I had to wait a little while to share this because I didn’t have any photos until just recently, and without any photographic proof I can’t just say “Oh, also, I spent one afternoon on a rooftop in Amman, wearing traditional Muslim clothing, modeling for a fashion oriented photo-shoot for an LGBT Middle Eastern magazine. No big deal.”
Photo by Raneem Al-Daoud
So here is what happened. During a day spent walking round a couple historical sites in Amman, I was approached on the street by Khalid and Raneem, asking if I would be interested in doing a photo shoot. I was ready to say “Yes, absolutely, yes.” but got a few more details first. Raneem is a photographer and the photos would accompany an article concerning religion and fashion for Khalid’s magazine – MyKali. We exchanged emails and set up a time to make things happen, which ended up being our last day in Amman.
The idea of a Middle Eastern LGBT magazine was still a new concept in my head when I got out of the cab to meet up with Khalid. Walking up the stairs to their office space, I had no idea what to expect. The door opened to a room full of people I was soon introduced to. Wardrobe people, makeup people, photographers, videographers, assistants, and the other model- Nadine. A board with my name on it listed three wardrobe changes. Legit.
I spent maybe half an hour getting my make up done by Luca while sipping tea and listening to Florence and the Machine. Fabulous.
Photo by Raneem Al-Daoud
A quick self shot in the dressing room.
Florence and the Machine followed us up to the roof where we spent the rest of the afternoon.
Lots of children laughing from the neighboring building at the site of this blonde bearded guy with the bright socks.
Over the dishdasha, I was outfitted in a black leather biker jacket. Khalid rolled up the sleeves to make sure the tattoos were in full view, but my favorite part was the black and white houndstooth lining, a pattern used for keffiyeh scarves.
Raneem shot both Nadine and I as long as there was daylight left. I got to wear some stylin’ clothes and meet some very cool people. Not to mention kickstart my modeling career. Thanks Khalid, Raneem and everyone else I met that day. It was all so unexpected and so much fun. Glad I was able to be a part of it.
See more photos and read the full article “Tastes Like Religion” by Aysha El-Shamayleh.
See the BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO by Ala’a Abu Qasheh and Mustafa Rashed.
Check out Raneem Al Daoud’s incredible photography work.
And Jordan’s pioneering magazine, MyKali, “an online social and lifestyle magazine, that fights repressive forms, norms and stereotypes through art therapy, photography and psychology. Tackling issues of women rights, personal politics, sexuality, freedom of speech, media, and LGBTQ.”