My name is Kelyne Noel Kenmogne, but I go by Kelyne Noel.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am a microbiologist, a model, and a pageant queen. Basically, I’m a public figure with a science degree. I am originally from Cameroun, Africa but I was raised in Phoenix, AZ. I recently moved to Boston, MA to pursue the public figure part of my life further.
When did you start doing this (art/music/production/design, etc.)?
I started modeling and getting into the fashion and entertainment industries about 3 years ago almost to the date. I had broken my arm over the summer of 2015, so when it healed, I wanted to pursue something I always thought was impossible. That’s when I decided I would be the person to defy limitations, expectations, and stereotypes, especially in the fashion world.
How was the reaction and feedback from those around you (family/friends)?
I initially didn’t tell my family, and I only told a couple of my friends. The ones I did tell were super supportive. My roommate/best friend at the time even let me use her car to get to and from shoots when I first started. My closest friends did everything they could to connect me with the right people.
What inspires your art?
My culture is my biggest inspiration. I don’t want to impose it on anyone, but I’m very loud and proud about who I am and where I’m from. That pride is what drives me to shoot the concepts I shoot, and to pursue the platforms I do as a pageant queen, and even what drove me to become a microbiologist. I am motivated to connect with as many Africans as possible that are doing great things for the culture, especially millennials because this is the time for us to make our marks on history. My goal is to convince as many Africans of the diaspora to return home and use their skills they’ve gained to help their communities, making a difference in the lives of many, and securing their place in the history of their homes.
What is your favorite piece and why?
My favorite piece is my most recent work actually. It shows so much growth in my craft, but it also tells a story. I am a strong believer of #Africatotheworld. African influences can be found EVERYWHERE, and we are the roots of civilization. I believe Africans are the protectors of the earth, and I was able to portray that in different ways with this latest shoot.
Who would you like to work with/who inspires you/which artist do you admire?
I like to work with people who have VISION! People who are walking the walk and talking the talk inspire me. There are a number of people I could list, but mostly, people like DJ YB, Nestreya, and Davina Bennett inspire me. People I want to work with include @Jesuis.nyc, @LaviebyCK, @misscameroon, and other millennial influencers in the fashion and entertainment industry.
My plan for the future is to keep doing what I’m doing. I am the co-owner of Afro-Inspired Events, the purpose of which is to curate authentic African events in order to educate the community on all things derived from and inspired by African culture. I also aim to use these events to connect me with people who are doing something similar to what I’m doing. I want to start a movement of Africans going back home to actually use the skills their family sent them away to attain. I want to rewrite the narrative.
What advice do you have for anybody out there who wants to be an artist like you?
The best advice I can possibly give anyone is: give 100% to everything that makes you happy. That’s where you’ll find your passion as well as your purpose. Also, collaboration breeds success. Basically, 2+ brains are better than one as long as everyone is on the same page.