Arab models are continuing to gain more and more recognition nowadays. The path for Arab women to becoming a model is getting clearer and easier with various modeling agencies, and with social media. However, plus-sized models are not that familiar. While Ashley Graham might be the most famous plus-sized model out there, Ameni Esseibi is the first Arab plus-sized model, and she’s spreading body positivity and empowerment like crazy!
Vogue Arabia and Harper Bazaar Arabia named Ameni Esseibi the first Arab plus-sized model. She’s officially the first ‘curvy’ model of the Middle East and North Africa, and Esseibi identifies as a body positivity advocate.The 23-year-old Tunisian-born woman prefers the term ‘curvy’ instead of plus-size, as curves are deemed sexy and women should celebrate them.
Esseibi grew up in Tunisia, France, and the UAE. Having lived in three different countries, she admits that the beauty ideals that she was taught made her feel like she wasn’t enough. Being called fat absolutely affected her mentality, and nonetheless, she always stood out amongst her friends for being the curviest, making her see herself as positively unique. Fighting the negativity of people’s opinions, Esseibi hopes other people will follow her lead and be confident enough to face the judgment.
Esseibi’s desire to becoming a model started when she graduated from school, and was motivated by the idea that there were no curvy Arab women within the modeling industry. Despite her father’s desire for her to go to college, she had her own dream and wanted to be a model at a young age.
At first, she took photographs of herself and posted them on Instagram, as social media is a rather ideal go-to place in reaching out. She would tag photographers and agencies in her pictures, and contacted photographers as well, until it finally worked and they started noticing her.
Esseibi models to represent women like her who are curvy and look different from the “normalized” beauty standards. She represents curvy women to help them celebrate their bodies and their beauty, regardless of what size they are. It’s her dream to help young girls and women feel more confident and love themselves and to inspire them.
“That attitude came from pain. I wasn’t always like this.”
In the next picture’s caption, she wrote:
“I’ve been a model for two years now and TRUST me when I tell you, the images that models are posting are not the reality. It’s the ONE picture that they got out of thousands that were taken and edited for hours. You can not compare yourself to this one “perfect” image you see on social media, and neither can the model because it’s not REAL LIFE!”
She’s made history as the first Arab plus-sized model, being recognized and inspiring people by simply being herself to love themselves. Here’s to her successful growth in the industry!