Thanks to support from her brother, in 2010 she made it onto the catwalks, where her contemporary beauty and natural elegance instantly drew attention The Maison Lancôme is delighted to announce the arrival of Hanaa Ben Abdesslem as a new brand spokesperson. At just 22, Hanaa has quickly become one of the must-see faces in international fashion. Born in the Tunisian city of Nabeul, she studied engineering before going on to realise her childhood dream of modelling. Thanks to support from her brother, in 2010 she made it onto the catwalks, where her contemporary beauty and natural elegance instantly drew attention.
Hanaa is the perfect embodiment of the most contemporary beauty imaginable: a sunny and intense beauty, infused with rare charisma. With her poised allure, feline grace and almond-shaped eyes, she encapsulates all the features of quintessentially French elegance and the simultaneously soft and sensual femininity of the Lancôme woman. And it was in the beginning of 2011 - a time when her country was entering a new era - that Hanaa’s career truly took off as she began to appear for the world’s major fashion designers, who chose her to head up their prêt-à-porter and Haute Couture catwalks shows. In turn, the most prestigious international magazines fell under the spell of her resplendent beauty, celebrating her unique allure as the symbol of an all-new generation. Editorial after editorial, the press is always brimming with enthusiasm and admiration for Hanaa. Hanaa is the perfect embodiment of the most contemporary beauty imaginable: a sunny and intense beauty, infused with rare charisma. With her poised allure, feline grace and almond-shaped eyes, she encapsulates all the features of quintessentially French elegance and the simultaneously soft and sensual femininity of the Lancôme woman.“It’s incredible how much Hanaa reminds me of Isabella Rossellini,” explains Youcef Nabi, President of Lancôme International. “Her universal beauty simply channels the je-ne-sais-quoi that makes the uniqueness, strength and charm of every Lancôme woman.” In tune with the world around her, Hanaa is at the very heart of this new vision of a committed, enlightened femininity. She thus sponsors the Esmaani association, a source of aid for the most underprivileged deaf and dumb children in Lebanon. She is also deeply involved in the development of her own country, supporting the United Nations’ aid project programme for Tunisia’s transition to democracy. “It’s incredible how much Hanaa reminds me of Isabella Rossellini,” explains Youcef Nabi, President of Lancôme International. “Her universal beauty simply channels the je-ne-sais-quoi that makes the uniqueness, strength and charm of every Lancôme woman.”
Hanaa was born in Nabeul, a coastal village around a hundred kilometres from Tunis, to a traditional Tunisian family who have always supported her in the realisation of her dream: to become a model. Today, Hanaa continues to share experiences and behind-the-scenes stories with her loved ones.HANAA BEN ABDESSLEM BIOGRAPHY
At the age of five, Hanaa had no knowledge of words like “catwalk” or “fashion show”. She imagined herself growing up to be a ballerina. Yet, with her fascination for clothes, make-up and the elegant women she glimpsed in magazines, her love for sketching in her poetry journal, Hanaa always demonstrated her creative streak. She continues to draw and paint today. As a teenager, she would share tips on how to move her body and eyes as well as make different facial expressions with her brother Walid, who has since become an actor. Accompanying her brother to numerous auditions, she discovered the world of theatre. Around this time, she also followed the programme “Mission Fashion,” the Lebanese equivalent of the American show “Project Runaway”. Despite feeling that she was too tall and skinny, she decided to apply and three months later she had claimed second place. More importantly, Hanaa had discovered a profession that did not yet exist in her home country.
Despite her success in the show, Hanaa opted to continue her education. While studying civil engineering, she was approached by several local journalists who had seen her in “Mission Fashion”. Nonetheless, Hanaa was always surprised by the tone of their questions. Thus, as her fame grew, Hanaa took a decision to change the views held about modelling in Tunisian society.
Thanks to the experience she had already gained, Hanaa was approached by a number of artists and designers. Working with them, she was able to raise awareness of the profession. She also advised several designers regarding the best way to showcase their collections. Media attention was ever growing. Hanaa met with ever more figures and professionals in the fashion world who all encouraged her to pursue her dream, however impossible it might appear. One woman would transform her destiny.
A Saudi agent Hanaa met at a party shared her vision: to reveal the modelling profession to the Arab world. Working with this agent, Hanaa decided it was time to enter the big league. She flew to Paris, where she was introduced to IMG, one of the leading fashion agencies. Towards the end of July 2010, Hanaa met Carine Roitfeld, then editor in chief at Vogue Paris. The latter introduced her to Riccardo Tisci, who booked her exclusively for the Givenchy autumn-winter 2010-2011 show. Chanel, Hermès, Giambattista Valli, Jean Paul Gaultier, Tom Ford, Anna Sui, Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta would all fall under the spell of her slender frame, her eyes filled with confidence one moment and fragility the next, and the innate professionalism demonstrated under all circumstances by this debutante model.
The following March, Vogue Paris would devote several pages to Hanaa. The photographs were accompanied by the following text: “While the giants of cosmetics are finally beginning to fight over alternative and ethnic beauties, Hanaa, who is pushing for the independence of the Arab woman, could well become the figurehead of the post-orientalist movement”. A career was launched.
In spite of her globe trotting and hectic diary, Hanaa’s commitment remains unwavering. She strongly believes in the potential role Arab women could play in the fashion industry and is fully aware of the representative role she has taken on today. She is also sponsor and spokesperson for the Esmaani association (“Listen to me” in Arabic), a non-governmental organisation that comes to the aid of deaf and dumb children. Due to the turmoil witnessed in Tunisia in recent months, Esmaani has been compelled to work with a great many people, often refugees, living in highly dangerous circumstances. Hanaa's commitment has not gone unnoticed by the UNO: today, she is in contact with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has recently launched a programme focused on the democratic transition of Tunisia.
Hanaa has also just been selected as the latest spokesperson for the Maison Lancôme. From January 2012, she will become the new face of Lancôme, alongside Daria Werbowy, Elettra Wiedemann and Arlenis Sosa.