"If we didn’t have to wear hijabs and could work internationally, we’d earn much more money"
Four years ago, a lady approached me at the gym to ask me if I would model wedding gowns. After doing that, I modelled for various clothing companies and a mattress-making company [see photo]. I then found my way into the television industry and appeared in a few adverts.Unfortunately the job doesn’t pay much because so many women, and men, model for very little or for free. This means few people are willing to pay for professional models.Photo of Fafa modelling for a magazine produced by a Turkish mattress company. The photo, taken in Iran, is illegal as she is not wearing a hijab,Also, photographers can charge for each shot they take, whereas models are paid by the day. But if we didn’t have to wear hijabs and so could work internationally, we’d earn much more money.Aspiring models hope to grab the attention of photographers by getting lots of likes or fans on Facebook. The photographers may then offer them modelling work, but it will usually be unpaid and sometimes the photographer won’t earn any money either.
“Ninety-nine percent of women who claim to be models are lying”
Because it is illegal for women to model without wearing a hijab, women who want to model without one will pay a photographer around 500,000 rials [approx. €15] for each shot, and then ask the photographer to insert a brand name onto the print. The shoots are done in illegal, underground studios. In Iran, fashion magazines and advertisers must comply with the law, which states women cannot show even a single strand of hair. Before my most recent shoot, I shaved my entire head so my hair was not on show.
Ninety-nine percent of women who claim to be models are lying. Modelling does not pay well in Iran. I don’t tend to pay my models, my only expenses are transport accommodation. Many women will do it for free because they want to get famous. Almost all my budget goes to the photographers.Atefah Rahim Zadeh modelling her brand, 'Morgan'.