Wednesday May 22nd, 2024
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Moroccan Model Yasmine Dinar's Next Act is Behind the Camera

Is there room in the industry for models producing their own shoots? Morocco’s Yasmine Dinar is pushing that theory to its fullest logical extent.

Mai El Mokadem

Moroccan Model Yasmine Dinar's Next Act is Behind the Camera

Love and art over fear—this is the anchor that Moroccan model and creative producer Yasmine Dinar lives by. As expressed by a wise friend of Dinar’s back in Vancouver, Canada, this mantra has become her go-to when faced with a tricky decision or a creative leap. Thanks to this philosophy, Dinar has shed her fear, revealing her vulnerable side and unveiling what fuels her soul in a dynamic, albeit harsh, industry.

“Is it coming out of a place of fear, or love?” Dinar recalls questioning her choices, honing in on one particular challenging decision she took recently; moving from in front of the camera to behind it. While Dinar is primarily recognized as a model who has collaborated with brands such as Fendi, Balenciaga, Just Cavalli, Okhtein, and Zyne, she has also ventured into a new endeavour: creative production. “It’s a new interest that has been cultivating, but, at the same time, it’s not,” she reveals. When she first got into modelling at 18 in Canada, she began by exploring everything without subscribing to labels. From modelling to set design to conceptual direction, Dinar spent her time cultivating creative visions for those closest to her. “I would just create things in my garage with my best friend and bring together concepts, then as life went on, I kind of forgot about this side of me.”

Though this aspect lay buried in Dinar’s soul, it now stirs within her, emerging with a resounding roar. “I've explored so much in front of the camera, and recently I've been wanting to delve into behind-the-scenes work. It's an intense process from pre-production to the actual shoot to post-production, and I just love organising everything and bringing people together,” she explains. Fear not, Dinar is not forsaking one for the other. While aiming to continue modelling, the Moroccan beauty revealed that she's seeking representation by an agency to allow time for her other creative endeavours and relieve herself of the responsibility of freelancing and self-management. “The process behind a shoot is more amazing than the actual result. The work done is just as stunning and mesmerising.”

Dinar maintains strict standards when it comes to both modelling and producing a shoot, believing that mixing the two would compromise the shoot’s quality. “The lifestyles of a model and someone working behind the camera are completely different. As a creative producer, you don’t get much sleep, you’re up for hours, and there's a lot of anxiety and stress involved. On the other hand, in front of the camera, it's your responsibility to arrive on set well-rested and to sleep early, for example.” During production, there are often last-minute changes or people flaking, necessitating quick solutions, but Dinar still finds it incredibly rewarding. “It’s hectic and stressful, but it’s also satisfying. It's like saying, ‘I did that.’

Discerning in her approach to work, Dinar provides insight into how she selects the right projects for herself. “It has to begin with a story. It must convey a message, and the end result should speak for itself, resonating with whoever views the images. Actually, I prefer not to explicitly outline the concept of the shoot because I want people to interpret it for themselves.”

Despite majoring in political science and international studies, Dinar's life took a sharp turn when she decided to pursue modelling, which began in 2021 while on vacation in Egypt. Interestingly enough, Dinar has spent her life hopping from country to country, without a specific hometown, including Tunisia, Niger, Gabon, Morocco, Qatar, and Egypt. “Growing up in diverse cultures and environments has been a blessing. It has exposed me to new opportunities and perspectives.” As for her first professional project, it was a shoot with Rafik Zaki that propelled her modelling career.

However, Dinar herself put the brakes on her career after this shoot. “Even after modelling in Egypt, I felt this imposter syndrome and I went back to Canada, pushing away anything to do with a modelling career. But I decided to move back to Egypt and get my life back on track.” After that, it was project after project for Dinar. “My first project back was with Okhtein. I hadn’t modelled for a whole year, and I still didn't feel confident about returning to modelling.” And as it would turn out, this shoot was a milestone and turning point for the model. “After that shoot, I wasn’t afraid anymore. In a way, it confirmed that I was back on the right track and fully embracing my identity.”

While some individuals might become overly self-assured after collaborating with prominent names and luxury brands, Dinar is the opposite, holding onto the principle that it's not the brand she works with that makes a shoot special, but rather the atmosphere of the shoot. “I’m very passionate about passion, and it's something that I require in everything. When a place is filled with people who share that passion, you can feel the positive energy behind the work, creating a safe environment where everyone can thrive.

“Last year, I shot with Mamzi for her campaign in Aswan, and it was such a beautiful trip. I still recall it vividly, and it remains one of my favourite shoots. In contrast, some projects with larger, more established brands didn't provide the same level of enjoyment, so I moved on from those experiences,” Dinar tells Scene Styled. “With emerging brands, there's often more room for creativity and enjoyment as they build their reputations. I even have a list of smaller brands I'd love to collaborate with, both as a model and as a producer, simply because of the passion they bring to their work.”

When asked about her self-image in the demanding industry of modelling, Dinar reveals that she's actually never experienced self-doubt or felt the need for competition. “Competing often stems from fear and a sense of scarcity because you're afraid someone might outshine you.” At the end of the day, Dinar wholeheartedly believes that everyone is unique and creative for a reason, “we all need to let our light shine without diminishing others.”

That doesn’t mean that Dinar hasn’t experienced prejudice at castings; she just handles it with grace. Standing at 5’7”, which is the minimum required height for models in the vast majority of areas, she’s certainly not the tallest in the room. “I suppose that I should feel like I have more to prove or show up more to be cast, but I don’t feel that way. This is who I am, this is what I look like, my body does so much for me, and it’s a vessel for my soul that I’m so grateful for,” she explains. “I won’t allow someone to tell me I’m not good enough.”

Other than her height, the comment she receives most often is about her curly hair, with many suggesting she straighten it. “The industry craves curls, but not the authentic, full-bodied kind. They desire the appearance of curls, but not genuine ones. They seek a curly-haired look, yet often cast straight-haired models and curl their hair, and vice versa.” She also believes that the industry is evolving, with people now seeking more personality and qualities that shine through more than anything else. “If I fit the profile, great. If I don’t, then I'm sure there are plenty of beautiful, amazing, and talented models who can do the job just as well.”

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