Abla Sofy has a lot going for her. This Moroccan-born beauty hangs out with Bella Hadid, appeared on BRAVO’S ‘The Second Wives Club,’ modelled for BEBE, starred in a music video with French Montana and Daddy Yankee, and is now the first Arab model ever to have a billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood as the face of GUESS. She is also a fashion stylist who has worked on campaigns with Hailey Baldwin, Camilla Cabello and Jennifer Lopez.
What makes her unique and refreshing is that she is of a conservative upbringing, and therefore her modelling is less revealing than many Western models — which is just fine with her bosses, who respect her cultural views.
We got the chance to do a Q&A with Abla to dive deeper into her world and what she predicts will be hot in fashion for 2019! read on…
Salam! Abla, nice to e-meet you. Before we get into your current projects, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
First of all, I would love to thank you for the interview and for your interest in me. I am 100% Moroccan born and raised. I went to French school and gained a business degree in Morocco. After getting my business degree, I decided to move to LA and go to fashion school. It was always my dream to be in America. After my first visit, I loved it and decided to pursue my studies in fashion school here. When I moved to LA, I got the chance to be introduced to Mohammed Hadid through a family friend and I started working with him as his personal stylist for his TV show. Then I had the opportunity to be on the show myself.
Great! You were recently picked to represent the major fashion brand GUESS, the first Arab to do so. How has that changed your life so far?
When we finished shooting the E! TV show ‘Second Wives Club’ , Mohammed Hadid loved my style and sense of fashion and decided to introduce me to Mr. Paul Marciano, the owner of GUESS. In the beginning, I was afraid to model for him when he showed me all these beautiful pictures of all these gorgeous girls, so we finally agreed that I would work inside the company as a stylist and a designer.
After two years working with GUESS and getting to know the company inside and out, I was approached by the producer Redone to star in a music video with French Montana, Daddy Yankee and Amanda Cerny. After the video came out, I received a lot of exposure and I became far more confident to get into the spotlight. This is when Mr. Marciano asked me to model for him for the second time and this time I accepted!
To be the first Arab model for GUESS changed my life in many ways, especially in the world of fashion. I’ve got a lot of respect from people in the industry because this is something nobody has ever done before. I get the opportunity to represent the Arab woman in America and many people respect this achievement a lot. It has made it very easy for me to have a voice and an impact so I can advise the many people who reach out to me to give them advice about life and how they should achieve their dreams. As an Arab woman it is important to me to let people know how to stand up for what they believe in and not follow all the ideas that are sold to them.
What are your responsibilities to the GUESS brand…do you just model for them or is there more to it?
I have a lot of responsibility toward the brand GUESS. I need to give the best image of myself as I always keep in mind that GUESS is a global brand, so everywhere I go, every magazine cover I shoot and every interview that I do, I need to follow the values of the brand that the owner of GUESS believes and teaches all his models.
I always carry with me little cards that have all the values of the brand written down. It’s something very important for me that is beneficial for me even in my personal life. Mr. Paul Marciano has a lot of experience and has built an empire, so each piece of advice I get from him is very valuable to me.
What have you learned about fashion and style now which you wish you knew when you were younger?
I will never forget one time I was in school and I was wearing red pants and a pink shirt. This girl in front of a guy I liked yelled at me and said that “everybody knows we can’t mix pink and red.” I was so embarrassed. If only I had known that the answer I could have given her: that there are no rules in fashion. Everybody has their own vision and taste and if you want to mix some colors and textures this is what you should do and you can make these beautiful in your own way.
What fashion trends do you think are going to be hot in 2019?
Neon and everything bright are the trends for 2019 which I really love so I’m very happy about that. Green, orange, yellow-and even silver and gold are the colors that are going to be everywhere this year. Also, the mix of classic and sporty is a trend. For example, a suit with a sports bag or belt bag is very trendy so we can play as much as we want and we can go out to meetings all week and go to club with the same outfit, which is really cool.
What is one beauty tip you think every teenage girl should know?
The most important advice for every teenage girl is to take care of her skin and teeth while she’s young. Teeth change your smile so don’t be afraid to wear braces now because you will thank your parents later. Make sure you take care of your skin and use the right products. Don’t use too much make up now so you can have nice skin later.
You are also an actress, right? What’s the biggest challenge you have faced so far in show business?
