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The It Girl: Nour Guiga

This week we are crushing on Tunisian, LA-based model Nour Guiga, who is on a mission to fight stereotypes faced by Arab women all around the world. Here, she shares with us what drives her, the importance of finding time for our inner child and why you should always be true to yourself.

Photo by Hend Jebali. Originally published in FFDesigners

Tell us a little about your background.

I was born in Hammamet, Tunisia. I grew up in a mix of two cultures. My mother is French and my dad is Tunisian.

I would learn everything about the French language and European history at school, then hang out with my Tunisian friends and learn about my home country’s culture and ways. At 18, I left Tunisia to move to Paris where I first took acting lessons before studying journalism.

I started modeling in 2007, while in highschool, and then, in 2014, I decided to start modeling full time and joined agencies in Paris, Milan, and Munich.

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by people who take risks and get out of their comfort zones to achieve their dreams and goals.

Also, people that own who they are, think for themselves and don’t let other people’s negativity affect them.

Favourite city and why?

My favourite city is Montreal, Canada. Whenever I’m there I feel a real sense of peace and calm. It’s a beautiful city with lots of nature. People are the nicest I’ve ever met and you’ll find some of the best food in the world!

What do you do in your spare time?

In the evening, I like to prepare a nice meal for my husband and I. We’ll watch our TV show of the moment. The last one was Dark. I highly recommend it if you’re into sci-fi. During the weekend, I enjoy spending the day at the beach or playing video games.

Favourite food?

I love food so much it’s hard to choose one! There is a dish however that I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It’s Algerian Masfouf (a sweet take on couscous). My grandmother used to make it for us on Sundays and we would all gather at her place and enjoy it as a family meal. We called these gatherings Masfouf parties!

Photo by Olya Helga

If you could go back in time, where would you go and why?

I’d visit the Jurassic period to check out dinosaurs! You might as well go where no other human has.

Who do you look up to and why?

There isn’t only one person I look up to because I think that everyone has flaws and some people are really good at certain things. I like to look at different people and be inspired by specific aspects of their personality.

For example, I look up to Ellen DeGeneres for using her position as one of the biggest TV show hosts to help people in need. I look up to Edward Gaunt (Ed Earthling on YouTube) for standing up for what he believes and trying his best to educate people on animal cruelty and the impact animal farming has on our planet.

I also look up to Nikita Dragun for being the first transgender woman to have her own mainstream makeup line and for being her authentic self on social media, no matter what people might think of her.

What is your life motto?

“Keep your inner child alive.” Life can be really difficult and the older we get the more responsibility we take on. I believe it’s important to always find room for your inner child to have spontaneous, carefree moments. Don’t lose that part of yourself!

Photo by Liza Boone

Biggest achievement?

My biggest achievement career-wise was being selected to be part of the Sports Illustrated Sweet 17 last year! As an inbetweenie model (US size 6-12), it’s very difficult to find brands that work with girls of my size.

The fact Olivia Culpo, the SI Swimsuit team and MJ Day thought I deserved to be part of the top 17 (out of thousands of participants) represented validation from a brand I had only been able to dream of working with. I felt seen and was given a chance to show who I am. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity.

Any career/business tips?

Three things:

  • Think for yourself. Don’t take someone else’s opinion like it’s the whole truth or the only solution, even if the person has more experience than you do.

  • Know your worth. Ask yourself what you’re not willing to accept. Determining this will help you cut out the noise and focus on what you deserve.

  • Respect yourself.  Don’t do anything that goes against your values or makes you uncomfortable just to make your agency, client or anyone else who you work with happy.

Anything else?

Whatever your dream is, work hard to achieve it. Not just because anything is possible, but to avoid regret from not trying the things you always wanted.

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