Tala and the Tastemakers: An Interview with Supermodel Hanaa Ben Abdesslem

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Hanaa Ben Abdesslem
Photo: Courtesy of Lancôme

In this month’s edition of Tala and the Tastemakers, contributing editor Tala Samman taps Tunisian supermodel Hanaa Ben Abdesslem.

Hanaa Ben Abdesslem made shock waves in the Arab world when she was announced as the face of Lancôme – one of the first times a woman of Arab descent has performed such a role for a large-scale beauty company. Since then, Ben Abdesslem has become a role model and inspiration for women in the Middle East and beyond. Right now, you can find her walking the runway at international Fashion Weeks and enjoying a fast-paced life of travel, fashion, and fun. Though she has access to and appreciation for the industry’s top designers, Ben Abdesslem’s personal shopping preferences might surprise, and so will her personal style. This down-to-earth beauty prefers finding unique pieces in far-flung locales and wearing jeans and T-shirts to the fashion world’s more flashy fare. Find out more about her beauty regimen, approach to healthy living, and her favorite designers in this edition of Tala and the Tastemakers.

Hanaa Ben Abdesslem Lancome 2013
Photo: Courtesy of Lancôme

Where do you like to shop?
I love artisanal boutiques in Tunisia, as well as stores that offer unique pieces.

How would you describe your personal style?
My style is casual and consists mostly of jeans and T-shirts with a few accessories.

What influences your style?
My style is influenced by fashion trends and what I feel best reflects my personality.

What is your signature outfit?
I don’t have one; it really depends on the day.

Who are your favorite designers?
Azzedine Alaïa, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Givenchy.

What will you be wearing this summer?
I’ll be wearing long shirts in a variety of colors.

How do you stay healthy?
I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

What are your favorite travel destinations?
Istanbul, Dubai, and Lebanon.

What fitness regimen do you follow?
I go to the gym at least three times a week. I don’t have a personal trainer, but I work out with my manager and friend, Sophie.

What skin savior do you swear by?
My mother’s homemade rose water as a toner and Lancôme’s ‘Génifique’ line of products.

How do you pamper yourself?
I spend time with my family and my Dog, LOL, and have massage sessions.

What’s on your playlist?
I love listening to the latest mainstream music.

What are your travel essentials?
My beauty products, laptop, passport, and phone.

What are your favorite art galleries?
The art galleries of Tunisian town Sidi Bou Said and Mille Feuille in Marsa.

What’s your cooking specialty?
Tunisian Couscous; it reminds me of home.

What’s your coffee order?
Caramel macchiato.

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