Moroccan Dreams, American Reality
American fashion’s “it” girl Abla Sofy is making waves as the first Arab model to represent GUESS in their campaign (and to have a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood), a step towards a more authentic representation of customers worldwide. She’s earned two degrees – one in business and one in fashion – and starred in a French Montana music video. After moving to America from Morocco at age 21, she began as a stylist before modeling (“People want to recognize themselves in what they see and what they can buy. Brands are trying to become as authentic as they can”). Along the way, she’s learned to merge her cultural values with her work as a part of her self-image. “I know my limits and my goals, given that I’m in America. I know what I should allow myself to do, and it’s all about keeping the respect and pride of my country. As an Arab woman, I want to always be the best image of it,” she explains. For many, Morocco is perceived as a country stuck in the past, resigned to the use of camels as transportation: a fact that drives her to create a positive image of herself and her country. “It’s very important for me to change this negative image of Arabs always being a source of something bad,” she adds.
That said, her work in the industry is proof of her goal as she strives to capture its reality. “I always try to give justice to the reality of Morocco. It’s a beautiful, free country,” says Sofy. “There are some limits because we are an Arabic country, but out of all of them, we are the most open-minded.” She’s already seen support pouring in from girls around the globe – most especially in Morocco since her work inspires them. “I get emails and DMs from girls asking me how to make it happen for them. I would love to use my voice and what I do here to get credibility and develop fashion back home,” she asserts.
Sofy’s life has already proven that she’s more than a pretty face, a series of degrees, or her country. In Morocco, she’s a fierce advocate for children and orphans. Although not currently involved in similar organizations in America, she plans on dedicating her time and efforts to helping children around the world in the future. “It’s always been something important to me. I would love to keep helping and use my voice to help them,” she says. A firm believer in the benefits of education, Sofy believes that the combination of education and good examples will help children succeed.“We have to give them this hope, and show them that hard work makes something. It’s America. People came from nothing and made their dreams come true,” elaborates Sofy whose hard work and determination helped her achieve her own goals, with more to come in the future; she joins the ranks of others in today’s world. She, like many others, embodies the American dream in a captivating way, inspiring many worldwide.
Writer: Margaret Mallison
Photographer & Videographer: Sandra Selva
Fashion Editor: Lassalle (@stylebylassalle & @stevenlassalle_ - www.stevenlassalle.com)
Fashion Editor Assistants: Gala Lee (@galaleestyle) & Gabriella Lovazzano (@gabriellajlovazzano)
Hair: DaRico Jackson
Makeup: Melissa Eastwick
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to Smashbox Venice (@smashboxvenice -
www.smashbox.com/book-appointment) & Shakey’s Pizza Parlor (@shakeysusa -