At just 20-years old, Tunisian model Ameni Esseibi has managed to pave the way for plus-size models in the region. As the Arab world’s first curvy model, her mission to break down stereotypes against women has become all the more clear with her new campaign.
The Dubai-based model, who touts “It’s all about confidence habibi!” on her Instagram, looks to the power of words, opening up a well overdue conversation in the Middle East and North Africa about size-inclusivity.
The global fashion industry has made bold moves towards inclusivity over the last few years, expanding their size ranges to account for women of all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to the region’s social fabric, the stigma still continues.
We might not want to admit it, but body shaming is still common practice throughout the Arab world. “It’s very subtle, it’s not necessarily people making fun of you directly but it’s in all these little things that we hear,” one of our readers told us last year.
“Basically, every time I go back to Beirut, I get shamed! It is very common in Lebanese culture to discuss weight, with first questions often being leh da3fane? (why so skinny?)” another expressed.
To combat these far too common experiences, Esseibi dropped a video, focusing on the power of words, she’s seen with words that are usually used to shame others written on her body, which are then transformed into words of self-love.
“Words can be one of the deadliest weapons one can wield, they also can be used as a balm to inspire, liberate, encourage and heal,” she says, explaining the importance of her campaign.
“Every single one of us has to play our role if we’re serious about putting an end to the madness. We are all responsible. We must be. No one deserves for a second to feel worthless in this world.”