Not so long ago, Salma Abu Deif broke into the Egyptian modeling scene, and suddenly the gorgeous brunette was everywhere. From exploding on social media, to cat walking on runways and more. Her Instagram travel adventures will make you so jealous. Remember when she went to Cuba with photographer Aisha El-Shabrawy and we all died?
But what you may not know is that Abu Deif has been trying to model internationally for quite some time now, only to be rejected; one agency after the other. Why, you say? Her height! The brave model took to social media to write an open letter to Vogue, telling them how no one should ever feel insecure about their height — or anything else.
I’m Salma Abu Deif, I am 23 years old, 162 CM, and I’m from Egypt.
Every model’s dream is to go international and to be on the cover of Vogue magazine. In pursuit of this dream, I have traveled from Egypt to New York, and I have been rejected by almost twenty-two agencies because of my height.
My greatest motivation has been to make it as a model internationally. No fully Egyptian model has ever made it worldwide the way that I want to. As an Egyptian girl who wants to represent her country in her passion, I want to challenge traditional cultural standards around the world by following my dreams as a model and representative of and for Egypt. I want to show the world that someone has to break the rules of cultural standards because this is what the youth in Egypt needs the most, a revolution in arts and culture, especially as fashion booms in Egypt. My wish is that the world can hear about us, from us!
Recently, many agencies have been talking about diversity, but in my experience, it appears that the diversity initiative is just a marketing method. I believed that merging fashion and authentic diversity could start a revolution by challenging strict modeling standards and norms because I believe diversity is about representation regardless of one’s ethnicity, figure or physique, size or height.
True diversity has no standard.
So many agencies claim they don’t care about “who you are and where you come from” but I’m learning that they don’t mean it, and as I’ve applied, they’ve rejected me because they stick to strict, old, modeling standards and thank you for applying but apologize to you for not being enough.
I don’t see myself as they see me. I don’t see myself as too short, and the more every agency told me that I was too short, I almost began to doubt myself. I began feeling insecure about my height and started wishing that I was taller. But then I realized there is nothing wrong about me, the strict, old modeling standards are wrong. I should not be insecure about my height or how I look.