Zayneb Azzam Taking Egypt By Storm

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What I really believe in is that you can be whoever you want to be, and get whatever you want to get, if you put in the hard-work and effort. Nothing is impossible.
— Zayneb Azzam

Young and glamorous, Zayneb Azzam is a modeling force to be reckoned with. Her culturally-diverse background and vibrant personality only add to the natural beauty that won her the privilege of being one of Egypt’s top models.

Zayneb Azzam is a highly-acclaimed model based in Cairo. She was born in London, to an Egyptian father and Turkish mother. Zayneb spent much of her childhood growing up in New York City, before moving to her home country upon completing high school. She decided to pursue an undergraduate degree specializing in psychology at the American University in Cairo, and that is where her passion turned into profession.

As a college student, Zayneb accepted an offer to model for a local brand.. and she hasn’t looked back ever since. She has built a competitive repertoire that not only places her amongst the top models in Egypt, but challenges the Middle East as a whole.

Bracing our debut cover, Zayneb’s combination of impeccable style and contagious confidence fits perfectly with Grail and the essence of our debut issue. We had the distinct honor of interviewing Zayneb Azzam on the sidelines of our exclusive photoshoot.

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Tell us one thing that the public may not know about you. A talent, hobby, anything.

Something that the public may not notice about me is that I’m actually very private. It seems as if my whole life is on Instagram, but that’s only 10% of what’s truly happening. The other 90% is very private. I never share what’s going on with my personal life and family. Not even to my close friends. So, one thing that the public doesn’t know about me is that I’m generally a very private person.

When did you start modeling?

My first modeling gig was when I was in university and I would fly back to New York to work at the Abercrombie & Fitch flagship on Fifth Avenue as one of the models on the floor. That was my first modeling experience. But during my last year at university, my friend, Malak El-Ezzawy, offered me to model for her successful brand named after her. And that was my first ever photoshoot.

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What’s your favorite part about your job?

My favorite part of my job would be when the stylist is dressing me up, and they experiment with different styles. Sometimes this impacts my own wardrobe and style for the long-run. Also, when makeup artists work on me, I learn from them and their techniques. So I like taking my work home and using what I learn from the different stylists and professionals I work with. So that’s really fun. And that in return has built up my own style over the past couple years.

Growing up, were you always passionate about the modeling industry?

Not at all. I was pursuing an undergraduate degree in psychology in Cairo and was already planning to take on my post-graduate studies in San Francisco. Transitioning my focus to modeling was a very random, spontaneous thing that popped up after my experience modeling for Malak El Ezzawy. I enjoyed it and knew it was for me, so I decided to go for it. At the time, there were very few Egyptians in the modeling industry, so I found myself being requested a lot and it was very exciting. Nowadays, I’m picky with who I work with and the styles I choose to wear and promote, so it’s definitely more laid back. But as for the question, no. Growing up, I didn’t envision myself in the modeling industry at all.

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Who is your favorite fashion designer at the moment?

I have to name two for this one. Elisabetta Franchi and Jonathan Simkhai. I love their work. Their designs are really sleek and attractive. Not very revealing, but attractive. And it’s definitely my style to be sleek and sophisticated.

If you could describe your fashion sense in one word, what would it be?

Intimidating.

What is Zayneb’s go-to look for a night out?

I definitely follow a formula. If the bottom is loose, the top has to be tight. And vice-versa. I love to show my legs, so if the outing is appropriate, I’d wear a skirt or something. I like being casual and down-to-earth, so I’d wear a cool outfit and throw on sneakers or boots rather than heels. Another thing to point out, I do focus on make-up more than the outfit. Just my priorities.

Is there a certain fashion item you feel goes well with your identity?

Anything leather.

Are you more of the simplistic type or do you prefer the glamour?

I love the glamour. I hate wearing a boring outfit, no matter where I’m going. I do not like being simplistic at all. So yeah, I prefer the glamour.

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What are your secrets to having such gorgeous glowing skin?

Well, I used to betray my skin so much. I regularly neglected my skin until I learned how impactful beauty products can be. I would watch beauty bloggers and online videos suggesting different products and routines, and I began experimenting with them. And honestly, I wish I would’ve been aware of all this much sooner.

In terms of the secrets behind my skincare, I would say making sure to remove all products at night before going through my evening skin routine. Followed by another skin routine in the morning. Sunscreen is a big secret for me. I recently started using sunscreen and noticed a huge difference in the quality of my skin. Moisturizer is big for me too. I would say those two, which many tend to ignore, are the main secrets of my routine.

Do you have a certain skincare routine?

Simply put, here’s my routine.

Exfoliator using Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Brightening Exfoliating Daily Cleanser, Toner using Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion, Daily Pads using Zo Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads, Moisturizer using Zo Skin Health Renewal Creme with drops of Clarins Energy Booster oil, and topping it all off with Sunscreen using Zo Skin Health Daily Sheer Broad Spectrum.

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What can we expect from Zayneb in 2019?

I’ll be attending Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week, so those should be both fun and fruitful. Also, I’m looking to start working on my business venture this year which I’m very excited about. It’ll revolve around skincare, and it’ll be called Skin Hub. It will be somewhat of a ‘beauty school’ and will serve as a place one can go to learn skincare techniques, makeup routines, and maybe even get a facial. It’s still in its beginning stages, but I’m hoping to get it up and running by the end of this year. I’m also considering moving to Dubai for a few months to test the market there. Another industry I’d love to get into is the film industry. I’m interested in improving my Arabic and seeking some acting opportunities.

Lead your own path and do you.
— Zayneb Azzam

You have one sentence, quote, insight.. to offer the world. What is it?

What I really believe in is that you can be whoever you want to be, and get whatever you want to get, if you put in the hard-work and effort. Nothing is impossible. You just have to put your mind to it. I don’t believe it will fall into the palm of your hands, because I do know you have to get out there and get it. That’s my message to those who are ambitious with their goals. I really do believe the sky is the limit.

And for aspiring models, please don’t let anyone tell you no. Do your thing, if you think you’ve got what it takes. If you fail to find modeling opportunities or photoshoots to kickstart you, arrange your own photoshoot. Don’t wait for others to lead you if you’re hit with barriers. Lead your own path and do you.


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