Image via Ameni Esseibi's Instagram account
She’s been signed to Wilhelmina Dubai, Bareface and MA Models and has now been proclaimed the Middle East’s first ever plus-size model. Ameni Esseibi, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the model spoke about her objectives as a model and how they are less about fame and more about inspiring and uplifting young girls, "I'm endlessly grateful for every opportunity I'm given, but at the end of the day, I want to do whatever it takes career-wise to make young girls feel more confident and loving towards themselves," she says. "The biggest accomplishment of my career so far has been all of the young girls who've reached out to tell me I've inspired them to feel more confident."
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Giving an anecdote about how passionate she feels about positive body image and encouraging young girls to accept and love themselves, the French Tunisian model told the publication about a young girl who had messaged her on social media and asked about how to tackle a group of boys who were bullying her at school, "She was being tormented by these boys because of her looks, so I drove over there and told the principal that school is supposed to be a safe environment for girls, and for her it wasn't at that moment," she said. "The principal was like, 'Wait, who are you?'" Ameni laughed.
Having only been on the modelling circuit for a matter of months, 19 year old Ameni Esseibi has her sights set on being “the Arab Ashley Graham” and has already shot campaigns for well-known fashion platforms in the region, including Namshi and Elabelz. The ambitious model is also ardent about the representation of herself in the shoots she appears in and one point she makes clear is that she is anti-Photoshop and prefers for people to see the real her, "My curves and dimples look so much better when they aren't retouched and giving a false representation of what I look like, so I do everything in my power to make sure my photos aren't edited," she explained.
Growing up in Tunisia, France and the UAE, Ameni also expressed that particular beauty ideals had her feeling like she wasn’t enough, "I mostly grew up in a French environment where they're all blonde and thin, and I was this tanned, curvy, completely different looking girl. I'd have people calling me a whale, telling me I was so fat. It definitely got to me," she told Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.
The difference is now, she has overcome those feelings and has embraced her curves and beauty – rejecting the term “plus size” – she is constantly referred to as in favor of “curvy”. The Arabian beauty believes that "curves are sexy and should be recognized as something special."
image via Ameni Esseibi's Instagram
Ameni Esseibi hopes to be a beacon of change for the face of Arab fashion and beauty as she speaks of an ideal future, "I want my own people to say, 'she’s our representation in fashion, she's our body activist, she's our motivational speaker.' I want them to know there is someone who looks out for you, who can amplify your voice, who cares if you're okay and that you're happy in your skin."