Meet Baderha Bujiriri (she/her) — a model for Charcoal since Spring 2022. Baderha is currently a senior studying health sciences with a minor in speech language and hearing sciences.
“My favorite thing about being East African is that it has definitely impacted how I carry myself and live my life,”
Born in Nairobi, Kenya but now residing in Oxford, Massachusetts, Baderha comes from a multicultural Congolese-Rwandan background. “My favorite thing about being East African is that it has definitely impacted how I carry myself and live my life,” said Baderha. “People who are Congolese take up space. They’re bold, and that’s something that I love to embody.”
Describing her experience first joining Charcoal, Baderha would see Charcoal’s magazine issues when coming to the Howard Thurman Center. She felt captured by the imagery, but didn't have the confidence to join the organization. She became involved this spring as a model to challenge and put herself out of her comfort zone.
“It was something I thought I’d feel uncomfortable doing… But ever since the first shoot, I’ve just been comfortable with the creative directors [and] photographers. Everyone welcomed me with open arms.”
To Badhera, the best part about her position is the process of getting ready; she loves being able to connect with so many different people, such as the makeup artists, stylists, and photographers. The hardest part is embodying certain feelings and emotions during photoshoots, which she found difficult at first, but has since grown used to.
“Here you’re looking at me in the eye and seeing me.”
When she first found out that she’d be on the cover of our ninth issue, Ego Death, she was shocked. She feels honored, humbled, and proud to be showcased. “The way that they captured me is like you’re seeing me. I feel like sometimes I can put on a persona to protect myself and be reserved,” said Baderha. “Here you’re looking at me in the eye and seeing me.”
Outside of Charcoal, she is the events coordinator of the African Student Organization. She also conducts research with her professors at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and tutors for Upward Bound’s math, science, and intergenerational literacy programs.
In her free time, Baderha enjoys graphic design, cooking, and hanging out with friends. She expresses interest in film and photography, as well as directing and capturing imagery. She hopes to explore her creativity once she graduates and has more free time.
As a woman in STEM, finding the balance between her academic and creative lives is important for Baderha. She didn’t allow herself to explore her creative interests for most of her life until she took a digital art class her senior year of high school. College has taught her that she can do it all as long as she has her priorities straight.
The best part of Baderha’s college experience has been the growth she’s experienced. She was very reserved coming into college, and wishes that she challenged herself more. Since then, she has thrown herself into her passions of medicine, Charcoal, and other organizations that bring people together and give back to the community.
Currently, Baderha is in the process of applying for jobs and apartment hunting. She plans to dedicate time after graduating to working, pursuing photography, conducting research, and ruminating on her passions before pursuing a PhD or career in clinical psychology.
Make sure to come back and read more From Us in Charcoal.