Photographer: Alexis Breugelmans @alexisbreugelmansphoto
Fashion Designer: Louis Vuitton @louisvuitton
Makeup Artist: www.farahzulaikha.com @farahzulaikhabeauty
Female Model: Farah Zulaikha @therealfarahzulaikha
Supermodel and United Nations Ambassador Farah Zulaikha stars in a very special once-in-a-lifetime ad campaign for Louis Vuitton in cooperation with the Fondation Louis Vuitton and benefitting the French Heritage Society.
A trip into the wondrous world of Louis Vuitton, the viewer is transported on an iconic journey inside and atop the most important LV landmarks.
Our journey begins at the original Louis Vuitton family home and special orders workshop, the Atelier d’Asnières, or the “heart of Louis Vuitton”, where key pieces and special orders are created. Lost in time, roaming through sales registers, original photographs, bespoke creations and personal possessions of Princes, Maharajas and movie stars, grouped according to themes such as globalization, nature, and the avant-garde.
The living Louis Vuitton dream culminates on the roof of the Fondation Louis Vuitton Paris, in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel. Opened in 2014 at the initiative of Bernard Arnault to support and promote contemporary art, this magnificent institution was designed by American architect Frank Gehry. The building itself is considered the Fondation’s first work of art, adding a 21st century masterpiece to Paris’ impressive stock of architectural marvels. Situated in the Parisian forest Bois de Boulogne, the building’s glass sails rise above century-old trees, initiating a thought-provoking dialogue between the old and new, nature and art, thus setting the stage to contemplate the works of art within.
This exclusive LV branded photo story features some of the most beloved and recognizable Louis Vuitton confections including the “Catogram” collaboration by former Vogue editrix Grace Coddington, the LV “Twist” bag originally designed by Nicholas Ghesquiere, and the sold-out Louis Vuitton Lipstick Case.
FARAH ZULAIKHA moves easily from United Nations Ambassador to top model to humanitarian, musician and educator. It was a personal invitation to appear on Tyra Banks’s “The Tyra Show” that ignited her passion for the fashion arts and launched a storied career of star turns in fashion shows, ad campaigns and magazines as muse to some of the world’s top designers, including Versace, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Born, raised and schooled in the New York City area by philanthropically-minded parents, Farah has exhibited a sense of civic duty and global awareness from an early age. Growing up, she joined her family on charity missions focusing on poverty, hunger, access to medical care, conflict and human rights violations.
Coupled with her affinity for language – she speaks Spanish, Urdu, Hindi, Arabic, Punjabi and conversational Italian – and her ease in front of cameras and crowds, Farah is an impassioned international speaker and media personality. She thrives at the epicenter of social justice working to integrate her verve for style and beauty with her innate desire to help others.
Trained as a classical musician, Farah was invited to join the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall as a special guest violinist under the direction of Steven Reineke. Farah performed the complex arrangement of “Carol of The Bells” from the first violin section and was highlighted in PLAYBILL. Most recently, Farah partnered with award- winning multi-platinum songwriter/producer/artist duo Adrian Porter and Abraham Poythress aka AP Factor. Together, they co-wrote an original song, which resulted in a substantial donation to Urban Farming.
But it’s Farah’s work out of the spotlight that is often most inspiring. Farah volunteered in the shelter system in some of the most underserved areas. Because of her important work involving gender equality among young women and girls, Farah received the Distinguished International Humanitarian Leadership Award from the first and oldest women’s rights organization in the USA the National Council of Women of the United States At The United Nations (NCWUS/UN a member of UN ECOSOC). She was also named United Nations Ambassador for NCWUS by the late President, Mary E. Singletary.
Farah supported the #TimesUp movement in an official capacity as a United Nations Ambassador. In 2019, she attended the Bentonville Film Festival, which was co- founded by Geena Davis in conjunction with The Geena Davis Institute on Gender And Media. Embodying the slogan “If she can see it she can be it,” the pair walked the red carpet together. Most recently, Farah was invited as a United Nations Ambassador by Houston’s NRG Park to make history designating it as the first sports and entertainment facility to have the “No Trafficking Zone” designation.
Moved by the many survivors with whom she’s worked, Farah mines her biochemistry background
for change. She was the sole recipient of the Pancreum Diabetes Artificial Pancreas Award for her role in helping Pancreum to develop a revolutionary, modular, expandable, wearable artificial pancreas. She created her all-natural lip balms for domestic violence survivors affected by facial trauma. Lip products are donated to women’s crisis centers.
