Faith Gachobe @wangechigachobe
From the beginning, Lydia Njoki Maina and the camera were friends. She loved it and it loved her back. The current Miss Diplomacy Africa always had a passion for the runway.
However, her modelling career began in 2010 when she was still in St Lucy Kiriri Girls Secondary School, Kiambu. The 20-year-old began to take part in high school beauty pageants where to her pleasant surprise, she always emerged among the top.
When on holiday, Lydia would convince her mother to watch Miss World every year since 2010. By the time her mother realised that her passion for the runway was relentless, Lydia was already out of school.
Immediately she completed high school in 2014, Lydia and her mother began to search for a modelling agency. Since Lydia’s height is 5’2 most of the modelling agencies would turn her down.
“I was always being told that I was too short for a model. A certain agency even told me that I was not dark enough to be a model,” Lydia recalls.
After a vigorous search, Lydia was finally introduced to Aftermath Modelling Agency by a friend where she was signed under her current manager Mr Rydah.
While still pursuing a diploma in Spanish and Chinese languages at the Regional Centre For Tourism and Foreign Languages, Lydia would set some time to train as a model.
After months of training as a model, the most unfortunate thing happened. Lydia lost her dad in December 2016 in a road accident, a topic she still doesn’t like to dwell upon.
“After I lost my dad, I wanted to give up. I skipped my training a lot as I tried to come to terms with what had happened. Eventually, I was able to get back on my feet with the help of my lovely mother Christine Mutungi and my younger brother Kelvin,” she says.
Lydia went back to modelling, put her foot forward and worked twice as hard. Despite her height, she was able to prove to herself and other people that she was tall at heart.
In 2017, Lydia took part in several beauty pageants, runway and high fashion events such as Ghana Fashion Gala, Machakos fashion gala, the Diwali festival and has been crowned the face of the aftermath modelling agency 2017/2018. She is also the current Miss Nairobi’s next top model glamorous face 2017/2018.
Because of the hard work Lydia put in and the help of her manager, she had the opportunity of travelling to Nigeria last year for a boot camp. She had gone to take part in the Miss Diplomacy world competition where she was crowned Miss Diplomacy Africa.
Despite her challengers being from different African countries, Lydia emerged the best. Lydia admits that her journey, like any other, has not been without challenges.
She has had to prove to people time and again that her height is not to be compared to her passion. Even though Lydia’s mum is the backbone of her career, she has made peace with the fact that not all her loved ones will always support her journey.
Lydia’s long-term goal is to one day be crowned Miss Universe. She knows the journey will not be a walk in the park, but she believes that if she puts God first and works hard enough, she will achieve her goal.