Today’s conversation is with Paris based model Manager, Maha Slimani, she will tell us different stories about her experience as a mother and how at the same time she manages her professional career in the leading modelling agency IMG Paris. Maha also shares with her 35 thousand followers a daily dose of an authentic positivity around everyday life tips, fashion and also beauty.

SU:    How did you deal with quarantine knowing that you had to manage your work from home and your 6 months baby girl at the same time?

MS:    To be honest I totally freaked out the first days ! I was so tired post fashion week… and I thought we won’t make it at all haha! Managing my work, the house, the meals, the baby and our couple seemed Impossible to me, but apparently we, as women and mothers, have strengths we didn’t know about !! After two weeks of quarantine we reinvented our routine and we made it work as a team. Teamwork and organisation are key, for us at least!  Like for example : I cook and daddy gives the bath! He takes a nap I play with our daughter and vice versa, so that each one can have some free time.

 

SU:    As a model manager: How do you think the modelling industry is evolving?

MS:    The whole fashion industry is actually evolving ! This pandemic situation taught us how powerful and important is the « digitalization » for the consumer. 

Regarding the modelling part, the brands use to fly from anywhere in the world the model they choose for their project. I think from now, they might be prioritizing local shooting and local models. Accordingly, they will put less money in the location and hopefully pay more the models ! For instance, shooting a Lookbook instead of doing a cruise show, who knows ? 

This is such an opportunity to redefine business models and build a more sustainable progressive future for the fashion industry.

SU:   Before IMG, you worked for Balenciaga and Jean-Paul Gaultier. – Two brands with two different positions in the industry – How would you describe the dynamics in both?

 

MS :   Balenciaga was a dream maison for me. At that time the designer was Nicolas Ghesquiere. Working for a 100 years old label, revisited by a master of couture was SO [fucking] inspiring. I was just a young and passionate little fashion student.. and being able to witness how NG was genuinely reinventing Cristobal’s DNA was incredibly mind blowing haha !! 

Ten years later…Balenciaga is the fastest-growing brand of the Kering group and they are so still « dans l’air du temps », applause. 

Jean Paul Gaultier, a whole different story. It wasn’t a brand I dreamt to work for. But I had a huge respect for « l’enfant terrible de la mode ». I loved JPG for Jean Paul himself for the « sass » that la mode was definitely missing.

The dynamic inside the maison can be summed up in one word : FAMILY, I still believe till today, that I got a family. It was the most magical, tremendous, challenging and full of love and passion, work experience of my life.  

JPG is the most spontaneous designer of the century, his craziness and creativity were so inspiring to me. Thus, he work with the same team since forever and his family spirit is everything !!! He never take his self and neither fashion seriously ! However he is the one who is selling the most haute couture!

mahaslim IMG model manager

My advice would be to work out as much as possible before being pregnant, your body has a fantastic memory.

SU:    What was your dream job before joining IMG?

MS:   The Phoebe Philo’s Celine leather good product manager (and when I was dreaming big as hell CMO at Chanel – lmao) 

 

SU:    What are the things you do as a model manager to help the models grow in the industry?

MS:    Firstly,  build their self confidence. Specially in terms of feeling good about themselves. If you don’t love yourself who will do it for you? I use that to make them aware about their strengths, and use them !

Then, I try to help them by knowing what they want and where they want to go in this industry. So I can guide them. And of course I’m here to help them make the right choices ! 

 

SU:    What are the characteristics except the physical ones you look for in a model?

MS:  I would say passionate and patient, but to be honest, even physically there is no specific characteristics. It’s all about the « click » when we meet a girl, with a great personality and who is photogenically incredible (that doesn’t mean the average classic beauty) we crush, we sign haha 

 

SU:   How would you describe the relationship you have with the models you manage?

MS:   I’m the real (annoying) mom (argh) Making sure everyday there eating their meals, sleeping well, working out… I’m also the shoulder they can lean on when they miss their family, or the free hugs dealer when they don’t get the job.. I love them like my babies hahaha 

mahaslim

For the last years I tried to not invest on trendy items, I believe that less is more and I prefer to keep only timeless pieces in my closet.

mahaslim

SU:   You were born and raised in Morocco where your family is currently settled, do you think of having a business back home one day?

MS:   I miss them so much! (crying) specially during this quarantine time. Actually Tami (my husband) and I are very open to go wherever whenever. For now it’s Paris but who knows ? From a wise old saying  « never say never » Haha! 

 

SU:   How did you learn the process of being a mother?

MS:  « learning by doing » is my moto haha, I didn’t know anything about babies before I had one! I have never ever touched a diaper before… so basically I learned everything by trying to do everything. 

In the beginning the only thing I was able to do was breastfeeding haha, changing her clothes or diapers was like « wow this is too much I’m gonna break her bones » haha, but then step by step, I was all by my self when she was 3 weeks, and I learned everything slowly but surely ! I am not the kind of « perfect mom » girl, and I don’t want to.

