On a path to international stardom

This is a name – and face – you’ll want to remember. Taleedah Tamer first made history back in July of 2018, as the first Saudi model to walk the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. The young model from Jeddah opened for Italian designer Antonio Grimaldi, taking to the runway in a dramatic white suit before changing into a shimmering mauve dress.

In our interview with Taleedah, we asked her about growing up in a biracial household, as she was born to a Saudi father and Italian mother. Moreover, seeing as how she is being touted in international media as “the first Saudi supermodel” we spoke with her about the pressures that come with the firsts and her latest campaign with Namshi.

What made you want to become a model? When did you discover your passion for it?

I began to discover modeling when my mom started showing me her pictures from her modeling days. I’ve also always been passionate about photography and creating images which I believe played a big part in my interest in this type of work.

What is your first modeling experience/memory? How did it feel?

My first modeling experience and memory was a jewellery campaign when I was 13. I enjoyed it so much and wanted to keep going after that.

What is it like being the first Saudi model to walk a couture show? Do you feel like being the first defines your career?

 

To me modeling is a job that I take seriously and if by being “Saudi’s first” I get to inspire other girls to go for what they want then I could not ask for anything more empowering and fulfilling.

 

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What has been your biggest obstacle so far in your career?

My biggest obstacle so far is finding my place within the industry, learning the ins and outs and getting used to how to deal and interact with people on the industry. It can be tough sometimes especially if you’re not used to the environment.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Being featured as one of two Saudis to be selected as one of the 100 New Wave Creatives by the British Fashion Council.

You are Saudi-Italian, what was it like growing up biracial?

I consider growing up biracial as a big gift since it’s allowed me to understand and see life through different cultures, beliefs and opinions which I treasure very much. There were certain challenges but for the most part it taught me a lot about myself and allowed to grow into the person I am today.

 

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What are some preconceived notions that people have in regards to Saudi and Arab women in the fashion industry?

I think some preconceived ideas and opinions on Saudi women in the industry is that women in Saudi don’t express themselves through fashion. Whether it is modest fashion, what a woman wears under the abaya or the abaya itself; Saudi women do express themselves with their clothes and still have the same wants as any other woman.

Who are some of your dream designers to work with?

Some of my dream designers to work with are definitely Anthony Vaccarello for YSL, Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and so many others. Every designer is unique and inspiring in their own way and I would love to meet all of them if I could!

What do you think of diversity in the fashion industry?

To me diversity in fashion and many different aspects of our day to day life is so important. It is very important to acknowledge and appreciate differences since I believe that in doing so everyone will feel so much more connected in this world and more appreciated. It also gives us the platform and opportunity to grow and get inspired from one another in a well rounded way.

 

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What made you want to collaborate with Namshi? What is the collaboration like?

Collaborating with Namshi was such a great opportunity and was honestly such a fun experience.  The team was amazing and so was the whole concept which is one of the things that truly drew me to taking part in this project. There’s so much talent in Saudi and I’m so glad that business and platforms like Namshi are giving these talented individuals the means and opportunity to express themselves. I love Namshi as a brand and grew up always hearing such great things about the company. I’ve also had great experiences shopping from Namshi and always thought of it as my go to online retailer in Saudi since many things that they offered were difficult to find in stores in Jeddah.

Which are your favourite brands to shop from Namshi?

My favorite brands from Namshi we’re definitely mainly sports wear like Nike, Puma and Adidas as well as The Ragged Priest.

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