Hanaa Ben Abdesslem – The Tunisian Model Who Dreams of Changing Misconceptions | FashionTV’s Model of the Week
Hanaa Ben Abdesslem was born in Nabeul, Tunisia – a place where being a model is not so common. Despite this fact, Ben Abdesslem decided to think “out of the box” and translate her unique looks to a successful modeling career.
As a teenager Ben Abdesslem won second prize on the Lebanese equivalent of the reality “Project Runway”, and got an international modeling contract with IMG. Though she poses for the best photographers and walks at the most prestigious fashion shows, Ben Abdesslem stays true to her culture and doesn't smoke or drink alcohol.
Rocking the Runway
The first top designer who paid attention to Ben Abdesslem and gave her a chance on the catwalks was Vivienne Westwood. Ben Abdesslem made her debut appearance at Westwood’s Spring 2011 collection show. The same season, she also walked for Givenchy.
At the beginning of 2011, Ben Abdesslem got the chance to participate in two major couture fashion shows. During Paris Couture Week, the Tunisian model graced the catwalks of Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier.
As Ben Abdesslem gained more recognition, she received invitations from many top designers to walk their shows. She walked for Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Anna Sui and Narciso Rodriguez during the Fall 2011 New York Fashion Week, and also for Gaultier, Chanel, Hermes, Giambattista Valli and Thierry Mugler during Paris Fashion Week. Later that year she opened the Giambattista Valli couture fashion show and closed the Spring Ohne Titel fashion show in New York.
During her modeling career Hanaa Ben Abdesslem took part in several fashion productions for leading magazines. She landed editorials for French, Italian and Spanish Vogue, W and Dazed & Confused. Above all that the Tunisian model featured on the winter 2011 covers of V and Intermission magazines.
In July 2011 Ben Abdesslem posed for Txema Yeste during a cover shoot for Harper's Bazaar Spain.
During 2011, Ben Abdesslem got her first two advertising campaigns. The first campaign was for Lancome Visionnaire and the other was for Giambattista Valli for Macy's Holiday 2011. While the first campaign included a close look at Ben Abdesslem's facial skin, the other one allowed her to become more of an actor and really pose for the camera.
Ben Abdesslem got her major campaign in 2012. For the first time ever, cosmetics empire Lancome chose a Muslim model for the brand's face. According to Ben Abdesslem, this is just another step in changing misconceptions about Muslim women, and at the same time – a chance to prove to people back in her native country that modeling in not what they think it is.
Twenty-two year old Hanaa Ben Abdesslem had a long and complicated journey from Tunisia to the heart of the fashion industry. She had to fight prejudices and had to bridge many cultural gaps. Now that she’s made it to the top of the fashion world, she has a great chance to fulfill her dream and really make a change. Her will combined with an amazing figure and unique style are going to take her farther than even she can imagine.
What do you think of Hanna Ben Abdesslem? Isn't she gorgeous?
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