A young woman from Tunisia has become the first Muslim ever to become the face of Lancome, the UK’s Daily Mail reported.
Hanaa Ben Abdesslem will be featured in the cosmetic company’s new campaign for Teint Idole Ultra 24h foundation.
The 22-year-old, who made her runway debut last year, and has since modeled for Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Givenchy, told New York magazine, “Modeling can be a career choice, too. I plan to change this misconception within my culture.”
She adds, “I met an Arab woman, Sophie Galal, who shared my views and ideas about changing and exposing the true challenges of the modeling profession for the Arab world.. She soon became my manager and presented me to IMG.”
While she hopes to shake things up, she is still very much proud of her roots.
In an interview, she said, “My country is rich in history and traditions... It’s a culture that’s been influenced and shaped by a succession of civilizations that includes the Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Fatimid Arabs and Ottomans.”
She noted, “I grew up surrounded by all these influences and I am proud to be a part of that culture.”
The Daily Mail reports that Lancome’s move to bring on a North African model is part of a larger trend in the fashion industry to foster more diversity in the field.
“My ideal legacy at Ford would be to open up the idea of beauty, not only being classic but being global,” Paul Rowland, head of Ford's women's division told the New York Times.
“I want to find girls in Egypt or Sri Lanka or India — all the places where people don’t look.”