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Keny Salgado: The Colombian Engineering Student Who Lit Up Paris Fashion Week


Discover the Inspiring story of Keny Salgado, a Colombian Engineer turned international model on Paris Fashion Week.
Discover the Inspiring story of Keny Salgado, a Colombian Engineer turned international model on Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Canadian Affairs CC0 1.0 DEED.

The inspiring story of Keny Salgado has been nothing short of extraordinary. She started out as an Electronics Engineering student, but destiny had other plans for her. Today, she graces the world’s most prestigious runways, leaving an indelible mark. Let’s delve into her remarkable story.

A Life-Changing Call

When Keny received the call that would change the course of her life, she was at her parents’ house in Maicao, La Guajira. That day, her modeling agency, Gucaya Model, informed her that she needed to travel to France as soon as possible because top fashion brands wanted her for Paris Fashion Week.

Adapting to a New World

It’s almost 10:00 PM in Europe as Keny Salgado turns on her camera for a video call. She’s in an apartment in the French capital, which she currently shares with a group of models from various parts of the world. Over the past three weeks, the inspiring story of Keny Salgado has been both thrilling and challenging. She has had to adapt to a new city, ride the metro, try different foods, and grapple with a new language, as she doesn’t speak French, and even her English comprehension is limited.

Paris Runway Debut

For Paris Fashion Week, she attended over 15 castings and made it through two. On September 26th, she walked the runway for the prestigious brand Saint Laurent against the backdrop of the illuminated Eiffel Tower. It was the Spring-Summer 2024 collection by designer Anthony Vaccarello, the same designer who was captivated when he saw the Colombian model during rehearsals. He was so impressed that he chose her to close the show, marking her debut as an international model.

Elegance on Display

That night, she wore an all-black ensemble: a short-sleeved silk blouse and trousers, leather gloves, and pointed-toe shoes. Her hair was tied up, and she had red lips, oversized sunglasses, and giant gold earrings. She walked with grace and elegance.

Walking with Supermodels

Her next appearance was for the Schiaparelli fashion house two days later. She wore a white striped suit with three-dimensional elements inspired by the worktable of Elsa Schiaparelli, the brand’s founder. She walked alongside supermodel Shalom Harlow and Kendall Jenner, one of the Kardashians, who closed the show.

A Journey from La Guajira to Paris

Keny was born 21 years ago in La Guajira, but she has been living in Barranquilla with her older sister since she was 17. She is about to graduate as an Electronics Engineer from the University of the Coast. She continues to stay in Paris, working on campaigns for different brands. Her current routine involves photo shoots, three or four castings a day, and interviews. She has even learned to navigate the metro, thanks to a fellow model from China who explained the routes to her.

The Road to Success

Behind everything that has happened to her in Paris in recent weeks, which seems like something straight out of a fairy tale, there’s a moment Keny likes to remember. To sign with the agency that now represents her in France, Next Models, the same agency that paved the way for her to reach these prestigious runways, she was asked to submit a video of herself walking the runway. Since she was in Maicao at the time, she didn’t have the high heels for the recording, so a neighbor lent some to her.

Fulfilling a Dream

And that’s not all. She had to walk at least 15 steps, but since her parents’ house was very small, another neighbor offered her their backyard as a stage. The next day, she received the call confirming her trip to France, where she fulfilled her dream of becoming an international model.

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