Half Moroccan/half Pakistani Mariah Idrissi has been making waves in the fashion industry for a number of reasons, but most notably, she was H&M’s first ever hijab (headscarf) wearing model. Since then, Mariah hasn’t looked back and even has a TEDxTeen talk under her belt. We sat down with her to find out more about how life has been since shooting into the spotlight.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
I’ve had loads of amazing advice given, so it’s hard to pick one. But right now, I’m thinking of my older cousin who told me to always forgive others in hope that God will forgive you, for you to have true inner peace.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Haagen Dazs’ waffles with ice-cream.
Tell us the most surprising thing that people may not know about you:
I dream every single night, without fail.
What’s the biggest misconception about the fashion and modelling industry?
People think that now it’s possible for a Muslim woman in hijab to become a runway model, when in reality, unless she’s willing to take it off backstage when getting ready in front of other male models and designers, this will understandably never happen.
What’s the most stressful thing about your job?
Skipping meals because I don’t get enough time in the day to eat, and I enjoy eating, so this is a stress at times!
Do you have any style icons and/or fashion inspirations?
No one in particular. I like the idea of having my own style and just simply skimming through random Instagram pages and celebrities for inspiration at times.
What are your goals for 2016?
I have many, but I’d like my actions to speak louder than my words.
Since the H&M campaign, you’ve been named a “badass woman” and “one of the millennial women who redefined the standards of beauty in 2015” – did you ever expect it to become so popular so quickly?
I didn’t expect this at all, but I am so grateful to be in this position and excited to give back some positivity to the world.
What do you think you’d be doing now if it wasn’t for this campaign and modelling?
I had only finished university a few months prior, so I would have been trying to work in a relevant field to my degree, as well as finalising my business plans I had been working on whilst studying. I had also opened a salon with my cousin just before the campaign came out, so I would have given that more attention too.
You were scouted on Instagram – tell us more about this:
I was actually put forward by my friend who has a small casting agency and she said H&M were scouting people on Instagram, but hadn’t found what they were looking for, and asked her if she knew anyone relevant, so she sent them my Instagram page to look at, and the rest is history!
Do you tend to do your own make-up?
Along with many others, you were at the TedX talk; who there did you find inspiring?
I found Mukunda’s talk incredibly inspiring.
What emoji are you?
Definitely the laughing crying face one!
Would you rather live in the house of your dreams, but it doesn’t have internet access or 3G, or your current home for the rest of your life?
I’m going to be cheeky and say the house of my dreams wouldn’t be the house of my dreams if it didn’t have internet access!
Would you rather fight 100 duck sized horses, or one horse sized duck?
One horse sized duck – I like a challenge.
Mariah is managed by Streamline PR.