Model of the Week: Samira Mahboub

Samira Mahboub

Each week, we take the time to highlight one of our favorite emerging models. Last week, we profiled German beauty Alica Kalk this week we decided to feature the talented Samira Mahboub. We caught up with her to talk about her career so far, Performance art and her plans for the future.

Nationality: German
Hometown: Munich
Instagram: samiramahboub

You are both a model as well as a performance artist, how did you get into both?
Being both a model and performance artist ironically is in direct relation with my study background. After finishing my Bachelor in sociology and psychology, my aim was to pursue my Master studies in London. In order to help finance my postgrad studies, I took a year off, started modeling in between and did my Master in London as planned 1 year later. It was only after my studies when I moved to NY to further pursue modelling as a serious career. My performance art background also emerges from my study time in London when I met my creative partner and friend Ania Catherine. We discussed research interests and backgrounds and not much later founded SAMANIA as our artist/scholar duo. Our work is grounded in social and political critique around the subjects of coloniality, (post) colonialism, gender and sexuality. Power relations within society are often made invisible, so being able to visualize the invisible via creative work is crucial to me/us.
To me, having diverse interests and passions is not only productive/fruitful but also a significant part of my personhood.

Have you always wanted to be a model? If not, what did you want to be growing up?
I actually have never thought about modeling growing up. When I was younger, I wanted to become a psychotherapist but then I discovered sociology, gender and postcolonial studies, and everything changed.

How were you scouted?
I was scouted on the streets of Munich.

How would you describe yourself as model in three words?
Passionate, performative, fun

Your first modeling job?
My first modeling job was an anti-violence against women campaign for Germany. I think that this was a perfect and symbolically meaningful way to start modelling.

What is your favorite or most exciting aspect about being a model?
Modelling to me always is a performance. A performance of concepts and – what I find more intriguing – a performance of authenticity. It has been a fascinating way to discover myself via body language and a constant medium of self-expression. It has taught and still does teach me a lot about the relationship I have with myself, my body and mind. Also, I see it as a promising platform and stepping stone to gain more visibility in the public & media, through which I have more voice to address social issues and take on global responsibility.

What is your dream shoot/campaign?
A shoot in Morocco authentic and Conceptualized, directed and performed by me published in a fantastic fashion magazine.

What’s the best life advice you’ve ever received?
I am not able to narrow it down to one haha Sorry!

How do you stay in shape?
Trying to eat clean, to exercise regularly (and of course this does not always work haha). I would say that I treat my body with kindness and precaution knowing that it is only borrowed.

What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion is political. Fashion serves the masses. Fashion can be art. And fashion can be a transformative and powerful tool if in the right hands.

How would you describe your style?
Versatile, it changes with seasons and my mood and I love that. A lot of my things are vintage and/or from different countries. However, what is a characteristic feature of my style is my Moroccan/Berber jewelry. I cannot leave the house without wearing my rings and bracelets. I also have a small collection of old Afghan and Indian jewel pieces, some of them are even antique. My jewelry definitely is an expression of my personality and identity.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate (all sorts of) and watching Harry Potter for the maybe 100th time.

Denim or leather?
Ahh difficult! Leather (I must carefully admit)

Heels or flats?
Flats! Always

Vintage or contemporary fashion?

If you were an emoji, which would you be and why?
An elephant because they are one of my fav animals. Graceful, powerful and loving.

What’s on your playlist right now?
– Sona Jobarthe (album motherland),
– Tinariwen,
– N’Gou Bagayoko (album Kulu),
– Yuma (song Smek)
– Moroccan Gnawa music
– Tracy Chapman and Joan Baez

When you’re not busy modeling, what are some of your favorite things to do?
– Doing research around the subjects of (post) colonialism, politics and gender
– Reading Khalil Gibran and learning from Arabic poets and thinkers
– Workshop and conferences related to my interests and studies
– (Slam) poetry
– cooking
– and of course, taking time for family and friends
– wanting to get more into dance improvisation workshops and physical theatre

What are you working on now and what do you dream of happening in the future?
While I am about to head to New York to be on stay with Elite Models, creatively I am currently working with my team on a short documentary about our latest piece ‘Hex’ (Hex is a contemporary film adaptation of German expressionist choreographer Mary Wigman’s 1926 performance ‘Hexentanz’, witch dance.) The documentary will contextualize the piece historically, follows the process of making the film from the first brainstorm, to rehearsals, through the filming process, and includes interviews with us and the producer/editor Dejha Ti.
I dream of further dedicating my life to bridge-building, to tackling difficult subjects and conversations, standing next to the people who have been marginalized and silenced. I want to create and do things that matter and that are meaningful. At the end of my life, I want to look back knowing that I became this version of myself I always thought I could be and always felt I needed to be.

Thank you, Samira for this amazing interview!
Interview by: Clinton Gonsalvez
Special Thanks to Negeva Norval-Dogra @ Model Management (Hamburg, Germany).

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