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Achieng Agutu Wants to Empower You to Live Boldly

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In a time brimming with influencers and digital content creators, there emerges a true powerhouse, an array of confidence, self-love, and fearlessness. Meet Achieng Agutu, a Kenyan-born model and digital content creator whose remarkable journey to empowerment has not only captured the hearts of her ever-growing social media audience but has also propelled her to the pinnacle of recognition in the fashion and beauty space. With a mission to shatter stereotypes and amplify inclusivity for Black plus-size women in the luxury fashion and beauty industries, Achieng Agutu has become a name synonymous with empowerment and positivity.

Agutu’s ascent to fame is nothing short of inspiring. Through her rapidly growing online presence, she has sparked a revolution in the way we perceive beauty, encouraging millions to embrace their authentic selves. Her daily affirmations, motivational messages, and commitment to authenticity have struck a chord with countless individuals seeking self-assurance in a world often plagued by self-doubt.

In recent times, Agutu’s star power has ascended even higher, earning her a well-deserved place in Create & Cultivate's prestigious Top 100 list. Additionally, her journey has taken an exciting turn as she steps into the spotlight as a finalist in the 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Swim Search—an achievement that cements her position as a trailblazer in the modeling world.

Ahead, we had the delight of speaking with Agutu about all things content creation, exuding confidence, and her evolving journey to etching a unique path within the luxury space. 

Studio portrait of Achieng Agutu featuring The Queen's Archives

Achieng Agutu's Empowering Journey

Born and raised in Kenya, Agutu’s early life was marked by the familiar struggles with self-confidence that many of us face. She moved to the U.S. at the age of 16 to pursue her college education, which filled her with excitement as it allowed her to escape a community and society that were stifling for women.  

Agutu enrolled in a public relations and Spanish program at Goshen College in Indiana and later pursued a double master's degree in international marketing and business analytics at Hult International Business School in Cambridge, MA.

Reflecting on her life before coming to the United States, she revealed that she had been hesitant to live authentically and express her true self due to a fear of negative backlash. Even something as simple as wearing her hair down felt like a radical act that women did not deserve. She admitted, "At the time, I felt like I was living to please my parents and my community, constantly trying to avoid others' opinions about me." 

However, with the support of her cousins and her host family in the U.S., Agutu’s determination to overcome these challenges propelled her on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.

Achieng Agutu lounging on a sofa in a sparkly cocktail dress and braided hair

In 2017, a sudden romantic heartbreak served as a catalyst for Agutu to refocus on her true identity and what she genuinely desired in life. She launched an online blog and explored hidden talents like modeling, while also nurturing her passion for travel. When the pandemic hit, her online presence gained significant traction, transforming what was once a hobby and a healthy coping mechanism into a full-time career as a content creator. With a following of over 800,000 individuals across her social media platforms, what distinguishes Agutu in the realm of social media is her authentic approach to promoting empowerment.

Through her posts and stories, she not only showcases beautifully curated fashion and beauty looks but also fosters an uplifting environment where self-doubt is replaced by self-assurance, and negativity is overshadowed by positivity through her daily affirmations. Agutu summarized her mission by saying, “I feel this sense of unapologetically being yourself and loving yourself, regardless of society’s expectations.”  

Reshaping the Luxury Fashion and Beauty Space

Notably, Agutu has been at the forefront of championing inclusivity for Black plus-size women in the fashion industry—a sector often criticized for its lack of diversity. Her journey towards breaking boundaries and shattering stereotypes began long before she became a sensation on social media. It was a journey fueled by determination, resilience, and a burning desire to see change in the world of fashion and beauty. 

At the beginning of this year, Agutu turned a dream into reality, marking a significant milestone in her career. She decided to step out of her comfort zone and embrace the "no fear" mantra she consistently preaches to her followers. Agutu boldly chose to participate in the highly competitive 2023 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Swim Search. Her journey through the competition has been nothing short of remarkable, leading her to the coveted position of a top seven finalist. 

Achieng Agutu in a gold dress with elaborate hairstyle.

For Agutu, this achievement was more than just personal validation; it was a symbol of progress in an industry that had often marginalized women who didn't fit the traditional mold. "It is so affirming for me, that my body, and my story, is worthy of being seen and celebrated, and respected," she reflects. Her journey sent a powerful message that beauty knows no size or color, and that self-confidence should transcend societal standards. 

The self-proclaimed confidence queen also recognizes that her triumph has the potential to inspire countless other women, not just in her native country of Kenya but around the world. "I've gone above and beyond because I feel like this win would just not be for me, but for so many other women," says Agutu. She is not only reshaping the luxury fashion and beauty space but also reshaping perceptions and opening doors for generations of women to come. Her continuous pursuit to live boldly and authentically serves as a source of empowerment for women everywhere who have ever felt overlooked or underestimated.

Studio headshot of Achieng Agutu with gray background

Her Confidence-Boosting Wisdom

Agutu isn't content with just being an inspiration from a distance; she generously shares her secrets to self-assurance, providing a roadmap for anyone seeking to cultivate unshakable confidence. Her invaluable tips, based on what we like to call the fake-it-’til-you-make-it principle, serve as guidance for those on their journey towards self-assuredness.

One of Agutu’s foremost pieces of advice is to visualize the most confident version of oneself. "Start by thinking of the highest version of yourself, and what that person would do, and taking daily steps towards becoming the best version of yourself," she advises. Visualizing yourself at your best is a powerful approach that not only builds confidence but also helps individuals to see challenges and setbacks not as stumbling blocks but as stepping stones to personal growth.

Another gem that Agutu believes is the key to boosting your confidence is to be hyper-aware of inner self-talk. She firmly believes that our inner dialogue shapes our perception of ourselves, so she encourages her followers to trade self-criticism for self-affirmation. Every day, she advocates for reminding oneself of their strengths and untapped potential, nurturing a mindset that breeds self-confidence.

Headshot of Achieng Agutu in a green top

When asked about her upcoming confidence tour, Agutu reveals that the event is still in the works, but she has grand plans to ensure it's a memorable and transformative experience for all attendees. Her dedication to making the event impactful mirrors her mission to empower others. "If it's something I'm giving out, I want it to be so good and tangible. I want people to walk out of there, feeling like they can touch the confidence, put it in their purse, and stride out of the space with unwavering self-assurance, thinking, 'I've got this,'" she passionately states.

Agutu's journey towards self-confidence and her mission to impart this wisdom to others has become a source of inspiration for countless individuals. Her journey serves as a testament to the power of self-belief, resilience, and the unwavering determination to rise above adversity. 

Inspired by Achieng Agutu’s story and want to learn about more talented trailblazers? Discover more Beauty Through The Black Lens stories here.

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About the author
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea Hall
Chelsea is an NYC-based fashion and beauty writer with over 7 years experience. She has held roles at publications such as Harper's Bazaar, WWD, InStyle, and Marie Claire. Her writing has also appeared on ELLE.com and POPSUGAR.com.
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Article Last Updated September 29, 2023 12:00 AM