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Getting to know: Maria Borges


LIFE AND Style editor Joel Campbell caught up with Angolan model Maria Borges ahead of the new campaign for Gap, who are launching 'Bridging the Gap', a film directed by newly appointed British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, which celebrates his optimistic view of American style.

L&S: Since being discovered in 2010 it’s been a bit of a whirlwind for you, would that be fair to say?

MB: Yes, I’ve been travelling a lot, working a lot and now I have my new contract with L’Oreal everything is going pretty amazing.

L&S: What does it mean to you to be an inspiration?

MB: It means everything. I am so thankful for every client that I work with and all of the opportunity that I have had and I am just keep working hard every day to show the other girls around the world that they can do it. If they have dreams, if they have goals they have to keep fighting for them.

L&S: Talk about being an African women thriving in a world that seldom celebrates African beauty, what does that mean to you?

MB: It’s not easy. Coming from Africa and at the time I didn’t speak English at all, I had to go to school and learn a new language, new culture and move to New York and I had to learn a lot about fashion. I had to know very quickly who my clients were, I had to know what they needed and what my job required everyday. That’s why I made it so far I did a lot of shows, jobs and campaigns and now I have my contract.

L&S: Did you enjoy taking part in the Bridging The GAP campaign?

MB: That campaign was wonderful, it brings all of us together, it was about diversity. I was onset with musicians, signers and models we all share different cultures and we all have different bodies. I was very proud to be a part of that campaign.

L&S: Its was directed by the amazing Edward Enninful, were you surprised when he was announced as Vogue editor?

MB: I was so happy for him. I have been working with Edward since I started my career and I know he is always positive about diversity. This was my first campaign for GAP and doing it with him was such a blessing. I wish him good luck and all the best for him at British Vogue.

L&S: You’re still very young and have just signed a contract but what comes after walking the runway, do you have an eye on the future?

MB: I don’t know now, I’m 24, I just need to keep working hard, keep growing and keep learning, inspiring women around the world. Of course my biggest dream will be starting my charity work in Africa. I will be doing something in education or an orphanage, I need to decide.

L&S: You have a tattoo that reads ‘step by step’, who gave you that piece of advice when you left Angola?

MB: My mum, before she died would always remind me and my brother that we should take time in whatever we do. Wherever you want to go make sure you do it slowly and she say take it step by step. She would say not to do anything that would make you upset make sure your doing something that inspires people and that you’re doing something that you love to do. So step by step means everyday I am taking my job slowly, step by step, one job at a time.

'Bridging the Gap' sees Enninful select a diverse cast of individuals he’s worked with, championed and admired who embody American culture today. The iconic Gap basic white t-shirt serves as a blank canvas for each of the cast to take and make their own, offering a glimpse at how their differences unite them. The film also stars Wiz Khalifa, Priyanka Chopra, Alek Wek, Maria Borges and more!

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