The first Muslim face of Lancome

I saw this story pop up in the paper and I read it thinking 'oh that's good then'. It then struck me that it actually shouldn't be the big deal that it appears to be. Lancome have signed their first ever Muslim model to be the face of the brand and she'll be seen in adverts across the country from February. The 22 year old Tunisian has made her debut on catwalks across the world, including Vivienne Westwood and Oscar de la Renta, as well as appearing in magazines like French Vogue. She's certainly very beautiful and certainly had a very successful career, so why is it such an issue that she's been signed as the face of a makeup brand? Hanaa Ben Abdesslem is surely going to be everywhere in the next few months, but what should be striking is her beautiful face and flawless complexion, not the colour of her skin or religious background. Why is this such an issue? What do you think?

Read the original article here.


  1. I think it is great that they finally put a muslim woman (equally beautiful to others) in advertisement campaigns. But still, I read shocking articles...like that Freida Pinto had to be retouched (they changed her skin to a lighter shade) on photographs for advertisement because her skin colour was too dark for the public!That is plain stupid (especially since everybody can see her skin on the red carpet, etc. anyway)!
    So, still a lot has to be done!
    But I really like the photograph above and your Blog is awesome (when I read it I don´t miss Britain so much anymore, I feel like I´m there again).

    Kisses from Germany,

  2. That is silly. I totally agree with you. Why would it appear in the headlines? Maybe news is slow today? LOL xo

    1. Definitely a slow news day Halima! There are tonnes of Muslim models like Iman, Liya Kebede and Fatima Siad.

      I think it's refreshing to see a Muslim model but I don't see why this should all be a huge deal.

  3. I find this an odd headline to use, especially as said model is wearing nothing but a blazer. I am a muslim myself, and we are actually supposedly to dress 'modestly'. I don't think this qualifies as such. I am not actually that strict myself, but
    I can see this headline and going on about the fact that she is a muslim causing great offence to more traditional muslims, cos she blatantly isn't one in anything but name...Why can't they just market her as a woman of colour, or would that be too obvious. Sorry rant over!

  4. I think there are so many issues here... After I thought about it I realised that Lancome would have had to have 'PR-ed' the story for it to be picked up in the national press, so they obviously think it's newsworthy. I personally don't get why it's such an issue, like you said especially in light of Freda Pinto for L'Oreal, but at least it's a positive thing that a huge brand are recognising diversity and the need for models suitable for all markets. Interesting debate!

    And Maria, the headline came from the content of the original article.

  5. Yes, sorry. I wasn't suggesting it was your headline...just find the headline (which I presumed came from Lancome) very irritating. But as you say, they've got the coverage they wanted out of it...x

  6. I think the thing is, Muslim is not a race, it's a belief system, and I really don't care what the beliefs are of a person that's being photographed to advertise me a product.

    Maybe if it had been the first Tunisian woman, or the first Middle-Eastern woman, then that's something positive to share as a brand to show that they're embracing the multi-cultural world we live in, but telling me where and how she worships is no-one else's business but her's


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