Writer: Maya Khoury
With feline features, a stunning body and hypnotic eyes Elisa Sednaoui was made for modelling, something she began at the tender age of 16. Eight years on, she’s showing herself to be more than just a pretty face.
Elisa Sednaoui is everywhere. If you don’t find on the cover of Vogue, Elle, or Dazed and Confused, then you’ll likely see her in Christopher Thompson’s 2010 film ‘Bus Palladium’ or Sharunas Bartas’ ‘Indigène d’Eurasie’. Like many models, she’s an aspiring actress. The difference is, Sednaoui’s successful. The past two years have been busy and film-wise, she is set to appear with Vincent Gallo next year in ‘The Legend of Kaspar Hauser’ and in the bittersweet adaptation of Frédéric Beigbeder’s ‘L’amour Dure Trois Ans’ later in 2012.
Sednaoui owes her stunning looks to her Italian mother and Syrian-Egyptian father. Brought up in Italy, France and the U.S., she’s very well connected. Christian Louboutin is her godfather, Karl Lagerfeld has taken her as his latest muse and she’s the niece of Stephane Sednaoui, known as much for his fashion photography for Vogue and Vanity Fair, as for his album covers for musicians such as Björk and Madonna and music videos for groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and U2.
Sednaoui moved to New York at the age of 16. Not long after she caught the attention of the Victoria's Secret talent scouts who quickly added her to the label's dream team. From there she went on to star in campaigns for H&M, Brioni, Diesel, D&G, Chanel, Armani and Diane Von Furstenberg.
In an interview with Cameron Krone, another photographer who is dazzled by Sednaoui’s beauty, she says, “my favourite places are diametrically opposed: Luxor and New York City. I don’t know if it has to do with the incredible energy coming out of the ground. New York makes me feel like I’ve always belonged here. Luxor is where my father designed and built our family house. The light there is so particular, how it bounces on the mud brick domes, the green fields and the ancient temple. It’s such a strong emotion each time. I ask myself if I really need more than that, a career or an agenda, to feel happy and fulfilled in life.”
Sentiment aside, the ‘particular light’ Sednaoui is most captivated by at the moment comes from a photographic flash. “I want to take it to the highest level I can get to, to be part of interesting projects that can fulfil my need for creativity,” she gushed to Krone, “I would love be a director, take pictures, study politics and the history of art, without imprisoning myself in a stereotyped cage.”