Imaan Abdulle from Amsterdam, Netherlands shares with Savvy Magazine Africa the hurdles of being an African model in a very western market

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” This 20 year old model from Amsterdam, Netherlands speaks with Savvy Magazine Africa on her penchant for modeling despite not hitting the modeling size requirement.

Read interview below

  1. Can we meet you?

Totally! I’d love to, actually. That would be really amazing. I am Imaan Abdulle

2 What inspired you into modeling?

For me it wasn’t really something I planned. It kind of started randomly, but once I started doing photo shoots for photographers I discovered how much I loved expressing myself in such a creative way.

  1. How old are you and where are you from?

I am 20 years old and I am living in the Netherlands.

  1. What is your dream modeling job?

I have so many, ha. I’d love to be able to contribute a lot to the big fashion industry. I love fashion and I’d love to collaborate with my favorite fashion brands.

  1. What are your goals as an upcoming model and how do you see your evolution in this field?

My goal is to get as far as possible when it comes to modeling. I enjoy it a lot and being able to express myself in that way is really amazing. Also, I’d love to show people that you don’t need to fit a very specific standard or box to be a model. I know that nowadays it has changed and there is more acceptance when it comes to different kinds of beauty, but it still isn’t where it is supposed to be in my opinion. Sometimes I feel like the modeling business and I mean mostly where I live is limiting itself. I feel like you’d reach so much more people if you show them that you have something for them too and that you cater to them as well. I’d love to contribute to this.

  1. Who do you look up to in the modeling industry and why?

My favorite model has always been Iman Abdulmajid. She is a legend in my opinion. I really admire her and how far she has gotten in modeling. She is just a fashion icon Also, she has done a lot of amazing things when it comes to charity and helping people in need. So that is also why I look up to her.

7 Tell us about the limitations and challenges you face as an upcoming model.

Well, I am not the perfect model height in the Netherlands. That is quite a challenge for me. Unfortunately here there is not really a big fashion market for shorter models and definitely not petite models whereas in other countries there is. I see that as a difficulty I face. I have to sort of proof myself even more because my height is not the ideal. However, I don’t let it stop me and I wouldn’t ever let it stop me. It’s just a challenge, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible to overcome that challenge. Another difficulty would be being an African model in a very western market. It’s difficult and can be quite discouraging, but I don’t let it hold me back. In fact, personally I love diversity. I love different people, different backgrounds or just anything that is different. I feel like it makes you special and stand out more. So whenever I feel a bitdown, I try to think about that.

  1. What do you think about Africa, Nigeria precisely?

I love Africa! It is where most of my ancestry is from, so I feel a very close connection to it. Even though I have spent all my life in the Netherlands, Africa is where I come from. I think Africa is beautiful and the diversity within Africa is even more beautiful. What I like about Nigeria is that the fashion industry is quite big in comparison to some other countries in Africa. I hope that more countries can follow that example and I think there is a lot of potential in Africa, not only when it comes to fashion but just society and life.

  1. Any words to us?

Yes! Thank you so much for the interview. I love your magazine and it’s so amazing to be featured.

Thank you!

Photography – Bikkelfotografie

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