Ingrid Moraa Mouti is a fiery 3rd Year student in Mathematics at the University of Nairobi. She has gone against odds to pursue her modelling career as well as build a fashion and lifestyle website, House of Mouti.
Find out more about her inspiring journey.
What sparked the beginning of House of Mouti?
There are so many youth out there who are talented but have no way or platform to showcase their talent. Some people are struggling with their talent and I just wanted to empower people using my website and blog. Even though it is a fashion and lifestyle blog, there is a segment where I feature guys who I have identified as being talented. If you are good with clothes, or your fashion sense is perfect, I’ll be sure to feature you.
Is there anything in particular that really pushed you to start empowering people?
Actually, yes. When I started modelling, it was hard for me because there are certain requirements of height and measurements that I didn’t particularly meet. I am quite short, I am 5” 2” and at that point I didn’t have anyone to show my talent. I know how to catwalk but… there was no avenue. This really lowered my esteem. It was hard but I kept telling myself that I had to do it, to keep going and not care what anyone was going to say. That was my motivation.
Speaking of modelling, which agencies or organizations have you worked with?
I have not registered myself with any agency but I was trained by Letoya Johnstone who made me shine. I have modeled at Kenya Fashion Awards, The Gala, KFA launch at Heron Portico and Next-gen Fashion Weekend.
Do you know how many people check out your website (your reach) on the regular?
About 6000 people log on to the site in a week and about 1000 give or take in a day. People seem to read more when I post about myself or other models like Linda Simbauni who is a plus size model. I have featured her in one of my blogs. She has graced almost all the runways in Kenya, she’s inspirational. Some of her appearances are here.
Do you have someone who helps you manage House of Mouti’s website?
Yes I do. A good friend helped me develop and deign the site. His name is Bonventure Shibia.
I noticed that you have some really good photos up on the site, is there anyone who helps you out with those?
Oh yes, I have worked with Mavo from Buo Art and Kevo among other photographers although I do not have a photographer for the site. I am looking for one I can grow with though.
What major challenges have you gone through doing all these things?
When I started blogging, I ran a blog on politics but I had to stop due to the threats I was receiving on my life. I decided to change to something else and though I did not love fashion before, I grow in to it. Sometimes juggling school, modelling and managing the site can be hard as they’re all time consuming. Also, at times I have to run from one shoot to the other. As I said before, height can be an issue. Not everyone can model, but I know I can.
As I am still a student, finances to run the website too can be a challenge.
What achievements are you proud of?
Through the website, I have not only gotten offers from various photographers but also I have helped other people who I have featured get work. Some of the products that I have featured like Chlorophyll have proved beneficial to my readers. One time someone whose child had sickle cell anaemia called me to let me know how much my article which contained the information about Chlorophyll helped them out after searching for so long. This was my favorite moment, I really felt like I had changed a life.
Anything you’d like to tell someone looking to do what you are now?
If you want to run a website, be sure to have original content, do not copy paste others’ work, think outside the box and market your site. Use social media…thought it used for wrong these days, one can definitely use it to do good.
And for those short girls who want to model, just do not give up, rejection doesn’t define you. AS long as you have your goals and principles, do not mind what people tell you.
Listen to the interview here: