Shahira Yusuf Mannequin Interview | British Vogue

Ronan Mckenzie

How one can get your fledgling modelling profession off the bottom? Posting a subversive tweet and watching it go viral cannot harm.

In 20-year-old Shahira Yusuf’s case, it was an informal comment saying her arrival within the modelling trade that actually struck a chord with the Twittersphere: “I ain’t no kendall jenner however I am a black muslim woman from east London that is about to finesse the modelling trade,” she posted in November, having signed with Storm Fashions. Ultimately rely, the tweet, despatched from her @shvhira account, had garnered over 121,000 likes and 57,000 retweets.

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“I used to be undoubtedly stunned,” Yusuf informed Vogue, recalling the incident over the ‘cellphone this week. “I do not know why it went viral however I assume it resonated with lots of people. Some folks have requested me if it was throwing shade on Kendall – it wasn’t throwing shade, however I do not come from a profitable or privileged background, and as a mannequin I pleasure myself on the truth that I have not been given the identical alternatives. The tweet wasn’t about Kendall Jenner, it was about me. I merely used her as a reference, that means I am not from a privileged background.”

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The east Londoner with the Somali heritage is on the cusp of constructing it huge – however Yusuf had resisted a modelling profession for years, having been scouted as an adolescent. “I stored getting pestered by household and associates, and particularly strangers, who would method me in public and inform me to mannequin. Then, someday, I used to be out in central London with a pal, and we realised a lady was following us.” She laughs. “It was Sarah [Doukas, the founder of Storm modelling agency], and she or he requested whether or not I might ever thought-about modelling, and handed me a Storm card.”

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It took Yusuf some time to come back spherical to the concept. A busy household life in Tower Hamlets – she is the youngest of seven – and a heavy schoolwork schedule at school, the place she’s learning politics, legislation and historical past, left little time for posing. Having learn up on Storm, nevertheless, she modified her thoughts – and promptly mentioned the choices for a Muslim woman. “Not everybody’s educated in regards to the hijab so I defined it to my company, the importance of it, and I believe they have been extraordinarily thoughtful. We wrote me an inventory – I’ve set out my boundaries.” She is set to go to college subsequent 12 months. “I am ready for my remaining presents to come back in – I need to examine politics and economics,” she says.

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How snug is Yusuf with being a task mannequin for different Muslim women? “I perceive that some folks may even see me as a task mannequin by advantage of my head scarf, however I do not assume its essentially as much as me push that agenda ahead. I am a human being with imperfections, and I am conscious that there’s a lot occurring on this planet that’s outdoors of my management,” she says. “I need to watch out, and different folks have to be cautious; I am a person, and all people are main their very own lives, so you possibly can’t tackle that accountability in a private manner.” Nonetheless, she is pleased with her heritage and her faith. “It is inevitable some folks won’t respect your selection of religion, however I really like my faith and I maintain it near my coronary heart.”


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