A dancer, model, choreographer and force of nature, she’s been working with none other than music royalty, Beyoncé, for the past half-decade. From joining the singer on her critically acclaimed world tours to stepping out for *that* Coachella performance, Hajiba is without a doubt one to watch...Did we mention her voice features on one of Beyoncé’s tracks? We caught up with the French-Moroccan talent about her dance dreams, Queen Bey and how her roots complement her passion for performing.
Harper's BAZAAR Arabia: What is your earliest memory of dance?
Hajiba Fahmy: I’d say performing in dance recitals when I was around 7 or 8 - I started dancing at age 6. I also used to participate in a lot of dance competitions, and I remember that period so vividly.
HBA: Did you always aspire to be a professional dancer?
HF: Since I can remember, my passion has always been performing and being onstage. It just so happens that the passion translated itself into a career in dance.
HBA: What's been the highlight of your dance career so far?
HF: There are almost too many to name - I’ve worked on such diverse projects. I loved being part of Jean-Claude Gallotta’s prestigious contemporary dance company, which I joined in 2009 and which was one of my earliest professional opportunities. I had a life-changing experience on So You Think You Can Dance (France) in 2012, which was my first foray into TV and talent shows. I’ll also never forget my first time working with Beyoncé, on the ‘Standing On The Sun’ music video in 2013. I first met her when shooting that video – not to mention we were in the Bahamas! And, of course, my collaboration with Nike in 2015 was special to me because we shot the video in Marrakesh.
HBA: What was it like performing at Beychella? Tell us about your journey to get there.
HF: Performing at Coachella last year far exceeded all my expectations as a dancer and artist. Every moment of it was so rewarding and deeply emotional, from the incredibly long rehearsal process up until the time came to step out onstage.
Throughout the process we were such a close-knit team, chosen and united by Beyoncé, who shared with us her wonderful artistic gift and trusted us with her vision. I’ve been working with Beyoncé for 6 years now, and still, after all this time, she never fails to amaze me with the way in which she pushes her creative boundaries, always striving to reinvent and reimagine herself. It inspires me every day.
I also loved the message that Beychella sent to the world. The first black woman to headline the iconic festival – I hope that she can be an example in history and inspire so many generations to come.
HBA: Do you think your Moroccan heritage in any way informed or inspired your love of dance?
HF: Absolutely. My childhood memories of going out with my mother and sisters all involve music and dancing. We used to host so many parties at home and I remember the house being full of guests dancing and singing. There are elements of generosity, fun and entertaining others to so many of my cultural traditions and in a way that reflects what I experience when I’m onstage.
HBA: Do you have any tips for young aspiring dancers from the region?
HF: I won’t lie, a career in dance is a difficult path and there were many sacrifices I had to make. It involved spending a lot of time away from home and family, and it was emotionally difficult to be so far away, since I could often be rehearsing in the US or touring in any other part of the world. It involved missing important family events. It involved giving up a typical childhood or adolescence and, as a teenager, spending my free time very differently from others my age.
But looking back, I couldn't be prouder that I made my dream a reality: it took strength and passion. The first thing to overcome is the fear of being told ‘no’. I’ve heard ‘no’ so many times throughout my career, and in hindsight, each occasion made me stronger, mentally more powerful, and more focused on my goals. I can testify to the fact that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Oh, and never forget where you come from.
HBA: What's your workout routine?
HF: I have a coach - ordinarily, I’ll go to the gym. I love to chat whilst working out and have someone beside me to motivate me.
HBA: How do you relax?
HF: In my downtime, I’ll listen to music or watch a good movie. The park is a place I’ll go to chill out, but I equally like going to a museum. If I’m home, I might take a bath or call my best friend for a catch-up.
HBA: Do you have a guilty food pleasure?
HF: Too much Moroccan food…but I don’t really feel guilty about it…
Keep your eyes peeled for Hajiba and Beyoncé’s team of dancers on Netflix in the singer’s new film, Homecoming, documenting the iconic Beychella performance.
Press play to see Beyoncé wearing Egyptian designer Okhtein