Altvenger meets Mahafsoun

 

Today I have the pleasure to interview a stunning beauty who is one of the most famous alternative models of today. I think there is no need for an introduction for the gorgeous Mahafsoun!

1. Hello Mahafsoun and thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with us! You have achieved a lot during your modelling career and represent some of the most famous alternative clothing and jewelry brands. Can you tell us a bit about your beginnings as a model? Was it hard to achieve a “breakthrough” in this industry?

11m 10m

Photo 1: Self-portrait.
Wig: Black Candy Fashion

Photo 2: Self-portrait.
Fangs: Father Sebastiaan

Hello! Thank you so much for this interview.

And thank you for that lovely introduction. I started modelling through simple self-portraits taken on my small camera back when I was a teenager. My first real photoshoot was in August of 2011. It was very simple. No real styling, no interesting makeup. It was quite a natural shoot. At that point I didn’t overthink what I was doing, and had no plans of doing this more regularly than my bellydance videos (which till this day is still the main thing to me). From there on I met other local photographers and planned shoots with them. During the same time, I was also editing their photos, which made me fall in love with postproduction. Back then I was using only clothing and accessories that I had purchased and owned for years, so they were quite simple as well.

After a while, I started contacting a few designers and presented my portfolio to them, to see if they’re interested in collaborating with me. I thought, back then, that it would be an amazing thing for both me and the brands. As we would have amazing costumes and clothing to shoot with, and they would have great photos to share. I went up to quite a lot of brands and designers at first, and naturally there were more declines than anything. Slowly, as time went by, and many brands and designers believed in my work, I now had brands coming up to me to propose collaborations. I strongly believe that if you want something, you just have to keep trying no matter how many times you hear “No.”.

Today I’m so honoured to say that I’m collaborating with my favourite brands. Many of which I used to buy from, years before I even started Mahafsoun. It’s quite surreal to be honest, and I cherish every collaboration.

1m 6m

Photo 3: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: David Circle
Dress: Shrine of Hollywood
Crown: Magical Forest Dreams
Jewellery: Alchemy Gothic

Photo 4:
Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Red Raccoons
Bodice: Shrine of Hollywood
Elf Outfit: The Sea Knight’s Craft

2. When it comes to modelling certain conceptual photoshoots, such asfairytales or mystic shoots, where do you find your inspiration?

I love this question, because it allows me to talk about my inspirations. Ever since I was little, I have been inspired by paintings by Victoria Francés. Her girls have always inspired me, and made me think “I want to look like that when I grow up”. I grew up with her posters on my walls, and in 2014, I had the honour of being painted by her as Hecate for the album cover of the band Faun. A dream come true, and something that caused me to be even more inspired by the world she created through her paintings.

I’m also inspired by the world created by Anne Rice in “The Vampire Chronicles”. The Victorian, vampiric beauty.

9m

Photo 5: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Roya D
Dress: Killstar

3. You have been modelling a lot for Killstar recently, how was that collaboration for you?

Killstar is one of my favourite brands to collaborate with, as their clothing is more wearable compared to a lot of other gorgeous brands I work with. I’m so comfortable with creating a fairytale look, that when I started collaborating with Killstar, I had to learn to embrace a different style, more focussed on dark fashion than on telling a story. Their brand is absolutely innovative and perfectly dark. It also helps and inspires that the brand is run by some lovely people behind it.

4. Are there any designers or photographers you would like to work with in the future?

Absolutely! I would love to work with Benjamin Von Wong and Kirsty Mitchell one day. I find myself daydreaming when I look at their photographs. As far as designers go, it is too hard to make a list, as there are countless designers I dream to work with one day.

3m 5m

Photo 6: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Peter Vetter
Dress: The Gothic Shop UK

Photo 7: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Roya D
Clothing: Ashes Dark Fashion

5. When you started modelling, did you have an influence or idol you looked up to?

To be honest, I did not. Only because I wasn’t taking what I do that seriously at first, to have an idol to look up to as far as modelling goes. I was inspired by colours, music, emotions. Not necessarily a person. I still am, although now I follow a few amazing models who also do fantasy photoshoots, and I enjoy observing how they see the world, through their images and art.

13m

Photo 8: Self-portrait.
Bodice: Shrine of Hollywood
Necklace: Nomad West
Crown: Dark Embrace

6. I have noticed you do quite a bit of photography yourself. In what way would you say is that different from being photographed by other photographers?

I started modelling by doing these very simple self-portraits at home, years before I even started Mahafsoun. That is also when I was experimenting with editing programs like Photoshop. Although I wasn’t doing anything that special. A while after I started Mahafsoun, I bought a DSLR camera for the purpose of video making. After months and months of not touching it, I decided that it was time to put it to good use, and that is when I started doing self-portraits again, but this time with a very good camera. I then started investing on putting together a home studio that would allow me to bring to life these characters I always had in my mind. Fairies, vampires, sorceresses, etc. So far I have done a bit over 60 different shoots by myself. Most at home, but some outdoors, in the beautiful Vancouver forests.

