In April last year, an image of an unknown model on Instagram set off an online global hunt for her identity. With her long limbs and flawless dark skin, she immediately attracted followers. Who was this mysterious beauty who called herself Shudu?
Fatou Suri spotted the model on Instagram, followed her and messaged her directly. Shudu responded by following her back; she seemed friendly and approachable. “I’m always looking for inspirational people to follow,” says Fatou, a London-based model who goes by the handle @theafrounicorn. “It was inspiring to see a darker-skinned model celebrated in such a way. She represented someone stunningly beautiful, perfect in body and soul.”
Earlier this year, Fenty Beauty – the make-up brand owned by superstar Rihanna – posted an image of Shudu wearing its striking orange shade of lipstick SAWC – and it went viral. By April, Shudu had notched up almost 90,000 Instagram followers.