And now she has evolved into a “perfumista.” Her fragrance, named FARAH, is created in partnership with Scent Marketing Inc, the premier scent branding firm and world renowned IFF senior perfumer Laurent de Guernec and is scheduled for release late spring 2020. A portion of the proceeds will benefit human trafficking survivors. Today, Farah has married her love of social justice and fashion together and mined her grit and grace to create her own unique brand influencer. Through Farah’s current brand partnerships and social entrepreneurship, she can be found everywhere she thrives – at the epicenter of global awareness and social justice.
Learn more about the Farah via her official website www.FarahZulaikha.com!
Could you share how you expand your vision of art, fashion?
As a world recognized model, United Nations Award-Winning Ambassador, philanthropist and humanitarian. Farah discovered a new way to empower, educate and give with the introduction of her namesake scent.
Developed in partnership with Scent Marketing Inc. and the world’s top perfumer IFF, the “Farah” fragrance awakens a sense of instant confidence and provokes a desire to stand taller and hold your head higher while enjoying a sense of self-reliance and inner strength.
This daring fragrance envelops with Tiare flower, gardenia, patchouli heart, purple plum, tonka bean, liquid amber, and sandalwood. Sensuous, for a truly uplifting experience.
Core values were analyzed using state-of-the-art technology namely the IFF ScentEmotions Tool to accurately capture and evoke the following emotions with aroma in an effort to empower and inspire the wearer: DARING, BRAVERY, COURAGE, INSTANT CONFIDENCE, SELF-RELIANCE & INNER STRENGTH.
The “Farah” fragrance was created with the utmost attention to care and subscribing to the clean fragrance ethos. Our exclusive scent formulas are clean and exclude all potentially harmful ingredients. Paraben-free, synthetic fragrance free, vegan, cruelty-free, phthalate-free and petroleum free. This means minimizing skin irritants and no unnecessary additives- better for the planet and better for you.
And because, like you, we care about our planet, we coordinate with industry regulatory organizations such as IFRA and RIFM to ensure all of our ingredients are responsibly sourced. IFRA is also at the origin of a Code of Good Practice for Manufacturers and standards for the use of fragrance ingredients with three types of self-regulation. The RIFM Database is the most comprehensive, worldwide source of toxicology data, literature and general information on flavor and fragrance raw materials.
The best part is that “Farah” fragrance continues to partner with charitable causes to donate proceeds for a better world in areas such as anti-human trafficking, childhood diseases and more!
Learn more about the exciting new scent that smells and DOES good for the world at FarahZulaikha.com!
Is art, fashion important in your life? Why?
Art and fashion are EVERYTHING. It is the way I express myself with complete control and autonomy, without having to say a single word. Art is fashion and fashion is art. It is much more than just clothes it is whole lives, dreams, and livelihoods. Hence why I was so fortunate during this shoot to see the history, supply chain and behind-the-scenes craftsmanship at the Louis Vuitton special orders workshop and Louis Vuitton family home in Asnières-sur-Seine. Generations of families have been employed by this one brand learning sustainable artisan trades.
The Fondation Louis Vuitton is the perfect example of art and fashion going hand in hand. They are one in the same and as we know art is crucially important to any civilized society. It was truly such a privilege to witness the marriage of both with Louis Vuitton and the French Heritage Society.
Do you have any problems with your profession? How did you solve it?
As a model I learned early on about the more difficult sides of modeling, and I am not alone in this aspect. Many models have reported about abuse, predatory behavior, a lack of respect, bullying, and a lack of transparency that has happened long since before #MeToo!
I know I am unique in that not only have I achieved success as a top model but also have risen in the ranks via my activism and my position as the Distinguished International Humanitarian Leadership Award-Winner and United Nations Ambassador for the National Council Of Women of the United States (the first and oldest women’s rights organization in America). I have leveraged my audiences and influence in both areas to help combat issues I see around me especially for those who have less power or less of a platform!
Models and actresses have been dropped from agencies for speaking out against abuse, they have been penalized and they have been silenced as we saw with the Harvey Weinstein case. It is much harder to silence a United Nations Ambassador with access to media and information.
