by Ilaria Conte
Kenza, first of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to provide us with this interview.Tell us more about you, your background and how did you get into modeling ?
I grew up in a small town in the suburbs of Tunis, by the coast in a very tight and very intellectual family where freedom and education were the most important values if I can say.
Friends of my mother organized the Elite Model Look. They proposed me to enter the contest, I did it just to do it, not knowing my life would take a complete different turn.
I ended up amongst the three international winners.
How would you describre yourself as a model?
Well lol, modelling is my job, I love what I do and I believe that s probably the key to be good at whatever you do!
Is that an answer? :)
Rachel Zoe Fall 2011
3 words to define the modeling industry.
Moving constantly Always
What are your favorite aspects of your job?
In every aspect of it. :) The travels, the surprises, the independance , the art, the artists, the creators around it.
Any less favorite aspects ?
The surprises lol, the travels lol but also the impossibility to plan anything then it gets in your lifestyle and you become someone hard to rely on and I found it sad sometimes.
What do you do to stay in shape, any strict diets?
Try to eat healthy, love to cook and eat at home but no diet.
I work out with my trainer sometimes and do some yoga and pilates but mostly love outdoors sports: kayak, hiking, biking, sailing, etc....
How would you describe your personal style?
I love fashion, this is my world for a while now and it grew in me.
My style evolves all the time. I like to be in timeless, comfortable and versatile clothes, so I believe in investing in a few pieces you will keep forever and play around with your accessories.
I am also not really girlie, I feel actually more "me" sometimes in masculine pieces.
If you could live anywhere on this awesome planet where would you build your dream home ?
My dream home would be on a sailing boat! I am obsessed with discovering this awesome planet as you said. Travelling, discovering places, cultures, cuisines, people is truly my passion. But I consider NY as home now and with La Marsa, my home town, they are my favourite places in the world.
You were the first Arab ever featured in Sports Illustrated magazine, how does that make you feel ? Can you tell us more about your experience as a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model ?
Honestly I never thought of me as the first Arab to pose for SI. I am, though, an extremely blessed model to have landed a gig in this Iconic American Publication.
The team is adorable, I am in contact with all of them and you feel quickly part of this beautiful family.
I didn't know much about it before moving to the US but in America it is really a classical turn over in a model s career so I am extremely proud to be an SI girl.
How do you see Fashion in Tunisia and the Middle East?
Do you think Fashion is getting the attention needed in the Middle East?
I think you will agree with me the Middle East is too vast and various to be all included in the same package. And the social differences just like the cultural ones are huge.
But I can see a fascination in fashion and it s reflected in the interest the international brands take in the region.
The middle eastern women are very coquette, they take an amazing care of themselves and are very resourceful.
The problem is the lack of choices, yes they are few Brands imported but there is no real domestic brand addressing to this niche.
Kenza, We’ve been following you on your Twitter since a while now and we have to say that you are a politically conscious person ! What can you tell us about the situation in your country now ? Are you optimistic ?
Yes, I m politically conscious. But it s far from being exceptional. If you go in Tunisia, from the taxi driver to the housewife everyone feels involved. And I must say I love this. We cant let this incredible and inspirational Historical Event slide from us so we watch carefully what is going on and everyone steps by their beliefs. Sometimes it clashes but I m very optimist for the future. We are setting up a New History and A great Example for the region.
Can you tell MEF about your future projects ?
I am working With a little group of AWESOME kids from NY and Tunis on launching an exclusive Line in 2013.
There is also a lack of exposure of fashion, art and culture in North Africa that s why we decided to work together and launch an online magazine. It will be live in September 2012, www.BYKENZ.com
I'm very excited because we are all working very hard on these projects.
Any tips/advice do you have for aspiring Middle Eastern models just starting out ?
Good Luck Lol! No I must say, work hard, Work on developing yourself as a person and dont let anyone define who you are because that s the danger with this job.
From Vanity Fair Italia
A quote that you could leave us with?
"You are the wind behind my wings" Siri, Iphone. (Today) I thought that was pretty freaking awesome lol