If someone had told sixteen-year-old Samia, in ten years she would be taking pictures of a prince in the garden of Kensington Palace she would not have believed them. But that is what has happened to Samia Meah, and it is a beacon of hope for all who benefit like her from the charity Centrepoint. Which is being supported by the Evening Standard as its charity this
Centrepoint is being supported by the Evening Standard as its charity this Christmas. The photo call was to celebrate the appeal, which is specifically supporting the Charity’s Young and Homeless Helpline passing the £1 million mark. The Prince was accompanied by former Centrepoint president Kumba Kpakima and Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev.
Samia lost her father when she was young and grew up caring for her mother who spoke little English and was determined that she would have an arranged marriage. Social Services became involved shortly before Samia took her GCSE’s and when she learnt she had passed them she was at a Centrepoint hostel. She was pleasantly surprised to receive a congratulations card from the staff there – the first such card she had ever received.
After taking ‘A’ levels in Art, she moved out of Centrepoint into university halls whilst she studied a Master’s Degree and has just had an exhibition of her work in London where she now lives with her boyfriend. This is not the first time she has met Prince William, they both had to give speeches at an event in 2009, and she remembers how he knelt beside her afterwards when she was upset and said to her he thought her speech was way better than his.
She was nervous about taking the picture but convinced herself that this was what she had been working towards. The shoot itself was very like many others she had done, outdoors, documentary style with lots of natural light. It was just way smarter that most of the locations, most of which did not have a palace subtly supplying golden crowns to the corner of the frame. The shoot also provided the final part of Samia’s story coming full circle – she is now a project assistant with Centrepoint.
“Though, I’ve always dreamed of a different life I know there are no guarantees and I’ve kept my feet on the ground,” she says.
“It’s hard to make it in London but I’ve always had help, especially from Centrepoint, and kept trying. It feels like it’s coming together.”
She also commented that Prince William was also a valuable support to her, he talks to you just like he’s a neighbour she said.