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Nadia Aboulhosn

Nadia Aboulhosn

by Rakhee Bhatt

When it comes to taking risks in life, Nadia Aboulhosn isn’t one to shy away. The Lebanese-American blogger, designer and Wilhelmina model has been taking swift leaps and bounds in pursuit of her fashion dreams for almost a decade, pioneering body positivity all along her journey.

Powerful Profile: Nadia Aboulhosn

After starting her blog in 2010 as a creative outlet, Aboulhosn’s path towards success has seen her move from her native Orlando to New York, to then Los Angeles and back to New York—the latter move allowing her the opportunity to find a modeling agency that would represent her. With appearances in editorial shoots for outlets like Vogue Italia and Teen Vogue and clothing designs for Boohoo and Addition Elle, Aboulhosn is just getting warmed up.

Here, we chat with Aboulhosn about the shifting dynamics in consumers driving inclusivity, how to handle negative comments with grace, and why it’s important to celebrate the small wins in life.

Powerful Profile: Nadia Aboulhosn

Q & A with Nadia Aboulhosn

How did you get started as a model?

Seventeen magazine reached out to me within the first year of me blogging asking if I would model for them. I literally was like “Yes” and flew to New York to shoot with them. Shortly after that, I submitted myself in an American Apparel model contest and won it, then flew to Los Angeles to shoot with them.

Did you feel represented in the mainstream culture growing up? Was there someone famous you looked to for inspiration as a kid?

I somewhat feel like in the ‘90s there was more representation I would see on TV. I use to watch Living Single with Queen Latifah and felt like I could relate. When I started really getting into fashion I looked towards Lady Gaga, who made me feel less like I was an outcast even though she didn't have my same body shape. There wasn't the greatest representation, but I still found something I could try to relate to in some aspect.

You’ve lived in both Los Angeles and New York. Have you noticed any differences between those two cities in the modeling industry or fashion in general?

New York is more progressive for sure. I feel like New York can make anything happen because people are constantly working on change and sort of moving that wheel of what's next. Los Angeles is coming along, just not as quickly as New York.

Do you feel that the fashion and beauty industries are becoming more inclusive?

Absolutely. I feel like they are being more inclusive because they have to be. It's demanded more. Social media is the direct connect with the consumer. If they demand something, the fashion and beauty industries are eventually forced to. Not enough sizes—we're coming for you. Not enough shades of foundation—we're coming for you.

What are your thoughts on fashion terminology such as plus-size, size-inclusive, and curve?

I use to say I wish there were no plus size/curve/etc. terminology because if a brand is truly inclusive, then the terms aren't needed. Really, I don't think it's my place to speak for everyone. I can only say what I think, and what I think is some people may not like the labels. On the other hand, some people may be empowered by those same labels.

It can be jarring to anyone to receive negative comments on social media, but those in the spotlight seem to get the brunt of it. What do you think is the best way for others to handle this type of commentary?

I use to respond to people, but with age and experience, I rarely dwell in it. The moment I see something negative, it's deleted and the person is blocked. If I wouldn't allow it to be said to my face without walking away, why would I allow it online? I'm only on Earth for a short time. I don't want to spend that time and energy on something negative. Although there are days I want to be petty, I don't want to hurt someone even if they're trying to hurt me. I'd say to avoid it and go on with your life, and put that energy into bettering yourself.

You gave a Ted Talk in 2018 about your life where you discussed learning how to tie one of those clear plastic fruit bags as a kid at the grocery store and how that determination has stayed with you. How can other women cultivate that same self-confidence within themselves?

I think it's important to focus on what you're good at and what you love about yourself rather than focusing on what you don't. Most people don't give themselves enough credit. I congratulate myself even on small wins.

Is there a motto that you live by?

My motto is what others think of me is none of my business.

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