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  to 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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