Yes. I also have a TV show in Morocco. It’s the Arabic version of ‘Entourage.’ It was really fun because I was playing my own character. My biggest challenge in America is to keep my own voice and continue to make people believe in me. With everything that is happening in the world, people have wrong ideas about Arabs from the images they are given on the news. I have to fight this every day and show them that the Arab people are hard workers, they are positive, they are smart and they can bring big value everywhere they go and people should trust them and give them a chance.
And what do you feel is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest accomplishment is the fact that I convinced all these brands such as GUESS, BEBE and national and international magazines to believe in me as an Arab woman. This is the message I always give. I don’t want to be just another a model, because I represent the new era of Arabic women. I am strong, open and I still respect my values. I am very proud of this.
Which celebrity have you most enjoyed working with and why?
I had a chance to shoot many campaigns with Hailey Baldwin when I used to work for GUESS as a stylist and it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot from her as a model. She has a very strong personality and she also refused to be overtly sexy in the pictures. This reminded me of myself. She kept insisting on this until production accepted her values, so I respect her for that as she is a very young model. She knows what she wants and this is how she succeeded.
Who would you most like to work with in the future?
I am very close with the Hadid family, but I have never had the chance to work with Bella Hadid. I think everything about her is perfect; her face, her style, her personality. I would love to have the opportunity to work with her. I really admire her as a model, and how down to earth she is with her family and fans after all the success she has achieved.
What do you think is the biggest misconception Americans have of Arabs, and what is the truth about it?
I am so sad to say this, but the biggest misconception we have about Arabs is terrorism and the fact that our people are very close-minded. This is really false, because in every country there are people that do bad things. Having a bad image of the Arab people hurts me a lot. This is why it’s very important for me to insist that I’m an Arab, I’m open minded and I am doing something good for the Arab people in order to improve even a little bit, the bad image that is given on the news.
If you could go back in time and give only ONE piece of advice to your teenage self, what would you say to yourself?
If I could go back and give myself one piece of advice it would be to be patient when I was young and wanted everything right away, right now. We don’t know that the best things take time to achieve. You have to build yourself up so you have a stronger base and better things to present and to give to people in the future.
Morocco versus L.A. – who wins? : )
This is always one of the hardest questions I get asked. I think a mix of both is perfection for me. I try to take what I love from both Morocco and LA. Both are valuable to me.
Tell me something people would be surprised to know about you?
I am a very introverted person. I can spend days at home just sitting reading, getting inspired and watching TV. I’m a big thinker. I love to think and try to find the best solution to new ideas. I don’t like to surround myself with a lot of people. It freaks me out. I think it’s very important for a person to know how to make herself happy and how to get inspired from her own energy.
Biggest pet peeve?
My biggest pet peeve is when someone is talking too much. It really stresses me out. I don’t want to be rude, but it really makes me very frustrated, so I have to leave or to ask the person to calm down as it gives me a big headache. This is something I’m trying to work on because it’s important to hear people talk so you can get their point of view. However, if someone does not stop talking, I feel like they are getting into my head and attacking me.
My favorite food is, of course, Moroccan food. This is the thing that I miss the most from Morocco after my family. Moroccan food is just so tasty, so full of spices and so healthy. It’s very hard for me to find something similar when I’m in America, so I found a little Moroccan restaurant here in LA that I go to weekly, which I enjoy very much.
My secret fear is that I will stay too focused on my work and not be able to have kids until later, because I always wanted to have children as young as I can. I am very focused on my career now, which is making me really happy, but it’s always something in the back of my mind. I think a person should find a way to balance both of them. I’m still working on that.
What’s the last movie you watched, and give me a review…but you can only use TWO WORDS for the review : )
“OCEAN” was the last movie I saw coming back from Morocco on the plane and my review is: ‘amazingly insane.’
The one piece of makeup I cannot live without is__________.
Concealer of course! I always have the worst dark circles. I never leave my house without a concealer. Sometimes, it’s the only make up I have on my face.
Most embarrassing moment IRL you wish you could do over?
The most embarrassing thing happened when I went to a model casting and they asked me to show up with no make- up on. I thought they wouldn’t know I had concealer on, but they did and asked me to take it off!
What else are you working on or have coming up next?
I am working on a few fun projects with some brands. Fashion is always my thing so I’m transitioning into television. It’s my dream to have a TV show and work on that more in America, since I’m already acting a lot in Morocco.
Follow Abla: https://www.instagram.com/ablasofy
Watch her music video with Daddy Yankee, French Montana and more here: