Video by Mikael Jansson.

Anok Yai is one those young women for whom “walk the walk” applies. Born in Egypt and raised in New Hampshire, her life took an unexpected turn in 2017, and she went with it. During Howard University’s big homecoming weekend party, photographer Steven Hall posted a photo of Yai to Instagram. The likes racked up faster than steps on our Gigi Smartwatch. At the time, Yai — who had been visiting a friend at Howard — was a biochemistry student with a love of STEM-related subjects at Plymouth State University.

One viral social post and four months later, the undergraduate was opening for Prada. First exit for Mrs. Prada, who we bet can hold her own in any STEM conversation, given how she approaches tailoring and construction. Now modeling full-time, Yai still has her eye trained on what happens next, especially breaking down stereotypes around STEM being traditionally boys subjects. It’s one of the many reasons she stars in our Spring/Summer 2020 Walk the Walk campaign.

On set in Palermo, we talked to Yai about living with purpose.

I walk the walk by…

fearlessly chasing after my goals. Just the feeling of accomplishment is what drives me.

My parents inspire me to do that…

Because they escaped genocide and went to an entirely new country with nothing. They were able to build a better life for my siblings and me. That’s what drives me.

When I’m not modeling I’m….

taking acting, ballet, and boxing classes.

My superpower would be…

To absorb everybody else’s superpower, since I’m around so many talented people.

My mantra is…

Wake up, kick ass, and be kind.

We at Tory Daily are inspired by smart, passionate women who #EmbraceAmbition and find ways to make their communities stronger. For information on the Tory Burch Foundation, which empowers women entrepreneurs to #EmbraceAmbition, click here.

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