Sabah Koj is a Melbourne-born model who splits her time between London and New York City. We met her early on in her career on a rainy day at Bondi Beach and since then she has worked with some of the biggest fashion brands around—Giorgio Armani & Balmain to mention a few. Growing up, she was taught to be disciplined, open-minded and accepting of people as they are. Those lessons, along with her culture’s emphasis on respecting elders, has helped to shape the person she is today.
The best piece of advice she’s received is to stay true to herself and her roots.
“It’s easy to get lost in this fast-paced industry—you can get sucked in and forget about your roots and who you actually were before modelling,” she explains.
If you were visiting Melbourne—the place she still considers home because that’s where her loved ones live—she would take you to the CBD to experience the different cuisines, and to see the artworks and famous graffiti walls that the city is renown for.
COVID-19 has given her a heightened awareness and appreciation of the importance of time and how we choose to spend it. She believes that we can best make use of our time on Earth by “taking life one day at a time, enjoying the journey as you go and, most importantly, living in the future, because while the future can be daunting, you can never get time back.”
Sabah’s start in modelling happened when she was scouted at the beauty pageant, Miss South Sudan, where she was offered contracts from multiple agencies. Her career kicked off soon after signing. For her, the most rewarding aspect of modelling is travelling around the world, experiencing an assortment of different cultures, cuisines and languages. The most challenging part is the physical and emotional exhaustion that comes after a long season.
A spiritual person, she feels in tune with herself and her surroundings, and believes that everything happens for a reason. “What’s meant to be will be,” she explains.
Her idea of happiness is always feeling grateful and being at peace with herself and her life. The little things and efforts make her truly happy. If she gave up social media for a week, she believes she’d have more time for herself to reflect, appreciate even more than she does now, and to do the things she misses out on scrolling on her phone. “I know this is cliché, but I’d actually stop to smell the roses, really take a deep breath in and appreciate life,” she says.
The first thing she does when waking up in the morning is listen to music and stretch, and if she could only eat one meal for the rest of her life, it’d be the Sudanese dish, Combo, which is her absolute favourite. She’s currently reading The Alchemist by Paulo Cohello, listening to ‘Electric’ by Wiz Kid, and loving on all of the Fast and Furious movies. If Sabah could give her 16-year-old self advice, she’d tell them, “Keep striving and always stay disciplined and positive.”
The last thing that truly changed her mind was reading the quote, “Don’t stress yourself out with things you can’t control or change”, which gave her a rush of clarity, and further strengthened her optimistic worldview. In the next 10 years, she hopes that people from all backgrounds can be celebrated for their talents and not be viewed through the lens of where they come from first.
Sabah is represented by Vivien's