Do you want to be a supermodel? A new door has just opened in Dubai, thanks to a Filipina businesswoman who wants to give “talented people a chance to take their own stage."
After successfully opening her own modelling agency in Dubai this year, Glitzy Al Banna said that she’s already working on expansion plans.
“I want to add more value to the brand by turning it into an institution where people can also enroll in empowerment and motivational trainings, or short courses on grooming, etiquette, fashion, confidence building and public speaking,” said the soft spoken CEO of Niche Modelling Agency.
Al Banna, 38, said she draws on her own experience in the UAE for inspiration.
She was only 22 when she first landed in Dubai in 2000. “I remember going to Burjuman to submit my CV to companies. I’d also go to grocery stores and internet cafes to send my CV through email and fax,” she recalled, adding that a Filipina she met at a perfume store helped her land her first job two days before her visit visa was due to expire. She now wants to give back the same opportunity to others.
She held on to her job as a beauty consultant for a few years before leaving to work for a big real estate company in Dubai. ”I was very ambitious even back then. I saw that job as a stepping stone,” she said.
“It was the boom of Dubai construction and we were at the helm of big real estate projects,” Al Banna recalled. She rose up the ranks from secretary to executive document controller in five years.
But it wasn’t all rosy for Al Banna after a new manager joined her team. She immediately sensed the manager’s animosity towards her. “She asked me why I was working there in that capacity, as if I was not worthy, and I told her I was actually a pioneer in the company,” the outspoken Al Banna said.
“She gave me a hard time and kept me in the office until past my work hours just to make her coffee. I told her politely that we have an office boy for that but she said she just likes me to do it,” she said.
“I could no longer stay in a company where I was no longer productive and where someone doesn’t appreciate my work,” she said.
Ever a go-getter, Al Banna decided to open her own beauty salon and spa in Karama. She sustained it for two years before deciding to close shop when she discovered that the people she hired mismanaged the finances.
Dealing with critics, failure
Al Banna said she sees failures and critics as opportunities to improve.
“I look at it as an opportunity for growth. I just filter the good things that I can use in my life. At the end of the day, people will always have their own opinion and that is their right. I am just focused on my goals,” she said.
Deciding to focus on her family life, it was only three years ago when Al Banna tied the knot with her longtime Emirati boyfriend. They now have a two-year-old daughter. Al Banna also has a 19-year-old son from a previous marriage.
“One of the reasons why I put up Niche Modelling Agency was to inspire my children, especially my daughter, so that she will grow up seeing that women can achieve whatever they put their mind into,” she said.
“In my own way, I want to contribute to a world that supports ideas and talents. Niche is another stepping stone to show people that they can achieve their dream regardless of their gender or age,” she said.
Top 3 traits of a supermodel
Al Banna shares what she considers the top three traits of a supermodel
Height is an expectation. Supermodels should be tall, with an average height of 175cm, said Al Banna.
Attitude on and off camera. Supermodels know how to project themselves and work professionally.
Good manners. Supermodels should be flexible and easy to deal with.
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