Week. Twelve-year-old model Celai (Seh-lay) West continues to inspire.

This time, with a special honor to her ancestry.

Celai lives in Sacramento but is known on the SoCal fashion scene after walking in shows in Los Angeles. The first time she wore heels was when she was ten years old and walking in the Style fashion show in Palm Springs Fashion Week  

At 10 years old, Celai perfected that walk on the runway. She'd been invited to hit the catwalk in New York for designer David Tupaz after being "discovered" as a model as a child.

It's not only that mature-beyond-her-years strut that makes her a stand-out it's her signature hair. The African-American model is an advocate for natural black hairstyles.

She calls herself a "texture activist." She said she'd be on set and the stylist didn't know how to do her hair.

On her social media page, you'll find hair tutorials. She's an advocate for natural black hair. 

At seven years old, she started an empowerment t-shirt line called The Chatty Chick. A signature t-shirt reads "I'd be jealous of my hair too."

For Black History Month, Celai did a modeling photoshoot in honor of her great-great-great-grandmother Maddie Ligans, who passed away in the 1930s. Along with the black-and-white photo with her dress in lace, she titled her copy "Dear Ancestors" and wrote, "I will make you proud."  

Although the coronavirus numbers are now easing Southern California into the less-restrictive red tier, fashion shows that would normally be held in March are still a no-go. If pandemic numbers hold, expect the fashion world on both coasts to go big in September and October for Fall Fashion Week.

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