Instagram star Kenza Boutrif on her fascinating childhood and life as a Londoner

 (photo credit: KENZA BOUTRIF)
(photo credit: KENZA BOUTRIF)

London has a long and proud history of diversity and cultural dynamism. People fall in love with the magic and charm of the UK’s capital city every day. Its very fabric buzzes with possibility and opportunity, and the city has something of a tradition of adopting newcomers, taking them under its protective wing, and helping them realize their likelihood and potential - just ask Instagram star Kenza Boutrif. 

“I fell in love with London pretty much overnight when I moved here as a young girl from Belgium,” explains Boutrif. “You either get London or you don’t, but if you get it, it’s almost as if the city becomes a part of you. It’s in the way you walk, talk, and hold yourself. Londoners as a rule are very confident people and that comes from the positivity and pride the city generates. You don’t have to be from London to be a Londoner. The city is a gigantic melting pot for people and cultures from all over. It is very welcoming and inclusive, and I think that’s the reason its inhabitants are fiercely protective of its reputation and wear the ‘Made in London’ badge with pride.”

If this half-Algerian, half-Congolese 19-year-old model considers herself anything, it is ‘Made in London.’ After moving to Tottenham when she was six-years-old, she soon grew to identify and love everything about North London and the city as a whole.

Boutrif explained, “Obviously North London is where my family and friends are, so I’ll always regard that as my patch, but I also love central London and the West End. There is always something going on there and it’s a great night out. However, it’s North London and the people there which inspired me and have given me the confidence to do something with my life.”

As a model who’s been earmarked as ‘one to watch,’ Boutrif has already modeled for prestigious fashion house ASOS, and her 700,000 plus followers on Instagram are testament to the fact that she’s doing it right. Yet, it was in her formative years in North London that her dreams began to take shape. 

Boutrif explains, “Moving to another country from Belgium was difficult initially. I didn’t speak a word of English and felt like a stranger in a strange land. But any anxiety or uneasiness I felt was soon replaced by excitement of moving to a city like London. I think newcomers have been identifying and connecting with something special about the city for centuries and I really believe it helps them prosper. London takes outsiders in and gives them a sense of belonging. It definitely did that with me and gave me the confidence to start posting pictures on Instagram at a young age which led to me being scouted by a modeling agency, and the rest is history.”

With a bright future and modeling career in front of her that’s guaranteed to take her to all four corners of the globe, is there any danger of Boutrif forgetting her beloved North London roots? 

“Not at all,” Kenza Boutrif beams. “People talk about moving to London to seek their fame and fortune for a reason. I’ll always regard it as my home and it’ll always have a very special place in my heart.”