Story makers

From Model and UNICEF Ambassador Halima Aden to Comedian Warchieff, meet the four trailblazing creatives making waves in the Middle East.


Halima Aden

Model & UNICEF Ambassador

Halima Aden’s career trajectory has been nothing short of meteoric. Born and raised in the Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya, Halima moved to the US with her family as a child as part of the US Refugee Resettlement program. At aged 19, she entered the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, making history – and headlines – as their first ever hijab and burkini-wearing model. “Right after the competition, [Fashion Editor] Carine Roitfeld reached out, IMG Models reached out...” Halima remembers. “After that, I became their first hijab-wearing model!”

Now a familiar face after landing the covers of Vogue Arabia, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit and CR Fashion Book, as well as joining UNICEF as an ambassador, Halima represents a legion of young women and girls who have long been underrepresented in the public eye. “Every little girl should have somebody that she can relate to,” she explains. “She should be able to look through a magazine and see somebody who has a similar style or upbringing. I take great pride in being that person for so many little girls.”


My favourite saying that I live by is: don’t change yourself, change the game. 

With her demanding work schedule, Halima’s golden rule when it comes to career success is to keep completely grounded in who you are. “Don’t ever change yourself,” says Halima. “My favourite saying that I live by is: don’t change yourself, change the game. You don’t have to conform. You can just be yourself.”

Silk shirt, trousers, cardigan and platform heels (all coming soon), Tess bag – Chloé / Turtleneck body (worn underneath) – Wolford / Rendez-vous 18ct rose-gold and alligator strap watch – Jaeger-LeCoultre / Headscarf – model’s own



Warchieff – real name Abu Hamdan – is one of the Middle East’s leading comedy actors, with a huge 3.9m following on Instagram alone. His online feed is an endless scroll of brilliantly deadpan comedy sketches and photos – interspersed with pictures of him alongside celebrities like A$AP Rocky, of course – that find themselves going viral across the internet on a regular basis. “When I was a kid, my mum used to play a lot of Disney movies, and they inspired me,” he says. “Now, I focus on how to create – acting, music videos or films; I love to create things.”

Jacket (coming soon), shirt and trousersKenzo / Trainers – Axel Arigato

Inspiration strikes when he can take time for himself and chill with friends – the light-hearted relief that this brings translates into his work online. “I like to laugh at stupid things,” he explains. “Humour, to me, is a natural situation. In Saudi, you have to build your own man cave – there are a lot of inside jokes.”


I like to laugh at stupid things. Humour is a natural situation.

Having previously shot for a Louis Vuitton campaign, Warchieff has a keen interest in fashion, and how personal style sends a direct message about who you are – apt for somebody whose ethos is all about self-expression. “I like Louis Vuitton, Rick Owens and Yohji Yamamoto,” he says. “I like to wear what I feel – colourful things and vintage pieces... It’s more about my personality; I like to express myself.”

Chndy wears: jacket and hoodieAmiri / Trousers – model’s own / Trainers – Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh / Warchieff wears: checked shirt and T-shirtAmiri / Trousers – model’s own / Trainers – Axel Arigato
Warchieff wears: jacket, T-shirt, jeans (coming soon) and trainersOff-White c/o Virgil Abloh / Chndy wears: Varsity jacket, jumper and jeans (coming soon), and trainersOff-White c/o Virgil Abloh

Aws Al-Jezairy


 “Being both an Arab and a journalist is definitely an advantage,” says Journalist and Video Producer Aws Al-Jezairy. “It’s nice to be able to represent my people on a global platform; to allow people to see the stories as they are and not through a Western narrative.”

Shift dress and cross-body bagValentino / Ice Cube earrings, Ice Cube bangle, Ice Cube gold ring and Ice Cube ring with diamonds – Chopard (available at Selfridges Oxford Street, London)

Aws’ started her career through the lens of photo journalism, before becoming a writer, editor and producer. “It was the only thing I felt passionate about,” she explains. “I wanted to find the best way to tell people stories.” Reporting on a wide range of human rights issues and cultural events across the globe, Aws also produced the award-winning documentary ‘Bil Arabi’ – a film based on the lives of young people in the Middle East. “The people I surround myself with all come from the region, so through these stories I feel connected. The creative scene in the Arab world at the moment is incredible. People are looking to the Middle East for inspiration nowadays.”


The creative scene in the Arab world at the moment is incredible. People are looking to the Middle East for inspiration.

Aws’ upbringing had a big influence on the work she throws herself into today. “I grew up in London with both cultures – my parents brought me up speaking only Arabic. I’ve always had these two identities that combine in different ways. I’ve learnt a lot from both sides, and that’s what makes me me.”

Dress and jacket – Alexander McQueen (both out of stock)  / Sunglasses – Gucci

Fatima Al Qadiri


Born in Senegal, raised in Kuwait and now based in Berlin, Musician and Producer Fatima Al Qadiri creates music that is a personal and uncompromising reflection of her life. Weaving together melodic synths, with grime and dubstep beats, her music is a heady mix of genres, creating a conceptual sound that feels impossible to define succinctly with any one label. “The way music is marketed, talked about, written about… it’s within the confines of genre. Which is, of course, useful, but at the same time if you want to venture out? It’s a trap.”

Jacket and shirt - model's own


The thing that gives you the most happiness – the thing that comes easily to you – is what you should be doing. Because, then, your job is play.  

For Fatima, her style is another way that allows her to side-step stereotypes. “It gives me great joy, because it’s my way of rebelling,” she explains. “Fashion is like a puzzle. It’s a person putting pieces together and it making sense. It’s also like cooking – like, how did they think to put chocolate and ginger together and make this? That’s what fashion is.”

For Fatima, fulfilment lies in really enjoying what you do. “The main thing is – follow your dream,” she laughs. “The thing that gives you the most happiness – the thing that comes easily to you – is what you should be doing. Because, then, your job is play.”