Warimi Karogo – popularly known as @warimii – is a model and influencer, currently a Drama and Theatre student at the University of Essex. She has built a robust community online, and her signature brand is characterized by world-class, quality photoshoots, as well as regular fashion brand collaborations.

She has also become synonymous with body positivity conversations, given that her journey as a plus-size model has been inspiring countless women out there. Warimi is well-known in the Kenyan modelling industry, and her work has been celebrated widely. 

In our candid, in-depth interview with her, the aspiring actress opened up about her deepest passions, what drives her through life, her experiences in the modelling and influencer industries, and her future goals. 

The gorgeous creator comes across as witty, and self-aware and is big on being part of the solution to some of society’s most pressing issues, including sustainability and climate change.

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Warimi is a true next-generation leader and influencer, and her persona exudes hope, and passion for her craft and she’s always keen on uplifting others. Read on and enjoy the conversation!

Career Fodder: How would you describe your journey in modelling and influencing so far?

Warimi: My journey with modelling has been surprising. I did not think that I would be a model. Yes, I always wanted to be one…but being a plus-size, curvy, 5’2 black woman…you know, not being what is conventionally attractive made me feel that I was never going to be a model. Being a model and an influencer has been surprising but also rewarding and delightful. 

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It all started with me being insecure, around 2020, posting photos of myself trying to love my body…trying to find a community of women who shared the same insecurities and who also wanted to feel beautiful…put on bikinis…put on lingerie and be sexy. 

It’s been a surprising evolution because, from the first shoot I did, it’s just been elevating with different brand deals and modelling for different companies.

Often sometimes I still doubt myself, I struggle with impostor syndrome. When I go to shoots, I think, ‘Oh, what if I don’t pose well enough?’ ‘What if I don’t do this?’ ‘I’m not trained.’ 

CF: You’ve worked with several brands over the years. What are some of your most memorable projects to date and why?

W: My most memorable brand collab has to be Manners London, who I got to shoot with in April 2022. It was one of the first occasions where I had walked into a room where models were truly diverse in size – an accurate representation of plus-size women in different shapes and sizes.

It was my first commercial shoot in London, and I was excited to go for it. I loved the fact that I met incredible makeup artists like Vaneza Lopez Londono, who has worked with a lot of celebrities and models I look up to. 

It was also nice to get a package to take home with me. The shoot gave me a sense of community; even though I came in nervous, everyone was encouraging. 

One of the girls even gave me a pair of slippers that I still have to this day; they are usually a necessity during shoots. She had carried an extra pair in case someone forgot theirs.

I also loved the fact that Manners is a high-end, sustainable and ethical brand. I was worried moving to the UK would affect my career and was concerned about my audience’s loyalty towards me. However, things turned out great.

CF: How do you go about choosing projects and brands to work with?

W: It depends on the kind of project I am looking at. For example, if it’s a gifted collaboration, I don’t want to be given a product that I am not going to use. What would be the point of doing it anyway? I prefer doing more paid collaborations though. I am trying to get paid. 

I also consider if I like the brand in general. Have I used it before? Did I plan to use it? The other aspect is the tone in which they approach me. 

It tells me a lot about the company culture and values, the type of vibe that will be on set…and if I’ll be comfortable working with them. I am not going to go somewhere I feel undervalued.

The other thing I consider is how much they are willing to pay. This can go hand-in-hand with gifted collaborations, where a mixture of a PR package and payment can be arranged. Creators can settle for a lower fee if the value of products offered in the accompanying PR package makes up the difference. 

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In the recent past, I’ve been gravitating towards brands that have an ethical or sustainability pledge towards the environment. That way I know the products weren’t made in sweatshops, and even if my followers bought 10,000 of them, it’s ethically made, recyclable, and sustainable.

I also have to mention the photography collaborations that I do. I like to work with photographers whose work I admire, specifically their skin work. I am big on how I am presented and edited. I don’t want my skin colour to look lighter or smoother than it is. 

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I do not want a photographer photoshopping out a pimple or removing my cellulite, stretch marks and body hair. I am happy to have met some photographers who just got me like ABX Photography’s Nimo Wahome. 

I have built my brand with this authenticity and won’t change just because my following is growing. So, once I meet a photographer who understands my view, we usually collaborate.

For example, in early 2024 I worked with a photographer – Drew Harrison – whom I met at Pure London Fashion Show in Feb of 2022. I had the idea of showcasing the effects of colonization on not only our minds but the social structures in Kenya, including our government. The shoot took place at the V&A Museum, which is an institution that remains one of the symbols of the legacy of colonialism. 

Drew and I agreed on the concept, the outfit, poses and we did the shoot. It came out so well and communicated the vision accurately. 

CF: How would you describe your fashion style?

W: Oh…this is a hard question because I have been going through a fashion style rebirth. When I started my modelling journey way back at 18, I was rocking skimpy and slutty outfits. 

 I don’t think I’ll ever stop being skimpy because, if you got it, flaunt it.  Right now, I am trying to experiment and to be honest I have gotten some inspiration from friends that I met here. Shout out to Namataayi. 

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Upon reflection, there was a time I felt that anything that wasn’t bodycon would simply make me look bigger. I am letting go of that idea and gravitating towards choosing outfits that reflect my mood or theme of the day.

One of my favourite recent outfits that I wore to class was a blue maxi dress, layered with a black corset, and combat boots. 

I threw mesh sleeves on, and my Jayley blue trench coat. It was like nothing I had put together before, and it was a little mismatched and giving off a Gothic vibe. I loved that outfit. I felt so beautiful that day and I plan to eventually shoot with that outfit.

