|Date of birth||March 1, 1984 |
|Place of birth||Detroit,
|Height||5 ft 9.5 in (1.77 m)|
|Measurements||33-24-34 (US); 84-61-86 (EU)|
|Dress size||2 (US); 32 (EU)|
|Shoe size||9 (US); 40 (EU)|
|Agency||301 Models, Basic Model Management, Ford Models|
Naima Mora was born on March 1, 1984 in Detroit, Michigan, the daughter of Mexican jazz percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett. Her paternal grandparents are painter Francisco Mora and sculptress, painter and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett. She is the inspiration for her grandmother's 2001 black marble bust entitled Naima. Catlett described it as:
|“||That black marble head, Naima: we have twin granddaughters who came to stay with us one summer, they were studying Spanish. I kept looking at one of them, who has a very dynamic personality. I thought I would like to do a head of her. And then it was the shape of her hair with a knot at the back. It was a whole different shape. She posed for me a little bit, to get the general shape of it. She has a little bump in her nose that I wanted to put in.||”|
— Elizabeth Catlett, April 3, Vol 22 #3,Sculpture Magazine
Her father is Mexican and African-American, while her mother is Irish and African-American. She was named after the John Coltrane song Naima. Naima has 5 sisters, including her identical twin, Nia, who is a photographer. Her older sister, Ife Mora, (born 1977) is a vocalist in the trip-hop/experimental rock group livemas.
Mora grew up near West McNichols and Schaefer on Detroit's northwest side and attended Bates Academy for middle school. Naima graduated from Cass Technical High School in Detroit in 2002. A serious student of ballet, Naima attended Detroit's Ballet Renaissance and was enrolled in American Ballet Theatre's Detroit summer programme.
She also worked as a coffee shop waitress before moving from Detroit to New York to attend the school of Dance Theatre of Harlem. Naima decided to audition for America’s Next Top Model at the behest of a scout that visited her at her job.
With her mohawk and introverted personality, Naima was originally thought to be a long-shot to walk away with the title of America’s Next Top Model. Though her earlier photographs were not as strong as runner-up Kahlen Rondot, the judges were swayed by Naima's final performance on the catwalk. Tyra, in particular, felt that Kahlen was "the girl who did excellent during the semester and kind of failed the final exam," while Naima was "the girl who did fair during the semester but killed her final exam." Her win consisted of a fashion spread in Elle, a contract with Ford Models and a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl cosmetics. She holds the record of being the first and only Top Model contestant to be voted Covergirl of the Week from the start to the finish of the cycle. It was also revealed in a Top Model challenge, that Naima is a vegetarian. She was recently voted as one of the most memorable contestants by AOL.
|“||I was forced to look inside Naima and see what it is that makes me me, that makes me beautiful. And -- I found it. Part of the reason I felt I had to win this was because I represent something more than myself. I represent a black girl, I represent a Mexican girl. I'm part Irish. I'm everything. - Naima Mora||”|
Naima and Cycle 3's Ann Markley were Trophy Girls at the 2005 Primetime Emmy Awards. Mora also served as a judge at the Miss Teen USA Pageant in 2005. Naima was a guest host at the Ramapo College Enerve Couture Fashion Show in Spring 2006.
Naima has done print modelling for CoverGirl, ELLE Magazine, Fuego Magazine, US Weekly Magazine, Radaar Magazine, IN Touch Magazine, Star Magazine, Teen People Magazine, Split Clothing, amd Jazz Album Samsung. Naima's runway shows include Christopher Deane Spring 2006 Collection, Gharani Strok Fall 2005, Carlos Miele Fashion Show, Walmart and ELLEgirl Presents Dare To Be You Spring 2006, Fashion Comedy Style 2005 (Charity Event), and New York Fashion Week 2007. She has modelled with her sisters twice: with her sister, Ife, for iTunes and with her twin, Nia, for Cycle 2's Camille McDonald's lingerie line, Lingerwear.
In 2006, she wrapped up filming on an independent film called Sarbanes-Oxley and made an appearance in a music video for TV on the Radio’s “Wolf Like Me.”
In 2007, she was on the cover of U&U magazine and Uzuri magazine and was photographed by Romer Pedrome and Derek Blanks.
In 2008, she had a cover and editorial in Vicious magazine. Signed with 301 Model Management in Miami and Basic Model Management in New York City. She got a showcard for Fashion Week SS09 and walked in the Project Runway Finale for designer Joe Farris.
Naima is the vocalist for the unsigned band "Chewing Pics". Their EP, "Tarantula" was released on March 10, 2008.
America's Next Top Model
Cycle 4 (2005)