Interview: Hijabi Model Mariah Idrissi On Focusing On Your Faith, The Power Of Positivity And Having Self-Belief

BY Kelly Johnstone / Apr 8 2019 / 16:28 PM

The young role model, and self-described "urban hippie" shares a snapshot of her success with Bazaar

Interview: Hijabi Model Mariah Idrissi On Focusing On Your Faith, The Power Of Positivity And Having Self-Belief
ITP Images
Mariah wears: Jacket, Dhs3,905, Jonathan Simkhai; shirt, Dhs4,560, Off-White, both at Harvey Nichols - Dubai

Mariah Idrissi first made headlines in 2015 for being the first Muslim, hijab-wearing model to feature in an international fashion campaign. Fast-forward four years and the 26-year-old has unwittingly become an authoritative voice for modest fashion, not to mention an active humanitarian passionately advocating support for Syrian women, amongst other philanthropic endeavours.  

1. Commitment 

"Becoming a model was pretty straightforward. I posed in a picture and it happened overnight, but it's all the work I had to put in after that moment. The most frustrating obstacle was getting people to see past the hijab. Some brands and designers looked at it more as me making a token statement rather than me simply being a Muslim woman and a model."

2. The power of positivity

"As one of the many women who had paved a way for diversity I feel a great pleasure in my work, as well as a sense of responsibility. There's always going to be work to do and sometimes it's about doing what's right rather than what you want to do. I feel areas of my adversity have been more mental than physical. I felt very alone on a professional level as I tried to build a brand. It was a struggle for me to have a clear vision and a strategy. But that's where incredible friends and family came into play, and I cant stress how important it is to have positive people in your life to help shape you to becoming the best version of yourself."


3. Focus on your faith 

"I faced financial challenges at the start of my career because I had to leave my job so abruptly and hadn't planned for anything like this to have happened. However, I believe once you become self-employed you truly understand the concept of trusting in God because everything will fall into place eventually." 

4. Have self-belief

"When I think about a career highlight, I would say it was the moment I realised my purpose in life - becoming a model was just one step closer to that."

5. Know what you stand for 

"I love modest fashion, naturally as it makes it easy for me to dress! I also appreciate any small cultural details that are incorporated in pieces. Islamic fashion is really taking off and I see it continuing to break stereotypes and open more doors in order industries, and not just in fashion."

Photography: Yuliya Petrovich

Styling: Tabitha Galyser

Make-up: Emer Morrison

From the April 2019 Issue of Harper's BAZAAR Arabia