Meet Achieng Agutu. HOLR chats with the curve model and “confidence queen” on what it’s like to be included in the Create & Cultivate Top 100 list, and more!
Today, HOLR is sitting down to chat with Achieng Agutu, the Kenyan-born “confidence queen”, model, and digital content creator who is breaking barriers in the industry. Her content focuses on encouraging motivation, daily affirmations, self-love, and fearlessness, which makes her one to watch!
During our conversation, we touch on everything from how Achieng got her start in the industry to her greatest accomplishments to date. Keep reading to learn more about Achieng and how she became a confidence queen!
Talk to us about how you got started in the industry as a model and digital content creator. What inspired you?
So, actually, it started a little traumatically. I got out of a relationship in 2017 and was feeling really broken, and not myself. In this relationship, I didn’t know who I was so I got to a point where I thought, “I need to do something to get back to my energy and the queen that I know that I am.” I thought I could just start posting my affinity for life and the things that I love to do, the clothes I love to wear, and the food I love to eat, in the hopes of connecting with a wider community. In 2017 I started my blog and I was blogging every week about the things that I love.
Then the pandemic came and I was looking for a broader community so I started posting about my self-love and self-confidence journey and my experience with therapy. It ultimately reached a broader audience of people who connected with it. That’s when I started focusing on it- I realized that people wanted to feel something. That’s when I started posting what I post now and sharing my life with people.
What can people expect when visiting your social media channels in terms of content?
I like to call my parts of the internet like the sexy, tantalizing parts of the internet because you come and there’s a little dancing, a little prosecco, energy, there’s crying if you want a good cry sesh. There’s just an opportunity to find something beyond your everyday social media interaction. I’m not just doing this for my audience- I’m doing this for me.
I didn’t see people presenting themselves online like this, or who looked like me and talk like me. I was born and raised in Kenya and moved here when I was 16 so I didn’t see people who had that same experience. It’s a lot of fun, motivation, good pep talks, a lot of dancing, and good energy because that’s what I feel and I hope people feel that way too! It’s a soirée!
You were included in the Create & Cultivate Top 100 list in the creator’s category and will be seen as a Top 12 finalist in the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Swim Search. Talk to us about these incredible accomplishments!
I actually just made it to the Top 7! To start off with Create & Cultivate, I think that’s huge for me. I don’t want to get emotional but it’s really affirming for me, that my story matters. It doesn’t resonate just with my community but beyond that. Being recognized in that capacity is huge. It was affirming to my parents too because they saw that I am really living my life and living my truth.
When it comes to Sports Illustrated that’s huge! It’s something I’ve had on my vision board since I moved to the US. That was one of the first magazines I saw in the United States. When Ashley Graham was on it I was like, “Oh my God that woman has the same body as me.” the fact that now, bodies like mine- a curvy, bald, Black woman- is being seen as “you are worthy of being celebrated.” My story is worthy of being celebrated, beyond my digital platform. It’s just exciting- not just for me but for other women, too! It’s so reaffirming and so beautiful. For me, it’s just delicious! It’s powerful- I love it and I’m so excited that I’m even a part of it.
How do you plan on showcasing the inclusivity of Black, plus-size women in the luxury fashion and beauty industries through your work?
I think I’m already doing that. Something I found hard, in the beginning, was just feeling like I wasn’t invited. I felt out of place when it comes to plus-size women in luxury and fashion in general. It just got to the point where I was tired of waiting for an invite and tired of waiting for someone to affirm me and tell me I can be in this space. I was like, “Girl, I’m creating my own narrative!” I’m going to wear what I want regardless of the brand and be that girl in that space. I’m creating my platform and letting women know that they don’t have to wait to be invited into those spaces, and that’s it. I can’t wait for Dior to make a size 16 for me to fit into it- I’m going to wear what I want and make it luxurious in my own way Luxury is what you make it and it doesn’t have to be this fancy brand. You buy it and you make it luxurious. For me in terms of size and inclusivity, it’s just letting women know that there are brands out there that have your size and there are pieces that will make you feel like the sexiest person to ever walk this land!
As a “confidence queen” what are some of your top tips for feeling more self-confident?
I didn’t just wake up and say, “I’m confident today.” It’s a journey and I think you also have to deal with your own biases of yourself. I was comparing myself to other people but it’s about accepting where you are. I don’t look like Kendall Jenner and that’s fine because our bodies are different and that’s it. It starts with self-acceptance and this is where I am in my life with my body and it’s fine. Going from there, and being like “This is who I am” so what does confidence and loving myself look like for me? I was faking it to make it- I had like an alter ego who would always tap in when I felt like I didn’t belong there or didn’t feel confident. It was like Achieng couldn’t do this right now but this higher version of me could. This really helped me. It is about accepting yourself, and realizing that there is a higher version of yourself than you are now. I’m in this place in my life where I have one life and I want to live it to the best of my ability. I don’t want to have any regrets- do it now. At the end of the day, no one cares.
What’s next for you?
I’m excited about everything! I just launched a podcast a few weeks ago called The Queen’s Archives which I’m super pumped about. It’s fabulous, episodes are every Friday and we sit and talk with the most amazing people about life, love, happiness, success, mental health, sex- everything! I’m excited about that and to see how this manifests itself in other spaces. Now, with SI Swim, that has so many opportunities coming up for me so keep your eyes peeled for some fun stuff! I’m just trying to take over the world and infiltrate any space I can be in. I think I can leave it as just prepare for a No Ordinary Noire extravaganza!