I am proud of my work and I only want to use my influence for good. I was instrumental during the last New York Fashion Week February 2020 before Covid-19 hit, in which a brand called Namilia along with a high profile publicist Kelly Cutrone and People’s Revolution was streaming models on PORNHUB.com, an unethical porn site which currently hosts sexual abuse videos of child federal sex trafficking victims, child abuse victims as young as 3 years old, victims of stolen revenge porn, rape and much more!
At first I thought perhaps the company and agencies were unaware of the unethical content hosted on the website. So I personally called them as a UN Ambassador. They were made aware and yet they continued with the show despite all the evidence. When the organizers would not be ethical or warn the models about the content on the website they were to be streamed on I reached out to the models personally. The models began to speak out- none of them knew about the human trafficking, rape, and revenge porn on the site they were to be streamed on and at least one told me they were not even made aware that it was a collaboration with PORNHUB. I also contacted a news reporter Laila Mickelwait. Together, www.TraffickingHub.com was started with a petition to end PORNHUB and its owners MindGeek who run these unethical porn sites with victims on them!
We support everyone’s right to choose, however rape, child abuse, stolen revenge porn, human trafficking victims and non-consensual porn are not ethical and have no place in even the porn industry! In fact after we spoke out about this fashion week show and the evil practices of PORNHUB and MindGeek, our change.org petition has gained over 2 million signatures! MindGeek (a Canadian company) and it’s executives have also been condemned in an open letter to Justin Trudeau by members of Canadian Parliament! Even the most famous porn actress of all time Jenna Jameson has come out and condemned PORNHUB and MindGeek.
And to think it all started with speaking out for my fellow models, who are just working a job. I would know because I am one myself. You don’t just care about yourself, you look behind you and help pick up your fellow human.
There’s also this apathy towards models by the general public and misunderstanding of them which has been studied and documented by many models advocates groups such as my dear friends at Model Alliance (www.ModelAlliance.org) who I also advocate for. People think models are just the ethereal, perfect, mannequins that they see in ads and on the runway. They think our lives are the glamorous sets that we shoot our editorials in. Yet this is just a job like any other. We deserve respect, dignity, rights, a safe working environment, transparency and best practices. Not just models, but all humans.
Who do people impact most in your profession? What do you learn from them?
I was scouted by one of the greatest models of all time the incredible Tyra Banks! She was always on the lookout for fresh and different talent especially models of different ethnicities as she always spoke out about the racism and lack of representation in modeling. I was a young pre-teen model working in New York at the time and she saw me at New York Fashion Week!
I usually was the only girl of middle eastern or south asian heritage with this long dark mane of hair and I would stand out with my different look. Tyra took a liking to me and took me under her wing, and saw something special in me. I am forever grateful to her!
She told me so many valuable lessons such as to not stay too long at after parties (it’s not professional and “bad things” happen such as abuse etc. but it’s often a part of the job for press and publicity reasons). She told me about the racism I would experience in fashion and how as a model if you are not blonde and white with blue eyes you would have to be ten times better than the other models to work. You would have to be the thinnest with the best body, have the most beautiful face, best skin, perfect teeth, everything symmetrical, perfect proportions, the best walk, the most stunning in photographs, the most impressive in person at castings from when you walked in the door, the most professional, the most likable and you could not afford to be anything else. You most likely would also be the only one of your ethnicity on your agency board so you would have to represent and carry your look with a sea of Eastern Europeans who all had a gorgeous yet similar look.
It was not the fault of any of the models who all deserved to be there- it was the system, the agencies the media and the clients who made it so. Tyra told me all of this and to prepare for it- however as her little protégée she also encouraged me and assured me that I was born to do it and had what it took to succeed, and that’s why I was handpicked to be launched in such a big way by her personally on The Tyra Show!
That was my launch on international television with none other that superstar RIHANNA in a special episode introducing me. I was seen in so many countries and I got to sing and hang out with not only one of the most famous models in the world but also one of the most famous singers in the world! Tyra knew it would not be easy for me and as a model of Middle Eastern/South Asian descent I am the least represented in fashion and modeling even behind all other ethnicities. So she made sure I had the best start she could possibly give me!
I knew I could never fail with the people whom I was blessed to have been helped by along the way and it sure doesn’t help to be discovered by one of the world’s most famous supermodels!
In modern society, lots of people want to be famous, influential. What do you think about it?
I think it’s fine to want to be famous or be a star and be seen by others, but it’s even better to use that star power for good! As I always say I would rather be a humanitarian than a muse but my mission is to be both. :)