“I used to live the life other people expected of me and until I realized I was unhappy, now I am doing what I really want, and I encourage other young Moroccan girls to do the same,” she told MWN.
Rabat – This year’s edition of Arab Next Top Model, an international competition with 53 contestants held in Beirut, saw Moroccan model Sofia Saidi take home the “Miss Arab” crown on the night of Saturday, June 29.
The young model, who was born in Rabat, began modeling three years ago in Casablanca and has since taken her career to an international level – from Beirut to Paris, where she is now based.
Although she works hard on her modeling career, Saidi told Morocco World News that it is important to be well-rounded, so her education and career will always come first.
“For me having a good academic background is a must. We are in an ever-changing world, today everything is going so fast, so for me, modeling is a passion but I know for sure that I will not do this all my life. So I wanted to succeed in my academic career in conjunction with modeling,” she said.
And succeed she has. After gaining a bachelor degree in international management, Saidi went on to obtain two master degrees from the Panthéon-Assas University Paris II, one in strategic organizational and technological evolutionism where she was the valedictorian, and the second in strategic management and entrepreneurship.
“I was working as a project chief manager at PSA group in Paris when I was contacted by World Next Top Model to represent my beautiful country, Morocco,” she explained.
“I jumped at the opportunity to represent Arabic beauty and to show the world that you can care about your appearance and beauty, as well as building a good academic background.”
Although, Saidi admitted the balance is not always simple. “It wasn’t easy to prepare for the competition and juggle my studies, especially at the beginning. When I finished class and all my comrades were going home, and I had to go to photo shoots,” she said.
“I was tired but when you are driven by a passion, it doesn’t matter. It’s like when you go to the gym after a difficult session, even though it’s hard you will never regret it.”
And the hard work clearly paid off, with Saidi taking home the crown last night.
“This title means a lot to me. I’ve been for the competition for about a year. I started to go seriously to the gym to be in the best shape possible, as well as working on my speech to the Lebanese press.”
“I also worked a lot to enhance my beauty in a natural way, and I had to practice my runway walk a lot. The competition wasn’t easy, but I made it now I can say I am Miss Arab World Next Top Model 2019.”
Keeping in touch with her Moroccan roots
The win will surely be a boost to her growing modeling career, which will continue to take her around the world. However, no matter how much she travels, she told MWN that Morocco will always remain close to her heart.
“Morocco will always be a part of me, it will always be my country and the place I feel most relaxed.”
“For me, Moroccan culture is above all about sharing an environment that is both oriental and western. This mix is the wealth of this beautiful country,” she said when asked what being Moroccan means to her.
“I’m lucky to be Moroccan because this nationality is one of the few that adapts to different environments and backgrounds easily, both linguistically and socially,” she continued.
She also wanted to give a message to young Moroccan girls who dream big like her. “Pursue your dreams and to never listen to anyone who discourages you, because if you want something you can get if you work hard enough.
“It won’t be easy. It wasn’t easy for me, and I had to struggle a lot to attain everything I wanted, and of course there will always be people who will tell you it is impossible and who will try to drag you down, but the best strategy is to ignore them and to live your life at its fullest.”
“I used to live the life other people expected of me and until I realized I was unhappy, now I am doing what I really want, and I encourage other young girls to do the same,” she said.
“Although it’s hard, my education and my background helped me a lot with dealing with the problems I encounter in the modeling industry, as well as in my everyday life, so it’s all worth it.“