This November, Mena Mode had the pleasure of returning to the motherland. We traveled to Niger in West Africa. Our founder, Melissa, considers Niger home because that is where her parents are from. The mascot of the country is a gazelle or “mena” in Hausa Language, hence the name Mena Mode. Mena Mode is working with Zeynabou Ali-Amadou in Niger to produce our popular designs. We want to use our platform to change the economic landscape of Niger and invest.
We took this opportunity of our time in Niger to highlight the importance of self-confidence in young girls. We wanted to use some of the girls for our photo shoot to showcase our head wraps. We ran into a few snags initially. Some of the girls wanted to model, but they did not feel pretty enough to participate. In addition, once we began shooting, it was difficult to get the girls to smile. We never contemplated that this would be a problem because we have seen the girls laughing and smiling before. However, once the camera was on their faces, the smile vanished, and they did not want to show their teeth. It was disheartening to see the effects of society and media images on the confidence of girls so young. We started pairing the girls together, and as they became more comfortable modeling with their friends, sisters, cousins, the pearly whites began to show. Seeing them smile was contagious and truly beautiful. We were thrilled to use this platform to make these girls feel pretty and comfortable with their smiles. We hope that you can look at the pictures and see how their attitudes changed throughout the shoot. We will work with these girls again for future photo shoots.