A Semana Online took advantage of Delgado’s vacation in Mindelo to get to know this Cape Verdean model who has begun to shine in Portugal. With the face of a young girl, brown skin and a sculptural body, Doila’s friendliness is liable to catch anyone off-guard.
Indeed, these were the attributes that awakened the interest of a booker who, in 2011, stumbled across Doila in the café of a hotel in Portuguese capital Lisbon, in the neighborhood of Bairro Alto, where she frequently went with her aunt. At the time she was 22. The meeting was a casual one, but it didn’t take long for an invitation to arrive for a photo shoot. After her first sessions, she joined the Just Models agency, after which she began receiving her first invitations to take part in shows. Reconciling studies and fashion wasn’t easy, she says, but her priority was always her psychology major.
Delgado has participated in several fashion shows since then, including one with designer Dino Alves, a very well-known name in the Portuguese fashion world, in 2012. The “Já É Primavera El Corte Inglés SS/13” and the 2014 and 2015 editions of Black Fashion Week are among the other events in which Doila has taken part. She has also appeared in advertising campaigns for Vodafone and Super Bock Angola, wedding catalogues and even a Portuguese film, as an extra. Now with the Elite Lisbon brand backing her up, Neiridénia Doila Delgado wants to take her modeling career to new levels.
Her plan is to venture into the London or New York markets. She believes that in those cities, new opportunities may be available to her. Indeed, despite the heavy competition, the young model is investing in her physical characteristics. “Brands are increasingly looking for darker, more exotic-looking models who are excellent professionals as well,” she says. Doila says she has no particular preferences as far as what type of clothing she models, but admits that long dresses are the most comfortable for her.
Although she is only know stepping onto the catwalk of fame, her passion for fashion began early on, while she was studying in Mindelo. At her high school, “it was normal for there to be activities like theater, dance, music, exhibitions and fashion shows that students would hold. I participated in everything, especially in the fashion shows,” she says.
At the time, Doila would have had a hard time imagining that years later, while attending university in Portugal, where she began her studies in psychology in 2008, she would end up taking up a career as a model.
According to Doila, her parents were never against the idea of her being a model. “They’re my greatest source of support. I think they could have supported me even more if I’d taken the idea of being a professional model more seriously. They encouraged me to study, and I felt divided, because studying has also been very important to me, so I was tempted to try to reconcile the two things.”
Fashion in Cape Verde
With regards to Cape Verdean fashion, Doila thinks that “there’s a lot of potential, because we’re creative by nature as a people. We have excellent designers and photographers hiding here. Our young women are of a unique beauty, which makes all the difference in the fashion world.”
All that’s needed is to promote this wealth, both here and abroad, and show that Cape Verde has something to say in the world of international fashion. “A lot of work is still needed, but we’ve begun to take the first steps. I follow what’s going on and stay informed whenever I can.”
Doila’s advice to young women aspiring to join the world of fashion? “Run after your dreams, but always keep your feet on the ground.”