Kree Murad: ‘I Had to Be Confident in My Entire Being’
Kree Murad is immortalized in Edward Enninful’s iPhone. The British Vogue editor snapped a picture of the budding model’s look at Gareth Wrighton, Ibrahim Kamara, and Kristin-Lee Moolman’s collaborative presentation last month. As Kree’s older cousin, there is certain joy I have seeing him grow from a baby in Brick City (aka Newark, NJ) to a New York Fashion Week neophyte. The 23-year-old tells me his journey to Red Hook Labs, where the show took place, involved a random casting call posted to Instagram by the rapper Ms. Boogie, some note-taking from a childhood watching America’s Next Top Model, and, of course, self-love. “I believe you have to really know yourself, in a way, for you to allow other people to judge you based on your look,” Kree says. Here, he talks to Other Suns about what it’s like to model at NYFW for the first time ever.
Amirah Mercer: First of all, I’m so proud of you! I was really surprised, though, because I didn’t realize that you wanted to be a model.
Kree Murad: I never had the confidence [before] to really pursue it. I believe you have to really know yourself, in a way, for you to allow other people to judge you based on your look. So I had to really make sure I was pretty confident in my entire being before I said, ‘Okay, I’m about to hop into this and go on castings and stuff.’
Amirah: So what gave you the confidence?
Kree: Just being able to work on myself—physically, mentally, spiritually—throughout the entire summer.
Amirah: You’re also a photographer and a poet—a creative multi-hyphenate. Is one of your end goals to be a supermodel?
Kree: I always wanted to experience being in that mode of [being] backstage, [where] you have to get changed really quickly or, like, you have to go on go-sees or whatnot. I wanted to at least dabble in every part of the fashion industry to see if I liked it or not. I’m fine with even being backstage helping people get dressed. But being the person onstage that is being taken care of, it’s a different experience. I don’t know—at this moment in life, I’m just willing to push myself to every possible degree that I can.
Amirah: You mentioned ‘go-sees’…was America’s Next Top Model what made you want to model?
Kree: [Laughs] It really was! That was my favorite part of ANTM, where you had to go on the go-sees and they see your personality, they see who you are, they’re looking and everything, and they’re like, ‘Hmm, walk for me.’ And then you do it, and they’re like, ‘Oh, I love it,’ or, ‘Oh, I hate it.’ It’s nerve-racking, but at the same time it’s like, okay, you know that you are able to further someone else’s creation just with your own being. I think that’s the part I like. I’m all for helping everybody to get exposure.
Amirah: Tell me about your first show this season.
Kree: It was an art exhibit fashion show. The photographer, Kristin-Lee Moolman, took photos of Gareth Wrighton’s garments [which were] along the walls. We did one lap around, and then we stood on our own podiums for, like, 20 to 30 minutes.
Amirah: What were you thinking standing there with everyone looking at you?
Kree: I was nervous, but the fact that I had a mask on lessened my nerves. I was able to really soak in the experience. The initial spark I felt when I was younger ignited and it grew. To be in the scene and be in front of people, modeling kind of grew in me in that moment. I was like, ‘Yeah, I know that this is something I want to pursue and not just half-ass do it.’
Amirah: Who was there?
Kree: The editor in chief for British Vogue [Edward Enninful] was there, and that was something that kind of threw me off guard. I did not know he was going to show up. My friends were standing right next to him, and I was trying to hint to them that he was there and they were just, like, so oblivious, but I was just loving it. I was like, ‘Whoa.’ He actually took a picture of me. But, of course, I had a mask on and he doesn’t know who I am! So it just makes me want to go harder next Fashion Week to actually book gigs where I’m able to showcase my look, because at the end of the day, everyone has their individual look and everyone’s unique. I want to be able to showcase the look that I present.
Amirah: Okay, I want you to speak it into existence: Who’s a designer you’d want to walk for next season?
Kree: This might be an unpopular opinion, but honestly, I like how Kanye West runs his fashion shows. What he did a couple seasons ago was like a concert. I would have loved to been a part of that, just standing there and witnessing so many people vibing off of everything.
Amirah: I don’t think they would’ve been able to see your face.
Kree: They wouldn’t, but then my face would be shown because photos are being taken and videos and stuff like that, so I would be able to be visible but just, like, after the fact.
Amirah: True. Anyone else?
Kree: I also really like, oh my gosh, Gypsy Sport. I need to walk for them. I have to walk for them. They’re just the epitome of, like, what it is to be of this generation and the generation to come after. They’re just so different in my eyes. And just the concepts they have for their shows are beautiful. It’s such a deeper meaning than just clothes and it ties [into] who they actually cast—the physical representation they’re trying to convey to the larger demographic of people that are watching. So I feel like it would really have to be Gypsy. It really has to be Gypsy, for like the top [choice]. I need to do it. Nah, fuck that, I’m going to do it. Let’s speak it into existence: I’m going to do it.