I am super interested in upping my accessories game; and finding a way to merge African jewellery with contemporary jewellery. This year I am interested in decolonising my closet if you will. 

CF: Since you’ve been studying in the UK, what have been your must-have travel essentials?

W: I don’t go back so often – I only travel; home in the summer. But I pack my entire closet – I’ll be so real! When I came back to the UK for the second time, I had to buy a new suitcase because I was like, ‘I am not leaving any clothes behind.’

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I remember my dad asking me if I needed all those clothes because some of them were summer outfits and I was returning the anyway. I turned to him and said, ‘Dad, I’m a model. Would you go to your meeting without your laptop?’

It’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them, especially when you are trying to create content.

Oh, another thing – chapos! My mom – bless her – my mom will make me chapos, freeze them, and then wrap them in foil …make sure they are frozen for DAYS before I travel so that they stay frozen during my travels. 

She makes them for me so that your girl can have chapos in the UK because your girl cannot make chapos. I know it’s absurd to think about! 

I also pack Kenyan coffee – specifically Revolutionary Coffee. It is the best coffee in Kenya, the only one that I can drink. I am not a huge coffee drinker, but when I have a craving, it has to be the Mama Africa blend.

I always make sure that I carry a sweater from my dad; this is a bit sentimental for me. 

There’s this specific sweater – the zip doesn’t even work – that I have, and my dad has let me wear it since I was six years old.

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I’d come home and I’d ask, ‘Dad, can I wear your sweater?’ It’s always been our thing; we share it, I guess? Before I went to university, my dad said I could take it. I thought that was very sweet.

When I go back to Kenya for summer, I make sure that my dad wears the sweater the week before I travel so that it absorbs his scent. I am a huge daddy’s girl; he is truly my best friend. 

There’s a little Simba teddy bear that I always have in my carry-on bag. I got it from a random guy at a party. I think I needed it at the time; we were talking about life, self-discovery, and choosing self-love…and it just clicked.

The little teddy bear of Simba is what I now call my self-love teddy bear. 

CF: What’s your vision for your brand over the next couple of years?

W: That would be to try to incorporate my studies more into my craft. Although my dream as a kid was to be a model, my lifelong dream has always been to be an actress. Recently, that has developed further, and I’d love to also become a director and a writer.

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I’d love my Instagram content to go in that direction, creating fashion content but incorporating storytelling. I am a storyteller.

I’d love to highlight how I got into this influencer space, the journey of someone trying to find themselves, and seeking to find the beauty within their plus-size body in a world that keeps telling them they’re not beautiful.


I want to create short films, and venture into cinematic storytelling, even if it’s just a simple outfit video. Temina is so phenomenal at doing that; she’ll be doing a Vaseline advert but it’s still Temina. It still has the core message that she wants to bring to the forefront of her platform.

The ads she does with most companies reflect who she is as a person, highlighting who and what means the most to her. She is a huge inspiration for my evolution. 

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I’d also love to segue into skincare content, as I have been championing body positivity and building my brand for the past four years. I want to be more vulnerable with my audience and embrace a more natural facial routine.

I was insecure for a long time, hiding behind makeup. Makeup in itself isn’t bad, it’s a form of self-expression. But since I preach body positivity, I’d love to embrace my natural self wholly. I have gained a lot of confidence while rocking lingerie and bikinis, but I am not as comfortable with my natural face. It’s something that I am trying to change.

CF:  Nothing worth doing is easy; I’m curious to know the challenges you’ve faced in your journey and how you overcame them.

W: One of the biggest things I’ve had to overcome is judgment. As a plus-size model, rocking lingerie and tiny bikinis, you tend to be hyper-sexualized. I have had to explain to my family members why I do what I do, and why I do it in that way. Over time, they have come to understand.

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I was also getting typecast for specific shoots and campaigns. I chose to slow down on that type of content. The other challenge I faced was being rejected by the plus-size community after I lost weight having moved to the UK. In Kenya, there are boda bodas, but in the UK I tend to walk a lot.

My eating habits also changed. I felt that members of the wonderful community that I had built, who got inspiration from me felt betrayed by me. Not all of them, but a few reached out to express their disappointment. 

It was something totally beyond my control, despite me still sharing the same message in my content…the only difference being that my frame got smaller.

The other challenge is as I do not have a manager, I am learning to do a lot of the business stuff on my own. I have to negotiate deals and make sure that I am not underselling myself.

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I have had dips in engagement on my socials, especially when I am in the UK. It makes you doubt yourself, questioning if your content is good enough. However, I have strived to be consistent; as a creator, you have to put yourself out there even if not many are watching.

Regarding shooting content, my biggest challenge is the UK is cold. I prefer shooting content in bulk when in Kenya and then distributing it over the time that I am in the UK. Those are the biggest challenges I’ve faced so far, but they are also the things that make the work rewarding.

CF: Finally, have a highly engaged audience that avidly supports you. What’s the key hack to creating such a community?

W: The key is authenticity. I know that sounds irritating because it’s like, ‘What does that mean?’ But it’s the truth. When you genuinely post what you would want to see on your explore page, people who are like you will support you.

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In my case, my core audience of women whom I started with related to my fashion therapy content, body positivity messaging, and my championing for self-love. I told them to express themselves boldly, and showcase their artistic vision, and with that, I built an actively engaged community.

Enjoy more photos from Warimi’s collaborations with photographers: