Rwandan-born model Nadja Giramata fled to France with her family at age five. She later moved to Manchester, England to study English Literature where she was scouted in a local park. This statuesque beauty has starred in campaigns for Topshop and Philipp Plein and graced the cover of ELLE.

You’ve had an interesting life. Tell us about your path into modeling.

I started modelling pretty late compared to others girls. I was already at university and had just moved to Manchester for my language studies and to live with my sister. One day on my way home from university a lady stopped me in Piccadilly Gardens and told me that I should join her agency. By that stage I had dropped the idea of being a model from my mind as I thought it was too late.

Do you think being a model of color has hindered you in any way?

I hope not! In my head when I go to a casting I see myself as a model, not as a model of color. I feel that I have the same chances as the other girls. Even if a client is searching for a brunette or a blonde girl, I can still make him change his mind. I feel like it’s up to me. Of course there are still some diversity issues. The only way to change that, in my humble opinion, is to show them that I am more than capable of doing the work.

If you weren’t modeling what would you be doing?

I would still be studying, as I had already started my language studies and English Literature when I was discovered. I’d also have a part-time job on the side.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given while modeling?

Don’t worry, it will happen at the right time for you. Most of the time I want everything straight away, but everything happens on its own timing. Worrying won’t add any more days to my life.

What are your goals for the future?

I’d like to use my languages for international business.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am crazy about classical music. I am a big fan of Vivaldi and Chopin. As worldly as I am, I am unable to eat with chopsticks.

Follow her at @GiramataNadja