Ameni Esseibi is the Middle East’s first curvy model, Tunisian born she is today the pioneer of the body positivity and diversity in the region, Ameni has been featured in the most prestigious magazines including Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Vogue Arabia and many more, and has done work for Farfetch, 11 Honore and other leading industries in Dubai.
The plus-size model encourages self-confidence and self-love and believes that accepting your body is crucial.
I wanted to interview this 21-year-old beautiful and inspiring lady to raise awareness about how impactful words can be nowadays and also to express another form of beauty that fashion, and the luxury industry has ignored for so long!
As a North African, I am very proud of Ameni who powerfully represents women from my region.
SU: What made you think of starting modelling?
AE: The lack of ‘’real bodies’’ in the fashion industry and specially the stereotypes in the MENA region
SU: Have you ever suffered from bullying before?
AE: Yes, but not severe bullying from bullies, my friends called me names that hurt me, they just didn’t weight their words before speaking
SU: Do you think Instagram is positively contributing in your self-confidence?
AE: Honestly until today unfortunately they are still a lot of girls who lie about their lives and bodies with photoshop which increases their insecurities. But on the positive side a lot of body positivity pages exist today and also media started talking about it more.
SU: Do you think the Fashion Industry is allowing you to express your style?
AE: In the USA definitely but not the MENA region we don’t have any brands that serves plus size, I order all my clothes online from the UK or the USA. Also the fashion industry in the MENA isn’t fully accepting the concept of plus size yet.
SU: As a model, have you ever had to sacrifice anything in your career?
AE: Yes, I sacrificed my student university life for my career.
The fashion industry in the MENA isn’t fully accepting the concept of plus size yet.
SU: How do you consider being authentic on social media and why is it important?
AE: Being authentic is the most important thing on social media because people are fed up with the fakeness and the lies, they want to see the reality of things, something they can relate too and inspire themselves from.
SU: How do you feel about the word fat?
AE: I honestly don’t know, I personally don’t like being called fat I feel like it’s an ugly world, it’s the same thing for the word skinny I don’t think people like it also. It’s not a positive description
SU: Do you feel like the body positivity campaign has been used for commercial purposes?
AE: Yes a 100%. Brands are using it in a way to show their support when it’s actually just for the sales , especially when it’s a one-time campaign about body positivity and not a full long term movement
SU: Is your community supportive?
AE: yes thank god I would’ve never done it without the support of my family and friends, honestly your own support is also important
SU: Do you think being in Dubai helps in the industry as a Plus Size Model with Tunisian roots?
AE: The modelling scene in Dubai is not as wide as Europe or the US, models aren’t taking as seriously here but also there’s absolute nothing to do here except for e-commerce shoots and very rare beauty and fashion shoots . In Europe and State there is for sure more opportunities.
SU: We are currently quarantined because of the Coronavirus pandemic, how are you keeping your-self healthy and what are the advices you can give to your community?
AE: Honestly I learned so much because I spent so much time with myself that you discover new aspects of your personality and also your limits my tips and my message to specially the young people would be to take this time to overcome their insecurities and to increase their confidence and self love because now is the perfect time to do it as we have a lot of free time Coronavirus has affected me a lot mentally because I’m very sociable and I felt like someone took away my freedom by telling me to stay at home even though I knew it was for my own good.
It definitely changed my life overnight and made me realise a lot of things because I had so much time to think about everything also it affected my career and my business in the way that all shoots were cancelled but I had access to do all my interviews on zoom or via emails which is a great thing. also, I adapted to the changes by looking on the positive aspect I had time to prepare future long-term goals I had time to catch up with all my family and my friends abroad and I had time to increase my self-love and self confident and overcome new insecurities.