Meet the Muslim model revolutionising Australian fashion
It was a statement Hanan Ibrahim had heard from plenty of people during her young life. "You should be a model," they would tell her. And for the longest time, the 27-year-old didn't think to entertain the notion as anything more than a passing compliment.
"I never imagined that a woman who wears a hijab would - or could - be used as a model," Ibrahim tells Stellar. She only began to consider the possibility after attending a runway show in February 2018. It was there she was approached by a talent scout and eventually made her way to last year's prestigious Melbourne Fashion Festival, where she was the first participant to walk its runway in a hijab.
"When I was asked by a designer to walk for [Melbourne Fashion Festival], it gave me the push to pursue something that always seemed like a distant dream," says Ibrahim, who is one of the only Muslim models in Australia. So she decided to halt her full-time work as a radiation therapist and instead took on casual jobs in an effort to give herself the flexibility to take more modelling gigs.
Ibrahim is proud of what she has accomplished - so, too, are her family, friends and the Muslim community as a whole, she says. "They are so ecstatic for me. For the first time in this country, they have someone who looks and dresses like them being celebrated in beauty and fashion. To work in an industry that many of us young Muslim girls have never felt represented in is a huge honour and privilege.
"It would mean the world to me if I can inspire even one young girl and make her feel less alone in a world that has been designed to separate us - but is slowly shifting to one that is celebratory of our differences."
Originally published as Meet the Muslim model revolutionising Australian fashion