By Emily Parker | Aug 20 2011artistic expression , Arts , culture , Kenza Fourati , model
Kenza Fourati is Tunisia’s newest supermodel sensation.Â The 23-year old was born in Lille, France, but Fourati’s family moved to Tunisia when she was only two months old.Â She attended a French lycee in Tunisia and began modeling after graduating from high school.Â Shortly thereafter, Fourati moved to Paris.Â She received a degree in French Literature from Sorbonne and has begun a Master’s program in filmmaking.
Fourati is currently represented by Elite Model Management.Â She began working for the agency after winning third place in the 2002 Elite Model Look competition at the age of 15.Â She has appeared in numerous international magazines, such as Belgium Elle, Vogue, and Marie Claire, and has attended countless Fashion Weeks.
The young model blasted onto the modeling scene and international stage after appearing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2011.Â As the first Arab Muslim model to be featured in the magazine, she raised debates in Tunisian society and abroad about what it means to be Muslim and about variety within the religion.Â In an interview with Global Grind, Kenza asserted, “I grew up in a Muslim culture, but I can still be a swimsuit model too! Why should the two be exclusive? It is not…I am very supported back home.”
Post-revolution, Kenza has been an advocate for artistic expression in Tunisia.Â In the same interview with Global Grind, Fourati commented, “We are at a point now in Tunisia where we are free.Â We should be able to portray art like this if we want to, as the extremists are allowed to express themselves, too. That is a debate that we want to create, but it must be a peaceful one.”