Before she was gracing the runways of Paris Fashion Week, Rawiyaa El Madkouri had no prior plans to work in the fashion industry. It wasn’t until she was scouted at a mall in Morocco, when she was 14-years-old, that she realized her life was about to take a dramatic turn. Though she admits that she used to sketch clothing for fun, she never imagined that she would one day be wearing the ready-to-wear pieces made by some of the most renowned designers of our time. Recalling her first-ever modeling job, an editorial for a French magazine, the 20-year-old admits to Vogue.me that she was “terrified and nervous because there were models that looked very professional, while she had never posed in front of a camera before.” However, she left onlookers—including the industry’s powerful stylists, photographers, and casting directors—wanting more.
The Moroccan-Italian model would go on to walk for the likes of Chanel, Koché, and Jacquemus, in addition to landing major editorials and campaigns with the likes of Chloé. Next, she wants to conquer the Versace catwalk, because “their shows really broadcast powerful energy each time,” she explains.
El Madkouri, who is signed to Elite, is currently in her second year of university. When asked how she manages to balance her education with a modeling career, she responds “I’m not gonna lie sometimes it’s exhausting.” She reveals that the most important thing for her is to find a moment for herself, even if its just for a few minutes. “I like to sit in a café, read, go to the park, or draw. It’s important to relax. We really underestimate the importance of mental well-being,” she states.
In addition to her warm and charismatic personality, El Madkouri is genetically-blessed with the looks that make for a stand-out model. Her year-round tanned complexion, bold eyebrows, and brown curls can no doubt all be attributed to her Moroccan roots, which she admits she’s extremely proud of. “I love my country and its culture, history, and people,” she shares. “I’m glad that growing up, my father taught me and my siblings about our culture,” notes Madkouri, adding that she visits Morocco at least once a year.
Her North African roots also help inform her every day beauty routine. “Morocco is known for its traditional beauty rituals. I love using Argan oil for my skin. I use black soap, too. It’s so good for the skin, making it super soft. Sometimes, I’ll make herbal face masks from natural ingredients plucked from my grandmother’s garden,” she adds.
When it comes to her luscious, larger-than-life curls, El Madkouri breaks down her hair routine for us. “I discovered this magical, cold-pressed Moringa oil from Ritual Oils, and I use it to nourish my curls. The smell is also amazing,” she muses. “But for me, I found the best thing for my hair was to reduce heat treatments, and just let my hair be,” El Madkouri explains, adding that she makes sure to never brush her lengths while they’re wet and to massage conditioner bottom to upwards, to give her curls shape.
In addition to her enviable features and standout runway presence, the 20-year-old is a humanitarian at heart. In fact, she hopes that one day she will be able to use her modeling platform to help the underprivileged, through various charitable organizations. To echo the words of the breakthrough model, “Only time will tell that.”