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Model Musing: Kenza Fourati
A product of the world famous Elite Model Look competition, Kenza Fourati was the first Tunisian to enter the competition. Even though she comes from a very progressive family, Kenza’s parents had a hard time understanding how modeling could be an actual job and were afraid of what the future of her daughter could turn out like being in such a different cultural environment. After long hours of discussion it was finally agreed that Kenza would go to Paris to give it a try.
From fashion publications like Vogue, L’Officiel, Elle and GQ to the top selling pages of Sports Illustrated, Kenza has climbed to the top echelons of the industry and has embraced the world with an open mind.
Currently living in New York city, Kenza is working on launching her own fashion label while working on her most bold and heartwarming project; an online community to bridge the cultural gap between the Middle East and the Western world through art.
Was modeling a dream for you or did it just happened by chance?
Well, it was so uncommon (in Tunisia) that I really never thought of it for half a second, it was all a happy accident.
What were your most remarkable experiences as a model?
All my “first times”; my first show, my first fashion week, my first casting, my first time in front of the camera, with the responsibility of a crew working around you. Then you understand it’s more than fun, it’s a job and you have to be the best you can.
Is there anything that bothers you in this business?
The lack of control; I’m a control freak, but this job is really like George Berkeley’s quote, “To be is to be perceived”, and that s very frustrating!
What have you learned from your career that you consider truly valuable?
At a young age I understood you have to be your very own knight in shining armor. I can be in an alien place alone and I can handle it with no fear. Thanks to modeling, I know now that I am a capable person.
What advice would you give to aspiring models?
Don’t loose sight of who you are. You will meet tons of people who will judge you and project all kinds of fantasies on you but at the end, you are the only one who truly knows who you are.
What were your biggest challenges as a model?
Coming from an Arab Muslim country with no real visibility of the future and as a model to keep it true to who I am.
What is you favorite modeling image?
A portrait taken by Cedric Buchet for Vogue Paris, I find it to be very powerful.
Were you excited to work with him?
I have always loved his work and I loved how he perceived me. Not only is he an awesome photographer but he is also a great guy.
Where was it taken?
We shot in the middle of the road in Chinatown in New York. I’m 5’11 and was wearing sky-high heels and a see-through top; let me tell you, there was a lot of staring happening!
Who was the stylist?
Julia Von Boehm. I work very often with her, she has the most incredible energy and speaks (what seems to be) two thousands languages.
Any wardrobe malfunctions in that shoot?
I was freezing, so that’s a malfunction to me!!
What was the theme of the shoot?
The diversity of faces in France: Black, White, Beur (North African origins), ...