We first saw Bibi back in 2016, showing off her agile posing skills in Dazed Digital. Since then, this London based-beauty has had endless gorgeous editorials to her name and struts the runway like it’s her second nature. If you’ve seen her in Italian Vogue. i-D Magazine, or Harper’s Bazaar you will understand why we were thrilled to have her. Nevertheless, this lady has many sides to her. Here at 5’ELEVEN”, we had the chance of chatting with her about inclusivity, Waris Dirie, pharmacology, poetry and always remembering who you are. Find out why it was an absolute joy to have her.
Words by Simone Doreleijers.
What are the biggest perks and challenges of being a model?
The biggest perk I would say being able to travel and connect with people all over the world. It’s an experience I’ll be eternally grateful for. Personally, I would say the biggest challenge is dealing with rejection, but nonetheless, this only makes you stronger and is an experience I’ve learned to value.
What is the most valuable lesson from your upbringing that you use in the fashion industry?
To always remember who you are and to respect yourself and others.
Who inspires you and why?
Waris Dirie. She’s a phenomenal woman and a source of inspiration because of her extraordinary journey through life as a Somali woman, a model and a human rights activist. Her work for the Desert Flower Foundation (an organization that fights against female genital mutilation, saving lives across the world.) makes her a great role model for young Somali girls like myself.
What was the highlight in your career so far?
Travelling to and falling in love with New York.
What are your thoughts on diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry? What would you like to change?
I feel that diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry is improving and it’s beautiful to see. But we need to feel that it’s consistent and not just a ‘trend’. This means diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of fashion. For example, Casting models for a cover with diversity and inclusivity in mind is great but what about the photographer? The stylist? The production team?
What impact do you want to make on the modelling industry?
Through hard work and persistence, I’d like to think that I’ll serve as mentor for girls like me.
I saw some graduation pictures on your Instagram. Tell me about your degree and how you got into it.
I graduated with a degree in Pharmacology. I was always into science and I wanted to study something a little different. I loved it and I don’t regret it.
Your Instagram also features the ‘Sweet as Broken Dates: Lost Somali Tapes from the Horn of Africa’ album. I listened to it and loved it! Is there anything else that you want to share or teach us about your Somalian background?
I’m so glad you loved it!!! That’s put a massive smile on my face. If anything, other than music, its FOOD! My favourite I would recommend is the lamb sambuusa (samosas).
What outfit makes you feel best?
A colourful one that reflects my mood. Right now, I’m into green.
This is something that people would be surprised to learn about me:
I enjoy writing poetry and I plan on releasing some soon.
You are based in London, what are your 5 not-to-miss spots?
1. Battersea Park.
2. Nanban restaurant in Brixton (mouthwatering chicken!)
3. Farmacy restaurant in Notting Hill.
4. Retro woman – one my favourite vintage shops in London.
5. Grind & Co – for coffee lovers.
MakeUp by Linda Johansson at One Represent using Shiro Cosmetics.
Hair by Cher Savery using Moroccanoil. Photo assistant, Martina Lahore.
Fashion assistants, Victoria Fiorina and Gestine Bondad.
Bibi appears courtesy of Storm Management.
Find 'Express Yourself' Story inside the Fall Winter 2019 - Issue 3. Get your copy here.