Watch the models from the world’s first ‘modest modelling agency’
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A Muslim woman has taken the modelling industry by storm with her ‘modest modelling agency’.
Shannie Hammouda, from London, UK, launched the world’s first ‘modest modelling agency’ named UMMA in 2017.
Shannie and her best friend and head of Casting Nadia Harrak run the agency which helps aspiring models – who don’t want to compromise with their modesty – to get into modelling.
After converting to Islam, Shannie started the agency named UMMA which stands for United Modest Modelling Agency.
Shannie told Barcroft TV: “My modesty levels started changing, as I was changing my perception on life and the things that were important to me. And that made me have a look at the industry to see if that was represented anywhere and that’s basically how UMMA started.”
“UMMA stands for United Modest Modelling Agency, but ‘ummah’ is also as an Arabic word for ‘community’.”
Shannie used to run another modelling agency before UMMA that used to provide models for music videos.
But, it wasn’t modest at all.Then, Shannie decided to launch UMMA after converting to Islam.
UMMA has around 60 models currently, including religious Jewish and Christian models.
Shannie said: “They tend to choose us if they’ve got requirements – if they can’t be around men, if they need to pray or if they need to wear certain clothing but they still want to model and it’s still a hobby or an interest of theirs.”
Shannie wants to prevent “over-sexualisation” of young teenage models. She says teens are often given lingerie shoots and swimwear shoots which shouldn’t be for teenagers.
She said: “With us being a modest modelling agency, there isn’t any sexualisation within the modelling that we do. You have got the protection there that you are never going anywhere unchaperoned for a female. And also we are always [checking] if the work is appropriate for your age range.”
UMMA also provides modelling opportunities to men who don’t want to pose topless.
Shannie said: “It’s usually because the male models are not comfortable or looking to model without the tops off or showing skin, a lot of skin or maybe being in quite sexualized photo shoots and stuff.
So we have an option for those men.”
“I would love to see UMMA Models in the future being just as big as the biggest agency for models in the world.”
“And the reason being is because I feel that then we’ll have done our job at representing the diversity within the community”, she added.