Winnie Harlow heads to Saudi Arabia for magazine photo shoot

Winnie Harlow is the first model with vitiligo to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (File/AFP)
Updated 01 June 2019

Winnie Harlow heads to Saudi Arabia for magazine photo shoot

  • The models met on social media nearly a year ago
  • Salman said Harlow helped her feel more comfortable in her own skin

DUBAI: In a first of its kind, international model Winnie Harlow flew into Saudi Arabia for a photoshoot with her Saudi doppelganger for the June cover of Vogue Arabia.

The latest magazine issue features fashion star Winnie Harlow and her look-alike Shahad Salman, both models championing vitiligo awareness. Vitiligo is a skin condition caused by lack of melanin in some areas of the skin, creating patches of lighter skin on the body and face.

They met online, almost a year ago, when Salman posted her picture with Harlow’s side-by-side on Instagram.

“She wrote in the caption that it was ‘weird’ how similar we looked. I commented saying that it was not weird, but that she was so gorgeous,” Harlow told Vogue Arabia. Harlow was the first model with vitiligo to walk in the much-celebrated Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.



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It melted our hearts! Find out more about our cover stars Winnie Harlow (@winnieharlow) and Shahad Salman’s (@5sunshine1) emotional first encounter in Saudi Arabia, the day before our June issue cover shoot, now on Vogue.me. Living thousands of miles apart, the models first became acquainted via social media. “Almost a year ago, Shahad made a post on Instagram with our pictures next to each other. She wrote in the caption that it was ‘weird’ how similar we looked,” shares New York-based Harlow. “I commented saying that it was not weird, but that she was so gorgeous.” #voguearabia #womenstandingforwomen #saudiarabia #winnieharlow #shahadsalman لقد لقاءً مؤثراً! اعرفوا تفاصيل اللقاء الأول بين نجمتي غلافنا ويني هارلو وشهد سلمان في السعودية، اليوم الذي يسبق جلسة تصوير غلاف عددنا لشهر يونيو، على موقع ڤوغ العربية الآن. على الرغم من أنهما تعيشان على بعد آلاف الأميال، كان تعارفهما الأول عبر مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي تقول ويني هارلو التي تستقر في نيويورك "نشرت شهد صورتينا معاً منذ ما يقارب عام وكتبت أن الشبه بيننا كان غريباً فعلقت بأنه لم يكن غريباً وأنها تبدو رائعة".

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The models discussed their stories of success when they met during the photoshoot in Riyadh’s Sadus heritage village, and how vitiligo did not stand in the way of their dreams.

Salman, who is based in Makkah and did not have much experience in fashion before the photoshoot, was noticed on social media by Vogue Arabia staff.

The Saudi model had admitted she has not been previously comfortable with how she looked.

“Winnie was the person who gave me the confidence to fight. I never expected to meet her. Sharing time on the set of Vogue with her was a dream. I feel that now I, too, can inspire other girls from the Arab world,” Salman said.


British hijab-wearing model Mariah Idrissi has it covered

Updated 17 August 2019

British hijab-wearing model Mariah Idrissi has it covered

  • “Saudi Arabia is a blessed land both physically and spiritually,” Idrissi said
  • “I would love to be a part of changing some of the stereotypes around the country through my work in fashion and film,” Idrissi commented

LONDON: Born in North West London to Moroccan and Pakistani parents, model Mariah Idrissi has made quite a name for herself – starring in campaigns for major high street retailers, hosting TED Talks and sharing snaps of her travels with her 88,000 Instagram followers.
The hijab-wearing model has been vocal about her preference for modest fashion and spoke to Arab News about her style, faith and achievements.
“I wear hijab to represent my faith, my culture, and because I genuinely love the idea of modest dress,” she said. “I think it’s important to feel comfortable in what you wear and also not lose a sense of your personality, hence why there is so much diversity in modest styles.”


Her breakthrough came when she was scouted in a shopping center. She did not think it would lead to anything; however, she was casted for an H&M ad. “The campaign went viral. From that moment I realized how little the media represented Muslims, and if they did it was often negative. That motivated me to continue to pursue a career in fashion and change the narrative around how hijab is viewed in the West,” she explained.
She also gave her first significant public speech in 2016, a TEDxTeen live-streamed to millions, about how modest clothing has now become a trend. Idrissi believes the fashion industry is catering more to women who want modest wear than it did a decade ago.
“I feel it is definitely improving,” she said. “Summertime can still be a little bit of a struggle in comparison to autumn and winter which is cooler, so there is still room for improvement.”


After her breakthrough with H&M, Idrissi went on to participate in projects with leading brands, including MAC Cosmetics and M&S in the Middle East. She also looks forward to working on projects in Saudi Arabia when an opportunity arises.
“Saudi Arabia is a blessed land both physically and spiritually. I feel there is so much potential and opportunity. I would love to be a part of changing some of the stereotypes around the country through my work in fashion and film,” Idrissi said.
She is now working on a few film projects, both features and documentaries, to continue challenging negative stereotypes around Muslims.


Moreover, she aims to inspire other potential modest models and advises them to always ask why before embarking on this path. Asking why has helped her on this career journey because even through difficult times, she was able to push forward.
As her upbringing has taught her, Idrissi is demonstrating that modernity and progression are not in conflict with tradition and customs: They are two sides of the same coin.