Just shy of her 18th birthday, Saudi/Italian model Taleedah Tamer is on the brink of stardom, set to front her first international campaign this month and booked to walk the couture shows next season. Growing up in Jeddah, with her younger brother and sister, Najedah and Amin, she says that, “Being Saudi is who I am, it is my identity. I love the culture, it’s my heritage.” Her father, Ayman Tamer, is chairman of Tamer Group, a leading healthcare and beauty company, and her mother, Cristina Tamer, is a former model, who was scouted in dance class at the age of 18, and went on to work for Giorgio Armani, Gianfranco Ferré and La Perla.
Having won the gene pool lottery, Taleedah brings a potent mix of allure and intellect, and cites Gisele as someone she hopes to emulate with her modelling career. “She made it so personal and turned it into a business.”
Having landed her first gig modelling for Korloff, then Rubaiyat, before Bazaar, studies are still paramount to Taleedah, who has just returned from Milan looking at schools to major in Economics & Management of Art, Culture and Design. Her ultimate vision is to incorporate CSR into her modelling career. Alongside Gisele, it is Cristina who is helping chart a prudent path for Taleedah. “She taught me how to walk, about my angles, and about understanding my body and face.” But it is the business advice that will define Taleedah as a model with staying power. “My mum’s also taught me what’s most important in this industry, and that’s to be kind to everyone, to be professional, to make people feel comfortable and do everything to the best of your ability.”
A millennial supermodel in the making. Watch this face...
Describe yourself I’d say I’m adventurous, open-minded and nerdy. I’m into really strange things! Being Saudi is… Part of who I am, my identity. I love the culture, the heritage. Being Saudi has taught me so much. I like how the culture is reserved but also open-minded, and even though people are conservative, they are extremely educated and aware. I see that a lot. Arab idol Princess Ameera. I really admire her and she is an amazing face for Saudi women. She’s very pro-empowerment and I think the way she conveys that message, and the way she portrays Saudi women, is inspiring. She’s conservative yet open-minded and respecting of everyone.
Ramadan is…A time to reconnect with family from all over the world. Iftar/suhoor I usually spend them with my family or friends, the people close to me. Favourite dishes I try to stick to healthy food but I love Sambusek – cheese or meat, I like all of them! Ramadan dressing I wear kaftans because they’re super-comfortable, laid-back and you can customise them. Hatem Alakeel is my favourite.He makes amazing thobes for women, and the structure is very modern and new. I like lighter, pastel colours. Eid travels I’m not sure yet, maybe Greece. My grandmother is Greek so we go there every summer and any island in Greece is pretty much perfect – I love the beach. Eid gifting I like to personalise my gifts so they’re different for each individual. This year, I’ll probably do a painting for my parents. Eid receiving Anything my family gives me, but I do love clothes. Last Eid, my dad got me this gold Cartier ring that I’d wanted for a really long time.
Philosophy To be happy, to be kind, to do the things you believe in and the things you love. Motto It’s more important to be kind than to be right. Role model My mum, because she’s so selfless and supportive. And Imaan Hammam. She’s part-Moroccan, part-Egyptian and the fact that she’s multi-cultural and multi-racial, I can relate to a lot, as well as the fact that she’s Muslim and is able to keep her beliefs whilst doing what she loves. Secret about you I’m quite nerdy and get obsessive about stuff. Recently it’s been Japan – I’m just in love with the culture.
Dream photographer Steven Meisel, because he has an ability to bring out the beauty in every woman and anyone he photographs. That’s what makes an amazing photographer, when they can really portray the person in the picture in the best way possible. And also Ellen Von Unwerth – she is amazing. Most iconic image The 1988 image of Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington and other models all in white shirts, shot by Peter Lindbergh. The location, the moment, the image… everything is perfect. Most impactful image A black and white portrait of my mum photographed in the ’90s. I love everything about it. That was one of the first pictures I saw of her modelling and it was then that I thought I wanted do pictures like that. Dream shoot It would be an urban city shoot, in New York or Japan, surrounded by people just casually being photographed by Giampaolo Sgura or Steven Meisel. I’d be wearing DSquared2.
Fashion philosophy To express your individual style and wear what speaks your personality, so that you’re both comfortable and confident. Personal style It’s quite varied, but usually dark and edgy. I like to incorporate the ’80s and ’90s, so anything vintage. My dad has pieces that I sometimes steal, like leather jackets, while my mum has amazing vintage Calvin Klein and Versace pieces. The Arab aesthetic is… Fashion-forward and comfortable. Fashion empowers women because… It gives us the ability to express ourselves freely. S/S18 trend Marc Jacobs’ big hats and turbans – just amazing. S/S18 wish list Absolutely anything from the Elie Saab show, in particular the low-cut jumpsuit with transparent trousers and big billowing sleeves. I wanted that piece immediately.
Collector’s item Perfumes – I’m up to about 30 now. I really like beautiful bottles, and my dad brings me back perfume bottles whenever he travels. Scent The new Chanel No5. Treasured possession A pair of mum’s vintage high-waisted Moschino trousers that I wear all the time from the ’80s. Wardrobe raid Definitely David Bowie – he’s my style icon. Fave designer I love Chanel because Karl thinks everything through in such detail, especially all the clothes, and his shows are so impressive. I also love DSquared2; I wear all the clothes and they really know how to flatter a woman’s body. Another one is Jean Paul Gaultier – the vibe and style is really me. Best boutique Rubaiyat, because it has everything.
For make-up, MAC or Sephora. Beauty is… On the inside – both personality and confidence. Beauty secret Lots and lots of water, plus MonoDerma’s E5 Vitamin E serum. Hair salon I do my hair in Milan, at a place called Coppola. I see a man named Mauro. Fave singer Lana Del Rey, because I love her voice. And Amy Winehouse. I’ve been singing ever since I was little and I used to get told I sound like her. Song Staying Alive by the Bee Gees and Lovely Day by Bill Withers – I can listen to them anytime of the day. Book I’m reading Creative Evolution by Henri Bergson. I like books that widen your thoughts. Guilty pleasure Chocolate. I have dark chocolate every day. Selfie style I have quite strong features, so I really love that. In the beginning I thought that was a flaw, but once I learned how to understand my face and what works best in pictures, I realised that my strong features are what I love the most. People you follow Photographers like Steven Meisel, and models like Iman Hammam, Grace Elizabeth and Kaia Gerber. Model icon Gisele, because she has had an amazing career. She made it so personal and turned it into a business. Restaurant Nobu in Milan – they need to open one in Jeddah! Can’t live without My sister. She’s my soulmate.
Prices approximate. Photography: Jeremy Zaessinger. Styling: Gemma Deeks. Hair and make-up: Manuel Losada at Art Factory Management. Fashion assistants: Sanika Tipnis and Dania Rahman. Photography assistant: Fiel Montes. With thanks to Al Seef. From April 2018 issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia