Bella and Gigi Hadid aren't the only models with Arab heritage — here are eight others

Catwalk regulars from Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt are also blazing a trail in the fashion world

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It has been a long time coming — finally the fashion industry is breaking free of its self-imposed blonde hair, blue-eyed cliche.

Pick up any magazine and today it is filled with faces of every hue, tone and heritage, from hijabi pioneer Halima Aden to Tilila Oulhaj, who is redefining beauty with her freckles.

As a result, a wealth of young Arab women are storming the industry, ushering in a new era of representation around the world.

The Palestinian-Dutch Hadid sisters, Bella and Gigi, are perhaps the best-known models with Arab heritage today, but they are certainly not the only ones.

Here we look at eight other women who hail from the Mena region blazing a path in fashion.

Imaan Hammam

Imaan Hammam on the spring 2022 Versace runway. Photo: Versace

Imaan Hammam's heritage hails from the Netherlands, Egypt and Morocco. She was discovered at the age of 13 at Amsterdam Central Station, and went on to open the Givenchy spring-summer 2014 in Paris.

Since then she has appeared in Vogue across eight countries, and was one of the models chosen to appear on the cover of the 125th anniversary of the American edition.

She has starred in campaigns for Maison Margiela, Coach and Celine, as well as high street names as H&M and the now-defunct Topshop.

She's still only 25, but she's become a vocal force for diversity.

“I want to be a role model for young girls who are struggling with racism or struggling with their looks or with their skin colour," she told industry site Business of Fashion. "There aren’t many Arabic models, and being an African-Arabic model, I’m trying to open doors for more Arabic girls.”

Azza Slimene

Tunisian star Azza Slimene, 24, was discovered by the late designer Azzedine Alaia in Tunis, and made her runway debut walking for Chanel's autumn-winter show in 2018.

She's now signed to Next Model Management in Milan, Italy, but is also an actress, and appeared in the Tunisian television series Sons of Mofida.

Nora Attal

Nora Attal on the Chanel runway, Cruise 2022. Photo: Chanel

Moroccan-British Nora Attal was discovered by the British photographer Jamie Hawkesworth at the age of 14.

One of her first jobs was a campaign for JW Anderson.

Now 22, she announced this week she had married filmmaker Victor Bastidas.

She has become a runway favourite for the likes of Prada, Chanel, Fendi, Dior and Versace and recently appeared with her family in an Eid campaign for Ralph Lauren.

Habiba El-Kobrossy

Egyptian model Habiba El-Kobrossy. Photo: UNN Models

Egyptian Habiba El-Kobrossy, 25, is a model and taekwondo sportswoman.

She goes by the handle of "Warrior princess" and while she's still at the beginning of her modelling career, she has already walked for Peter Pilotto and Cairo brand Sara Onsi.

Shahad Salman

Shahad Salman in the regional perfume campaign for Paco Rabanne. Photo: Paco Rabanne

Born in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, Shahad Salman credits her modelling career to Winnie Harlow, a fellow vitiligo sufferer. Salman was diagnosed at the age of 4.

She has starred on the cover of Vogue Arabia with Canadian model Harlow in 2019, launching her career. Now a vocal advocate for acceptance, Salman and Harlow are both champions for those with the condition.

Malika El-Maslouhi

Malika El-Maslouhi on the runway for the Missoni spring-summer 2022 show. Photo: Missoni

Malika El-Maslouhi, 23, was born in Milan, to a Moroccan father and Italian mother, and with her unique beauty has walked for names such as Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Oscar de la Renta.

For spring 2022, El-Maslouhi starred in the Missoni advertising campaign.

Tilila Oulhaj

Tilila Oulhaj for Yves Saint-Laurent Beauty. Photo: YSL

Tilila Oulhaj, 24, is redefining beauty with her full face of freckles.

Born in Azilal, in the Atlas Mountains, she has worked with Vogue Arabia, LÓfficiel and two years ago became the face of Pure Shots, the beauty collection by Yves Saint-Laurent.

She is now signed to agencies Select and Models One.

Sonia Ben Ammar

French-Tunisian Sonia Ben Ammar is only 23 but has already walked at a Dolce & Gabbana alta moda, as well as Miu Miu and Chanel. She recently released her first music album too. Expect plenty more from this powerhouse.

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Updated: June 12, 2022, 4:42 AM
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