UNN might sound like an acronym, but the word is actually ancient Nubian for ‘rebirth’. And as of last October, it also became the name of Egypt’s first modeling agency.
After a seven-year international modeling career working with prestigious titles such as Vogue Italia, Iman El Deeb took a leap of faith and made a move back to her native country. Eight months later, the 25-year-old launched UNN Model Management, where she now represents over 20 new faces.
But the road to representation didn’t come without obstacles. “I struggled a lot with cultural mindsets and industry standards when I first started modeling,” says El Deeb, who throughout her career, found herself stunned by having been the first Egyptian model many brands had worked with. “I didn’t take pride in that” she explains, “It motivated me to give back to my home by teaching the plethora of potential models everything that I’d learned in the past seven years from modeling in different regions of the world”.
With an aim to disrupt the region’s beauty standards, diversity isn’t an afterthought when it comes to scouting. “What we look for is more character, charisma and potential, in its rawest forms,” says Yousra El Deeb, UNN’s official representative, before adding, “I wanted to create a platform for African and Arab models to be accurately represented on a global scale”. And El Deeb’s initial goal of showcasing Egypt’s homegrown talent is now becoming a reality: “The perception of beauty in Egypt is both stigmatized and standardized, for that, we aim to cross the line from average to exceptional”.
Here are six new faces to watch out for from UNN.
Habiba K: 23