The Hanaa Factor

As one of the fastest rising stars in the business Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is certainly having a moment. The Tunisian stunner is the newly minted face of Lancome, a favorite of Givenchy‘s Riccardo Tisci and is quickly racking up editorial milage in choice publications like V and Vogue Paris. Though her classic beauty has struck a chord with industry insiders, Hanaa remains refreshingly down to earth. MDC caught up with Ms. Abdesslem ┬áto talk style, working with Carine and why she’s passionate about introducing the world to Tunisian talent.

Hanaa answers to select questions from the famous Proust Questionnaire :

MDC: What has been a career highlight for you so far?

Hanaa: When I started modeling my first experience was with Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, I had an exclusive and that was my first big runway show.

MDC: How were you discovered?

Hanaa: It is a bit of a long story. I dreamt of being a model when I was young, but so many have that dream and only a few are able to make it a reality. By chance I met a business woman named Sophie and she connected me to IMG. That led to my first photo shoot for Vogue Paris and starting to do runway shows.

MDC: Are there any misconceptions or difficulties you’ve had to deal with being an Arab model?

Hanaa: There are misconceptions, yes both at home and abroad but the good outweighs the bad. Where I’m from there really isn’t a big fashion industry the way there are in other places. It was always my dream to work in that business and now that I’ve succeeded I hope to become an example for others.

MDC: You’re surrounded by amazing clothes every day, what is your personal style like?

Hanaa: I actually love wearing all black, I’m drawn to very simple things and I think that reflects my personality.

MDC: I know you’re very active in trying to help Tunisian talent, can you tell us a bit about that?

Hanaa: For me it was a dream to be able to travel outside of Tunisia and find work. I know how difficult that is so it is very important for me to try and help Tunisian designers and creators. I started filming a documentary on actors, designers and creators so that more people could be introduced to our country and the wealth of talent that is there. I feel it is important to get that message across and film is a wonderful way to share our experiences with the world.

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