12mPhoto 9: Self-portrait.
Harness: Malice Clothing

The difference between doing self-portraits and actual photoshoots with a team is that I am in full control over the creative process of the image. From the makeup, to the hair, to the styling, editing, photographing style, etc. Everything is 100% me, which makes it a bit complicated at times, especially when there is stage blood involved. Haha
I just love doing self-portraits and photographing myself, because it allows me to be creative in an absolutely fearless way. In a photoshoot, I’m always thinking about poses, the camera, the lighting, the clothing and how it should all be perfect so that the end result is good enough (which I love doing!), but when I shoot alone, I’m just being myself, and nothing more. And it feels great, in a different way, when you finish creating an image that you’re proud of, and know that you did everything by yourself.

8m2m

Photo 10: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Roya D
Clothing: Shrine of Hollywood

Photo 11: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Dress: Spin Doctor Clothing
Jewellery: Alchemy Gothic

7. You are very creative and do your own hair, makeup and styling! Does it take you long to prepare for a photoshoot?

Thank you so much! I love doing my own styling and makeup when I get a chance to (which is most of the time, haha). It actually doesn’t take me that long to prepare for a shoot. Starting with a fresh face/hair, it takes me about 3 hours maximum to finish everything, on a very elaborately themed shoot. Although usually I’m done within 2 hours, especially when I am doing this at my own home, since I have all the tools I need.

8. Other than modelling, you do a lot of bellydancing. I love watching your videos. You mix metal with oriental dance and create something special and unique. How long have you been doing belly dance and how did you get the idea to mix it with metal? The idea is simply brilliant!

4m

Photo 12:
Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Lillian Liu
Harness: Teale Coco

Thank you so much for that. Bellydance is actually where Mahafsoun started. I was bellydancing before I even thought about modelling, and even today, I see myself more as a bellydancer than a model, if I had to choose one title over the other. But since the thought of “choosing a title” has always been a complicated subject to me, I’ll settle with simply “artist”. Haha

I started bellydancing in 2007, though I came up with Mahafsoun and all the online stuff in 2010. I fell madly in love with metal music in 2007, during around the same time I started dancing. So, naturally, I was finding myself moving to metal rhythms and music. I was not the first person to think of this combination, though. Today there are plenty of beautiful dancers who dance to metal and alternative music. My first bellydance video posted online was to an oriental/metal fusion song. Back then I had no audience, and honestly didn’t think about it much. I just wanted to put the stuff out there. Slowly, people started to watch, comment, share and even recommend music that I should dance to. I actually had an audience for the first time, and so I was inspired by them to focus on making better videos, with better editing, better cameras, and of course, better moves. YouTube, and having a channel there with an audience, motivated me to get better. To this day, even though I started learning bellydance through oriental music, I love dancing to metal, rock and overall alternative music. Combining two things I love above all – heavy music, and bellydance.

9. You have performed with Moonspell. How was that experience for you?

An absolute dream come true. I performed with these gentlemen three times, during three different tours, in Vancouver. And every single time, it was memorable, magical, and an absolute dream. They are some of the most amazing, inspiring, talented, humble and honest men I have had the pleasure of collaborating with. I have learned so much from them, and have internally grown so much because of them. I consider them my brothers, and their kindness and inspiration has created a place in my heart for them.

7m

Photo 13: Model/Makeup/Styling/Editor: Mahafsoun
Photographer: Lillian Liu
Clothing: Shrine of Hollywood
Crown: Magical Forest Dreams
Jewellery: Alchemy Gothic

10. You also have an active Youtube channel, what kind of videos do you make?

My main YouTube channel “Mahafsoun” is where I post my bellydance videos, art videos, official/important video blogs, music-related videos (as I love playing the piano and creating simple music) and generally videos that I work hours on the editing and preperation.

I also have a secondary channel called “MahafsounLair” where I post more personal video blogs, review videos, videos of my cat, and such everyday contents. Basically, videos that I don’t have to edit eight to ten hours to prepare, like some of the videos from my main channel.

11. Other than focusing on your modelling and dancing, what else do you love to do in your free time?

I enjoy creating bellydance costumes for my future videos. I also love to sing, play my piano and create simple music. It is definitely more of a side hobby than anything, but something I enjoy doing, and hope to learn as I go. When I’m not actively doing art-related things, I’m reading. I find inspiration in escaping within certain books, and sometimes movies.

12. In the end, can you tell us where we can follow your work online? Thank you so much 🙂

Of course! I am mainly active on my Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/MahafsounArt and also very active on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/Mahafsoun.

Thank you again for this wonderful interview!

Much love,
Mahafsoun

 

 

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