Sara Nuru: "I was often misjudged”
After her victory as the first non-white contestant in "Germany's Next Top Model" ten years ago, Sara Nuru was to be seen on catwalks of the world - designers fought over the young talent. Today, the 29-year-old is only in front of the camera for selected projects, otherwise she works together with her sister for her own NGO and coffee start-up. NEW YORKER NEWS spoke with Nuru at her company’s one-year anniversary about her relationship with modeling, equal rights in the working world and her own family plans.
Such a successful model as Sara Nuru also knows that campaigning for equal rights is still more important than ever- even if, fortunately, she has never had to deal with racists or misogynistic appearances herself. In an industry that has been trying to be diligent in its diversity over the last few months it is still a exception: "Thanks to the GNTM, I never really had a problem with this, but I know that it is an issue for many black and Asian colleagues who are not booked because of their skin colour. Even if this attitude is slowly changing and the next generation of models benefit because of diversity, there are still many other topics in the industry that need to be worked on” says Sara.

"I was often misjudged at first."

However, not only the visual appearance is a topic in the industry, but also stereotyped thinking is part of the model´s everyday life: "In the past I was often misjudged for the first time", says the 29-year-old. Her role as a business woman today has also changed her behaviour in communication with the markets she wants to explore: "People are often surprised: I know what I want and I say it too. The brands also like it, when someone gets involved.”

One year entrepreneur

Actually, modeling is only one part of Sara's life: For a year now, she has been devoting herself to her own business, together with her sister, even though she has never studied business administration. Her goal: to support the country of origin of coffee with NuruCoffee and to work together with the people on site at ground level. The income from the coffee supports the sisters second company, the NuruWomen organization, which supports women with small credits. The sisters are shipping their own fair-trade coffee to Germany and Sara has swapped her fast-living model life for a classic nine-to-five job for her project NuruCoffee. "MY experience and my new role as a company director have allowed me to grow personally," she recalls after the first year.

Her own business is her baby

"I feel like a mother. NuruCoffee is my baby," says Sara. Besides the occupational fulfilment, however, private happiness is also very important to her: "In the end, it's the family and friends that count. Sooner or later, I want to turn a company green." Privately Sara is very happy and is living in Berlin with her boyfriend: "I would definitely like to have children, but growing my business is in the foreground.” Only in the case that her sister Sali, with whom she works closely together, is having a baby, she wants to start her own family.

"I didn't want to do the modeling job alone anymore."

In the meantime, the two women in their office in Berlin are employing one working student and two trainees - and they intend to grow further. The company came at a time when modeling no longer gave her the peace that it gave her at the beginning of her career. In the meantime, this has changed: "Meanwhile, I enjoy every shooting!"

Three tips for young female founders

Sara appreciates the variation between her office job and the exciting world of modelling. She advises young women to always be honest with themselves when they start a business: "It is important to realize that you cannot do everything. Knowing your strengths - and weaknesses - is essential," says the young entrepreneur. To seek help early for those things that one cannot do oneself is important and has nothing to do with weaknesses, in contrast: "One should look for mentors, because it is important to network and create relationships. I have an advisor and can only recommend it to everyone: "Talk about your idea, don't be afraid it will get stolen. After all, you never know who you will meet - it could be a future investor.