At only 18 years old, Trinidadian Naomi Chin Wing has seen and accomplished way more than most of her other counterparts. In fact, Naomi has walked herself into some of the hottest designers’ fashion shows all over the world, but don’t think that she’ll forget where she’s from.
While we know that Trinidad and Tobago is home to the most beautiful women, Christopher Nathan – the head of Coco Velvet International, a Trinidad-based modelling agency and workshop – thinks the world is beginning to catch on. Naomi is the 10th international signing for Coco Velvet, but she’s arguably one of the largest.
After winning Top Model Trinidad and Tobago in August 2015, one of the judges quickly signed her to Elite Latin & South America, which was only the beginning of Naomi’s career. Only months later, she was offered a global contract with IMG Model Management, and is now represented by all six IMG offices in Milan, Paris, London, New York, Sydney and Los Angeles.
But it wasn’t until Paris Fashion Week in September 2017 that you’d see Naomi’s debut – and what a debut it was – on the Saint Laurent runway. Since then, she’s walked in some of the fashion industry’s most prestigious shows: Rochas Paris, Altuzarra, Giambattista Valli, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Maison Valentino and so many more.
In fact, Naomi’s debut on the Saint Laurent runway prompted a Vogue fashion writer to introduce her to their online readers – Saint Laurent introduces the world to Trinidad’s next top model – a foreshadowing of her future in editorial work. She’d go on to shoot a beauty editorial in Paris for Harper’s Bazaar India’s December 2017 issue, a jewelry editorial in London for British Vogue’s January and February 2018 issues, and the magazine cover for Germany’s Material Magazine’s Spring/Summer 2018.
Based in London now, the model has come a long way from her days at home. But there’s good reason for Naomi’s success: and her striking looks only have so much to do with it.
Standing at 5 feet 11 inches, Naomi’s a natural model, but her unique and exotic look – an ethnic blend of her African, Chinese and East Indian heritage – makes her stand out even more among the other models. But her looks have nothing in comparison to her work ethic.
While modelling seems glamorous and fun, it’s actually exhausting. During fashion week, she ca go to up to ten castings a day – all in between walking in actual fashion shows. The industry is incredibly fast paced, but it’s also more organized. In the fashion world, time is money – and so Naomi doesn’t take a second for granted.
“International modelling is exhausting work for the few who make it to the top,” added Nathan, who continues to represent her through Coco Velvet.
The top. It’s clear as day that Naomi has already made it to the top of the modelling industry – but she doesn’t consider it the top of her personal journey, and she doesn’t believe she’s done growing.
“I still have a lot to learn,” she mentioned. “I always want to be better. I’m going to do a lot better next season.”
Being signed to so many different territories means that Naomi can need to be just about anywhere at the drop of a hat – and that sometimes means sacrificing family commitments or time with friends, and Naomi has taken all of that on with grace. In fact, the day I met with Naomi, she flew out for a Dior show in Shanghai, and returned home a week later to spend a weekend with family.
But for Naomi, the hustle and grind is worth it, because she knows that modelling is an avenue to providing a better life for her family.
“I want to make my life better than how it is in Trinidad,” Naomi explained. “We didn’t come from much – so to make my family’s life better right now is my ultimate goal.”
But still, this isn’t just a job for her, a way to pay the bills. For Naomi, she’s genuinely happiest when she’s walking on a runway – though you won’t see her smile on the catwalk. But talking to her now, the light beams in her eyes as she recounts stories (and outfits!) from each show. The fashion lover in me is both in awe and a little jealous, but the Trini in me couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s still hard to believe it right now,” Naomi said, of making her way to the top shows. “Everything escalated so quickly, so it still feels unreal.”
And it is unreal. In only six months, Naomi went from an industry newcomer, to somewhat of a veteran for fashion all over the world.
She’s modelled in fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris, Milan and Shanghai.
She’s walked alongside top industry names like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Joan Smalls.
She’s worn some of the most beautiful clothing in couture.
She even closed Carolina Herrera’s New York Fashion Week showcase in February, which is one of the highest honours as a runway model.
But Naomi continues to grow and get better, with each walk, each casting, each show. She refuses to settle for where she is now. She has lives to change and goals to accomplish. And she won’t stop for anything until she gets there.