Beside that, from the moment I heard her crying the first time of my life… I loved her forever. And I knew from that specific moment that I will be her mother. I was thinking in the delivery room « I promise I will protect her from anything. I will give her my best. Even if I god dam’ don’t know how to change her diaper » 

 

SU:    Can you tell us about the post-partum process and how you lost weight after giving birth? Did it somehow affect your self-confidence ?

MS:    Oh my god post-partum! Haha. I wish someone would have told me that crying the first days when you are back at home is something completely…. Normal!?! 

Realistically, my post-partum was fine, I cried the first week at home because the lactation experience stirs up a lot of emotions. I was struggling because I had too much milk production and it was so painful ! 

In fact, discovering the newborn universe was too intense for me. I didn’t know anything about it before as I said.. i was drowned and lost in information. The good news is that couple of months later I became a pro ! Hehe so don’t worry if you are a mama to be!

Regarding the weight part, I gained 15 kg during my pregnancy, and I was throwing up a lot, I don’t want to imagine how much I would have gain without being sick haha, but after giving birth I lost 9 kg which was great ! 

MS:   I thought I would be obsessed with my extra weight but not at all.. because honestly you have so much to do and to think about with a baby you don’t have time to worry about it! 

At last, I would say breastfeeding helped me a lot and contributed to my postpartum weight loss. I also took longs walks as much as possible during my maternity leave with the stroller ! Helped a lot too ! 

I didn’t work out before she had 4 months. I didn’t have the energy for, and I wanted to give time to my body. My magical body who allowed me to give birth to a little human-being.

My advice would be: work out as much as possible before being pregnant, your body has a fantastic memory ! and give time to your wonderful temple.

My advice would be: work out as much as possible before being pregnant, your body has a fantastic memory ! and give time to your wonderful temple.

SU:   I have noticed your love for the French supermarket, Monoprix beauty and home-wear products, not very common as a product suggestion on Instagram – How did this love story started?

MS:   I have always been super passionate by the beauty grocery market in UK and US. Where we can find for example amazing scrubs and very cool lipsticks haha. And since few years the French supermarkets have tons of crazy super products and no ones talk about that! 

You just need to go to the Monoprix in Champs Élysée to see how Korean, Middle East and American people… etc are buying  everything! 

So I started trying things and give my honest feedback about it! I think it’s very interesting to show people that a good product is not only worthy because of its high price! You can find in my bathroom a Holidermie product flirting with a Cadum cream yes.

 

SU:    What are your must-have skincare products?

MS:    A good and face-cleaning oil that you would use for everything! people think that if you have an oily skin you can’t use oil but it’s wrong! Otherwise, I’m so obsessed by all « the oh my cream » niche skin care products. 

mahaslim

People think that if you have an oily skin you can’t use oil but it’s wrong!

SU:    How would you describe your style? What do you think about the fast-evolving trends?

MS:    I would say basic-cool-sporty sometimes sexy-mama look haha 

Im not a really trendy person, I love to have really good basic (sometimes designer) pieces that you can mix and match with a trendy cheap piece. But for the last few years I tried to not invest on trendy items, I believe that less is more and I prefer to keep only timeless pieces in my closet. That’s why I don’t have so much clothes I guess haha!

Yet, the fast evolving trends will forever exist, that’s what fashion is made for unfortunately. But it needs to urgently evolve. Specially when you know that it takes ten thousand litres of water to make a pair of jeans Jesus ! But who can say that they will never ever buy a new pair again ? Almost no one I’m sorry. But we should think about the future and our grand child’s planet… 

That’s why I think that we, as buyers, should all try buy less and buy better, and the brands should create 2 collections per year instead of 200 haha! 

And all together we’ll make fashion a little more timeless again. (This one sounds political lol) 

In any case,  what really constitutes value to « us » consumer was already shifting in line with sustainability based concerns, and I hope the COVID-19 is and will exacerbate this great move.

 

SU:    Very random but we follow each other since 2017 and you have never changed your profile picture on Instagram; How come? Do you consider it as your personal brand identity?

MS:    Hahaha!I was tired of changing my profile picture everyday. I drawn this little logo with an old iPhone in 2011 and since then it’s here and I like it, it’s nothing pro but simple and spontaneous.

 

SU:    What do you think of the future of the Digital Influence?

MS:   I think that people finally realised how crucial is the digitalisation. All the brands needs to capitalise in a digital influence. The Digital experience has reshaped the customer behaviour and shopping forever. And many brands are still so far behind at creating the digital experiences that customers really want. And the Covid 19 situation is again confirming this. 

Conversely, I think that people are getting tired of very empty and meaningless digital content. 

We live in the era of digital influence, and unfortunately some of us think that anything can make them influent (I mean faux profiles and faux followers) . Therefore people get drown in a worthless content. That’s why the brands have to be very careful with the influencers they work with, otherwise the risk of losing credibility is inevitable. 

At the end, I’m sure that slowly but surely, avatars will play an important role on social media and digital content… you’ll see !

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