Achtung: We traveled to a mystical place for our current issue: the forest. We mirror the fairy tale world against the fashion world. You joined us in the Black Forest for this mission. The modeling business is often described as a dazzling, a dream-like world – like a fairy tale. How did you get into modeling?
Qaher Harhash: Many models are usually scouted. And many of them have no interest in modeling at first and then fall in love while they are working in it. It was different for me. As a child, when I was eight years old my siblings used to turn on Fashion TV and watch catwalk shows. At some point Tyson Beckford came on, who is an African-American model, one of the best, I would say. He walked the runway at New York Fashion Week. And I thought, oh my God, what is he doing? And my sisters said: he’s just modeling. He just walked down the catwalk and people clapped. That doesn’t happen so much now, but back then people were clapping. All that was very interesting for me. I was a curious kid, from that day on I wanted to become a model.
A: So you were not discovered? How did you start modeling?
QH: When I was about 16, I was back home in East Jerusalem and started applying to modeling agencies in Tel Aviv. I was such a small, naïve boy who thought: Maybe I can bring people together. By showing that I am a Palestinian person who is willing to work with creative people who are Israelis, who want to tell their story and who actually want to empower Palestinians. That was my idea when I started the project. And all the agencies responded to me: We are not ready for a Palestinian male model. Some of them didn’t even respond and the ones that did respond were like: You’re cute, but you’re Palestinian and that’s a problem. No, I laugh about it, but at that time I was wondering if there was something wrong with me and I gave up, I was sure there was no future for me in this field.
A: But now you work here in Germany as a model. How did that come about?
QH: My sister said: Hey, why don’t you go to Germany and study German and go to university. She works as a civil engineer and she’s a really hard worker, she supported me with money. In 2018, I came to Berlin. I was sitting at home and I thought: Ok now I’m in Berlin, it’s a fashion capital, why can’t I try it here. So, I messaged Iconic Management on Instagram. After a couple of hours, they sent me a message and asked me if I would like to come by. And I said, yes, I’d love to. And in the end, they liked me and wanted to sign me.