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Akorino model who’s making heads turn

The sect is known for its conservative and modest way of dressing. However, Peris Wanjiku’s unique fashion sense has made her stand out

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

Peris Wanjiku Kamburi approach us donned in a pink-pleated dress that hits slightly above her ankles. The dress hugs her in the right places—yet descent and not too revealing. She comfortably catwalks in her black stilletos. Her make-up is on point, not exaggerated and blends well with her light skin. Surprisingly, a white turban completes her elegant look.

Not that I was expecting her to look any different. After all, her photos on social media have been causing quite a stir recently. From skater dresses, fitting pull neck tops and tees, denim jackets, bow ties, stilettos, her style has left many wondering whether she really subscribes to Akorino faith known for its conservative nature.

“I’ve been a staunch member of Akorino religious group since birth. It is my church and I have no intention of leaving it,” she says smiling as she settles down for the interview.

New face

Though Akorino women have a unique dressing code and have been known to dress modestly—long and loose fitting dresses, Pesh, as she is fondly known, insists she has not broken any religious rules. She says one can dress stylishly and still look presentable.

In fact, Pesh is amongst new-generation of Akorinos who are giving the church a new face— that one can be a Mukorino and still be stylish. The likes of gospel artistes such as Allan Aaron, Martin wa Janet, who are known for having a great fashion sense revolutionised the men style in Akorino church.

“I have received a lot of criticism both positive and negative, because Kenyans are used to members of this sect dressed in extremely conservative clothes. I’m not an attention seeker. I just want to spread the word, especially to young people that they can be Wakorinos and still be cool,” says the 21-year-old.

How does her church feel about this? “I fellowship at Holy Ghost Mission Church, Githurai 45 Nairobi and I am not the only one who has embraced modernity. Actually, as long as you remain faithful to God and church, no one would question you,” Pesh reveals.

Her mother is okay with her dressing code and she gives her money for her wardrobe. Her clothes are bought randomly, some readymade others tailor-made for her.

“I love heels and in 2013, I started borrowing my cousin’s shoes. When mum realised how I loved them, she also liked my look and started buying me my own stilettos. I also took charge of what I wore. As for make-up, I started using it in 2015 after high school,” she says.

Model in the making

The only limit, Pesh says, is that she is not allowed to apply lipstick or wear coloured nail polish. Make-up should also not be exaggerated. So for her, lipbalm and colourless nail polish does the trick. 

So, who inspires her dressing code? Pesh says she doesn’t follow anyone in particular, adding that her main aim is to let people know that they can be beautiful and attractive even when they are not in short and tight clothes and pants.

The second year student at Zetech University, studying Information Technology, interestingly has her eyes set on a modelling career. “Currently, I have been approached by different agencies, but we are yet to seal the deal.

I believe that unlike before when modelling was associated with women of loose and questionable characters, one can be a model and uphold his/her dignity,” the second born in a family of three says.

Since her photos went viral, Pesh cannot walk in the street without being recognised by total strangers. This has affected her social life, as she initially  didn’t give much thought to the fact that she would get a lot of attention.

“I cannot walk on the streets without someone spotting me, strangers greeting me and wanting to have a chat. It is a great challenge, but I’m learning to cope,” she affirms.

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